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UK’s last Saturday sports paper to close after 119 years

The country’s last-remaining Saturday sports newspaper is to close after 119 years in print, its daily sister title has announced.

Portsmouth daily The News has announced there will be “no reprieve” for its Sports Mail edition after it goes to press for the last time on 23 July.

Sports Mail was previously closed down in October 2012 after 109 years, but returned nearly 10 months later after an “outpouring of emotion” from readers.

Subsequent warnings that it could shut for good without further reader support were subsequently issued in both 2016 and 2020.

Sports Mail 2022

Currently priced at 95p and known for its masthead featuring a happy sailor, it has been the last publication of its kind since the Southern Daily Echo’s Sports Pink was shut in 2017.

Coincidentally, the Sports Pink had also been in existence for 119 years at the time of its closure.

Sports Mail’s closure has been announced in an editorial by Neil Allen, chief sports writer at The News, who said it has “stood alone in what was once a thriving market”.

“Sadly, it is time to bid farewell to the Sports Mail – except on this occasion there can be no reprieve initiated by powerful public persuasion.

“After 119 years, the country’s last-remaining weekend sports paper will publish for the final time.”

“It’s now the end of an era – for the Sports Mail and all sports newspapers in this country.”

Mark Waldron, editor of The News, posted on Twitter: “Very sad. A tough decision but we will go out with a souvenir edition to give our sailor one final double thumbs up.

“Thanks to everyone who supported us right up to the end.”

The title was first published in 1903 under the banner of the Football Mail, later becoming Sports Mail.

A special collector’s copy will mark its closure, containing pre-season coverage of Portsmouth Football Club and “plenty of nostalgia, along with some of the more memorable front pages during its long existence”.