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Regional daily sports title to go online only

A regional daily football title is to go online only from January after 106 years in print.

The Sunderland Echo’s sports paper the Football Echo, first published in 1907, will be printed for the final time on 29 December.

The paper, known as the “Pink” will then move online only and, say bosses, will continue to include many of the regular features of the print edition.

Sunderland Echo editor John Szymanski said that changes in kick-off times as well as the march of technology had contributed to the decision.

Said John:  “The Football Echo has been part of the fabric of sporting life in Sunderland for over a century.

“It has followed the fortunes of Sunderland AFC through many highs and lows – from being League champions twice and FA Cup winners twice, to the club’s first relegation in 1958. That ended a 68-year stay in the top division – and the Football Echo went white with shock!

“It is still a great paper that we are very proud of. However, technology has moved on, match times have as well with around half of Sunderland’s games not being at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon  – and so we have to move on too.

“We hope that moving online, giving it more immediacy after games, ability to update it at a moment’s notice, and making it free, will open the Football Echo up to a much wider audience.

“We are drawing up plans to make the final print version of the Football Echo a great keepsake for fans – aiming to go out with a bang, not a whimper, to mark its place in the city’s sporting history.

“We want fans to send us their favourite memories of the Football Echo, tell us how it played a part in their lives and help us to celebrate a great publication.”

The Echo is the latest of several sports titles to cease print publication over recent years although others have reappeared after breaks in publication.

Sheffield Star’s The Green ‘Un also went online only this year after 106 years, but fellow Johnston Press title The News, Portsmouth, brought back its Sports Mail supplement nine months after scrapping it after an “outpouring of emotion” from readers.

The Aberdeen Evening Express also recently brought back its Green Final as a weekly insert inside each Monday’s edition of the paper, ten years after it was last published as a standalone publication.

Middlesborough’s Evening Gazette introduced a new pull-out entitled Boro Live at the start of the new football season in August while The Citizen, Gloucester and the Gloucester Echo launched a 16-page Pink ‘Un in October.

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