A newspaper reporting on two rival football clubs found a novel way of ensuring both receive equal coverage ahead of their derby match.
Sheffield daily The Star produced a reversible 16-page supplement yesterday previewing tonight’s match between Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday.
The Star’s supplement offered eight pages of coverage on both United and Wednesday, with the publication flipped upside down half way through to ensure both sets of supporters had a ‘front page’ dedicated to their team.
The two covers ran with the name ‘Steel Wars’, spoofing the Star Wars film series and referencing the match’s commonly used name of the Steel City derby.
Star deputy head of sport Liam Hoden told HTFP: “I had a thought after we’d put together the supplement for the derby game earlier in the season that we maybe should have kept the two clubs separate rather than having them on alternate pages.
“And this idea came to me to make it two eight-page supplements in one but also ensure that neither club is particularly hard done by – which is a treacherous balancing act we face every day due to the bitterness of the rivalry within Sheffield.
“I’ve seen the upside down thing somewhere else before and I thought it made sense. It makes both sets of supporters feel like they have their own dedicated supplement.
“I didn’t really have a clue whether we could actually make it happen but we looked into it and kept getting the answer that it should be possible. I was still nervous once the pages had been sent and didn’t really relax until I saw the printed version had come out correctly the next morning.”
The Star also celebrated the build-up to the derby by changing the star icon on its masthead to contain the crests of both clubs.
Wednesday appointed new manager Jos Luhukay last week, following the departure of Carlos Carvalhal on Christmas Eve.
Of the supplement, Liam added: “It’s a quirky way of doing it but the strength of this supplement comes from the quality of the work the writers have produced in a short space of time, with the Christmas period plus a change of manager for Sheffield Wednesday not allowing us a long run at it.
“There’s some excellent writing packed into the pages and it’d be worth paying for as a separate publication, never mind as part of the daily paper. Hopefully readers will agree.”