A regional newspaper’s Saturday sports edition and a famous football club are supporting each other in the fight to stay “on the field.”
Football fans who saved Porstmouth from extinction with a £2.5m bail-out have been publicly thanked by the editor of city daily The News for keeping faith with the re-birth of Sports Mail edition after it returned to the news stands last August.
And the Fratton Park faithful are cock-a-hoop at £15,000 already raised by the paper’s decision to donate 10p from every copy of Sports Mail sold to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.
Just over the summer alone the donations from sales have brought in £2,300 which will go straight into a FanFunding campaign to raise £250,000 for a permanent Pompey training academy in the heart of the city.
“Following the success of the club being run by a community-minded fans’ trust, we wanted to play our part in the community too,” said Mark Waldron, editor of The News.
“So we came up with the idea of donating 10p for each copy sold of Sports Mail.”
And just before Pompey kicked off their League Two campaign on Saturday, Mark tweeted: “Massive thanks to all Sports Mail readers who have put £15k back in to @officialpompey simply by buying it every week. Please keep reading!”
The decision to close the Sports Mail in in October 2012 after 109 years of publishing seemed to mirror the plight of Portsmouth FC which went from winning the FA Cup in 2008 to suffering three relegations – to end up in the bottom tier of league football.
Pompey has a huge heritage which includes being one of only five clubs to win back-to-back campaigns as champions of England.
The Sports Mail’s closure in 2012 was followed by an “outpouring of emotion” from readers and the edition was brought back to life on August 3 last year.
The editor said at the time: “With the club now owned by the fans and a renewed enthusiasm and optimism around Fratton Park we thought the start of the season would be a great time to bring it back.”
But a website statement warned: “We are asking all fans of the paper to go out and purchase copies on a weekly basis to ensure it can remain an important part of our area’s sporting scene.
“Without your support the future of the Sports Mail will be put back at risk.”
The £15,000 fundraising exploits of the rejuvenated Sports Mail means that 150,000 copies have been sold in the last 12 months.
Like Pompey, installed as pre-season League Two promotion favourites, The News is hoping its re-born sports edition will continue to get ‘fantastic support’.