The evening paper in Ipswich proved that it’s in a league of its own as the town’s football club celebrated promotion to the Premiership.
The Evening Star had its own team at Wembley for Monday’s First Division play-off final and another back in Ipswich.
The day’s paper was already out – in its usual tabloid form – but as soon as Ipswich clinched victory over Barnsley, production of an extra edition got underway, using a broadsheet front and back page to give maximum impact to pictures supplied by agencies and the paper’s own photographers.
Soon after 7pm, 20,000 copies of the late edition arrived at 37 shops, many of which had stayed open late, despite the Bank Holiday, to cash in on the town’s celebrations.
The paper’s own sense of triumph was heightened when local editions of two national tabloids went broadsheet to bring similar images to their readers yesterday – 12 hours or so behind the Evening Star.
Editor Nigel Pickover was “thrilled to bits” with the paper’s operation.
One of the 21 600-seater trains that took fans from Ipswich to London had been chartered by the paper in a non-profit-making venture. The train was fitted with an Evening Star Wembley Express headboard and each carriage was named after an Ipswich Town player. Ironically, its journey began from Norwich – home to Ipswich’s great footballing rivals – so Mr Pickover and a small group of colleagues spent the previous evening at Norwich Station, decorating the train with blue and white bunting.
As the trains returned to Ipswich on Monday evening, Mr Pickover was treated to the spectacle of a station brought to a standstill by people queuing to buy his paper from WH Smith’s.
“I have to say, as an editor that’s a very exciting sign and it shows that with the right attitude and the right hunger, papers can succeed and have a very prosperous time,” he said.
“In this Internet era, what do people turn to when they have a moment of triumph? What do they look for? They look for their local paper, and that’s not been shaken one bit by the Internet revolution.”
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