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Axed football reporter to continue coverage of club via Substack

A football reporter whose role has been axed as part of the cutbacks at Reach plc is to continue coverage of his local club via a subscription model.

As previously reported by HTFP, Steven Chicken, Huddersfield Town reporter at daily newspaper The Examiner and sister website Yorkshire Live, is leaving the publisher, with tonight’s game at Sunderland his last in his current role.

But Steven has now announced he is to continue to offer coverage of the club via We Are Terriers, a paid-for service on Substack which launches on Friday.

As well as two written pieces a week, it will feature the continuation of a popular podcast which Steven produces together with Opta analyst David Hartrick.

Steven told HTFP:  “I’m very grateful to the Examiner for giving me my first full-time football writing job in 2019 after ten years trying to break through as a freelance, so it’s sad to be leaving.

“The Huddersfield Town podcast I host and produce alongside David Hartrick has been particularly popular over the past four and a half years, and we always thought that when this time finally came that we would want to keep it going.

“From this Friday, we’re going to keep going with the Huddersfield Town coverage both on the podcast and with quality written coverage.

“For just £5 per month, we’ll be offering Town fans a new episode of the pod weekly throughout the season as well as two quality written pieces per week, which includes detailed analysis and reaction to each game Town play.

“At this stage, at least, we’re not aiming to replicate the several pieces of news, rumours or opinion per day that I’ve done for the past few years.

“Frankly that’s partly a question of financial viability: I can’t commit to sitting at a desk 9-5 five days a week writing about Huddersfield Town unless the subscription service were to be wildly popular beyond all belief.

“But it’s also in this day and age we think a lot of that stuff is already covered elsewhere, whether that be directly from the club, or by the Yorkshire Post, BBC Radio Leeds, or the nationals.

“I’m not sure at this stage that charging for what would mostly be non-exclusive and/or second-hand information would add much value on top of the detailed analysis we’re already offering.

“That all said, I’ve been blown away by the level of interest both from Town fans and in the wider media.

“I feel like a bit of a test case for this kind of model covering clubs at this level, so I really hope it works…obviously for myself, but also for the fans, who depend on knowledgeable local media to represent them in holding clubs to account, to help contextualise decisions and issues affecting the club, and to provide more detailed coverage than they’re going to get in the national press.

“So far all we’ve asked for is expressions of interest in the Substack, and the response has been far in excess of our fairly modest expectations.

“We’ll start to see on Friday how much that translates into paying subscribers, but we think what we’re offering is excellent value and hopefully fills whatever gap is left behind by my departure from the Examiner.”

Steven’s departure means the Examiner will no longer have a dedicated reporter covering the Championship club, which competed in the Premier League as recently as 2019.

It comes amid the loss of 450 roles – incuding 320 editorial posts – at Reach following a downturn in digital advertising revenues.

It has also emerged that both Sheffield clubs will also lose their dedicated Yorkshire Live reporters as part of the cutbacks.

Nathan Hemmingham, who covers Premier League side Sheffield United and his colleague Ricky Charlesworth, who reports on Steel City rivals Sheffield Wednesday, both revealed their departures on the social media platform ‘X’.