Southampton, FA Cup, Bristol City, Hartlepool
Southampton ban vox-pops
Southampton have banned reporters from taking vox-pops with fans outside their St Mary's stadium. The club have had disputes with the press for a few years, refusing entry to external photographers in 2010 and completely banning local paper the Southern Daily Echo from covering club events involving players and staff in 2009. This time they have cited "health and safety guidelines" for the ban, suggesting the club would be liable if a photographer with a camera injured someone on its land. It has been extended to all media outlets, including the BBC.
However it's hard to see what Southampton are achieving, other than garnering bad publicity, given reporters can perform vox-pops on public land right next to St Mary's. Echo editor-in-chief Ian Murray said: "We spoke to lots of fans outside the club's zone of influence. It's all very silly really as you can't prevent fans from having a say and trying to do so just makes you look intolerant of other viewpoints. It looks as though other media, including the BBC, are simply getting a taste of what we have had to put up with for some time."
TV snubs non-League in Cup
Luton Town became the first non-League club to knock out top-division opposition in the FA Cup since 1989 by beating Norwich City 1-0. Meanwhile, Macclesfield ran Wigan Athletic close at Moss Rose, losing 1-0. There was no live coverage of either, of course, as the cameras were too busy filming Premier League Manchester United's routine 4-1 victory over Premier League Fulham. To be fair, it's quite rare those two teams meet – their next encounter in the league isn't until February 2.
Jon Stead celebrates a goal
Bottom club Bristol City scored a last-minute winner to beat Ipswich Town 2-1 at home. The goal was scored by Jon Stead and, as a former Ipswich striker, he was forced to explain why he has celebrated scoring a vital goal against fellow relegation strugglers: "It's more about the job at hand with my current club and the points today will go a long way to retaining our Championship status." Fair enough, then. Incidentally, all ten of Bristol City's points in the last ten games have come against other teams in the bottom five. They are still seven points behind Ipswich and safety, though.
Hartlepool win away again
Hartlepool United won for the second time in a month, beating Portsmouth 3-1 at Fratton Park. Until Christmas Hartlepool had picked up a mere nine points all season but a surprise win over Sheffield United at the end of December and this victory over second-bottom Portsmouth, have rekindled hopes of League One survival. They are still ten points behind Colchester in 20th. Hartlepool manager John Hughes said: "Everyone played a part – we had 13 heroes out there."
Spillane sings for Southend
Mickey Spillane – the defender, not the crime novelist – chose to join Southend United rather than Chesterfield and then made his debut against the Spireites on Saturday. His new team won 1-0 to maintain their place in the League Two play-offs and Spillane enjoyed being on the pitch with the other Southend players, rather than singing in front of them as he did the night before. "All new signings have to do it and I went completely red," he said. "I sang Stand By Me but once it's done you feel much better and I think everyone takes to you a bit more. The football went better than the singing but it's been a good start for me here with this result and we need to keep it going."
Grimsby maintain their run
Grimsby Town stretched their unbeaten run to ten games and moved two points clear of Wrexham at the top of the Conference with a 0-0 draw at Cambridge United. Their last defeat was against Hyde in November but they may be a little disappointed that they have not been able to pull clear of Wrexham, with three draws from their previous four games. Grimsby's joint boss, Paul Hurst, said: "Ultimately, I think that's a good point – any point away from home is never a bad one. We went to win the game as we always do, but you don't always get that." Tom Hocking