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Regional daily axes Saturday sports edition after 119 years

A regional daily has closed its Saturday sports edition, leaving just one such publication remaining in the UK.

The last edition of the Southern Daily Echo’s Sports Pink came out on Saturday after 119 years in print.

The closure of the Southampton-based Pink means the Sports Mail, published by The News in nearby Portsmouth, is the last Saturday sports paper in the country.

The Mail had itself ceased publication in October 2012, but was revived 10 months later in response to reader demand.

Sports Pink

News of the Sports Pink’s closure was announced in a post on its official Twitter account on Saturday.

It said: “Unfortunately we need more than three full-time staff to keep it going on top of the sports pages of the Echo, Romsey Advertiser, Hampshire Chronicle, Eastleigh Times and Southampton Citizen (plus Winchester Xtra and New Forest Post).

“Unfortunately only around 2,000 now buy the Pink and you may have noticed the absence of any adverts in the last few months.”

The Pink was founded in 1898 as the Football Echo. Among those to pay tribute to the paper was former Daily Echo journalist Jeremy Wilson, who now works for the Daily Telegraph.

He wrote: “The last of The Pink Sports Echo today after 119 yrs. An institution in Southampton – the thought of filing/phoning my first live ‘running’ reports still prompts butterflies.

“Happy days with brilliant ex-colleagues Adam Leitch, Bob Brunskill, non-league legend Wendy Gee and many more.”

Adam himself, the Daily Echo’s chief sports writer, wrote: “It is the end of an era having been a huge part of our football community for so long.

“I am beyond proud to have written for it for 20 years. Farewell old friend.”

2 comments

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  • December 14, 2017 at 4:07 pm
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    Surprised there are no comments on this – people must be amazed that this species isn’t already extinct!

    I champion local newspapers as much as the next person, but I’m afraid that this is a business model which has had its day. It’s not just the lack of Saturday 3pm kick-offs at the top, it’s online minute-by-minute commentary on any number of websites and the small matter that blow-by-blow printed match reports aren’t what many people want any more. And as for the non-league content; club weekly notes written before the Saturday game which are already out of date come the final whistle, and match reports which all too often end at half-time, with just the full-time score tagged on the bottom, it’s all old hat.

    Traditionalists wanting their ‘Un back again are about as likely to have their wish fulfilled as those people who want Top of the Pops to be revived. Not going to happen – there just isn’t the popular interest.

    That said, though, Saturday football papers were a huge but satisfying challenge to complete and also could be great fun to work on. If I had to chose any old cuttings from a fire, it would be some nothing-special Division Two reports from a Green ‘Un as a reminder of what brought me into the industry in the first place – the sheer adrenaline of the up-against-the-clock challenge of having to fill a large space by 4.50pm or so.

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  • December 14, 2017 at 5:49 pm
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    A slightly schizophrenic post One-time Sub, if you don’t mind me saying so – two-thirds slagging the products off, the other third lamenting their loss?
    It sounds like a love affair of a long time ago for you – you know its time is past, yet can’t help remembering the exhilaration of those heady, early days… :-)

    I agree with you that the football papers which once colourfully decorated towns and cities across this country on matchday have long since had their time.
    But I don’t think that all ‘progress’ is necessarily a good thing.
    I’ll never get over the pride I felt in being part of a dedicated team working on the edge to get our pink paper out week after week to the tightest of deadlines, and then seeing that paper on the streets and being read intently by fans in the pubs and clubs, in the city and the suburbs and the villages. That feeling of being part of a 100-year-old tradition which took in your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents.

    I don’t mind you gleefully volleying them into the dustbin of history – we know they have been heading that way throughout our lifetimes.
    But for myself, my only feeling is a tinge of regret at the penultimate Pink’s passing. I shall raise a glass in its honour tonight and toast all those who worked on it so well for so many years.

    “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile that it happened.” Dr Seuss.

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