AddThis SmartLayers

Mail's Sports Argus is sent off

The Birmingham Mail is giving its Saturday sports edition the red card after more than 100 years.

The Sports Argus is currently published every Saturday night as a standalone edition on pink paper, but falling sales have prompted a decision to close it at the end of the football season.

Changing reader habits and a reduction in the number of football matches on a Saturday afternoon have been blamed, and the Mail says its sporting coverage will instead be included as part of the main paper.

The Sports Argus’s last ABC sales figure was 8,216 (July to Dec 2005).

Two full-time staff that currently work for the Argus are in consultation with the company.

Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson said: “The Argus has been a big part of the West Midlands sporting scene for many years, and I would like to thank staff past and present for their great efforts.

“But football has changed, readers’ habits have changed and we’re changing with them.

“We will now continue to provide the most comprehensive coverage from professional through to grassroots sport in the Birmingham Mail.

“We will also work closely with our sister paper the Sunday Mercury to ensure we continue to provide the best coverage of the West Midlands sport scene seven days a week.”

The change follows similar moves by other newspapers such as the Manchester Evening News, which closed its Sunday Pink and the Leicester Mercury, which closed its Sports Mercury, at the end of the last football season.

A final souvenir edition of the Sports Argus will be published on May 13.

  • The move has been condemned by NUJ chapel members at the Birmingham Mail, who say that if the move results in any compulsory redundancies they will ballot for industrial action.

    NUJ president Chris Morley, who is also deputy father of chapel of the Birmingham Post & Mail, said: “This paper has had no promotion or marketing to support it and yet it has a solid circulation of thousands of loyal readers.

    “If this decision goes ahead there is a very real danger that the field will be left wide open to the competitors. This in turn will undermine the Mail’s other core titles. The implications of this are widespread and extremely worrying.”