Cartoon used after Southampton FC's photographer ban

Image caption, The cartoons could become a weekly fixture in the Herald

Plymouth Argyle's winning goal against Southampton was captured by a cartoonist after the home side banned photographers from its grounds.

Artist Chris Robinson was hired by the Plymouth Herald newspaper to capture the League One side's 1-0 win at St Mary's stadium on Saturday.

The Southampton club restricted access to an official photographer meaning others were banned from attending.

No-one from the club was available for comment.

Mr Robinson, a historian and lifelong Plymouth fan, was asked to provide sketches of the first game of the season by Herald editor Bill Martin, after the newspaper refused to buy official photographs.

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The two featured were inspired by football comic strip character Roy of the Rovers.

They show Luke Summerfield's winning goal against the Saints and Argyle's new goalkeeper David Button making a second half save for the Pilgrims.

"The Herald was left with a prospect of just taking pictures from an agency," Mr Robinson said.

"I was watching the game on TV and took a sketch book with me. I have never done anything like this before, I have never known it happen before.

"I would have no aversion to doing it again. It was a great result."

Image caption, Editor Bill Martin said it was the fans who would be left out by the decision

The club decided to restrict access for photographers at its games in the new season, meaning outlets would have to buy "official" pictures.

But Plymouth Argyle decided to release its own pictures, taken by its own official photographer, featuring its players in a bid not to let fans down.

Communications manager Rick Cowdery said other clubs had tried and failed to ban photographers.

"My feeling is that our fans deserve the chance to see our players in action and we were happy to make them available to the newspapers," he said.

"We were scrupulous in the pictures we took. Our motivation was to make sure we did the best for our club and our fans and supporters. Football is a fans' game."

Herald editor Bill Martin said restricting access for photographers was a "serious restriction" for press freedom.

"If professional sports clubs want to... restrict the press's access to reporting their matches, little by little the press are going to report their matches less and less," he said.

"The first people to suffer will be the fans... and the next people to suffer after that will be the sponsors.

"A decision like this also damages the image of football as a whole."

Mr Martin urged other newspapers who were likely to come across the same problem to "follow suit".

The newspaper is now looking at using the artist's work every week.

The BBC contacted Southampton FC several times but calls were not returned.

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