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Football reporter leaves publisher after 24 years covering club

JamesHunterA football reporter who has covered the same club for the past 24 years has become the latest sports journalist to depart as a result of the cutbacks at Reach plc.

November’s announcement that 450 jobs including 320 in editorial were to go saw scores of journalists leave before Christmas including several senior figures.

Now James Hunter, who has covered Sunderland football club for Newcastle daily The Chronicle since 1999, has announced this weekend’s game will be his last.

He is the latest of a clutch of football journalists to leave in the wake of the cutbacks that have left some clubs without dedicated reporters.

They include Steven Chicken, who covered Huddersfield Town for the Examiner, Nathan Hemmingham and Ricky Charlesworth, who respectively covered Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday for Yorkshire Live.

Others to depart have included Joe Mewis, football content editor for ChronicleLive, LeedsLive, GazetteLive, YorkshireLive and HullLive, and women’s football editor Laura Hartley.

James, pictured, announced his departure in a message to fans posted on X.

He wrote: “This weekend’s trip to Ipswich will be my 1,152nd and final game covering Sunderland AFC for Chronicle Live. Changes announced by Reach back in November mean I’ll be leaving the company on Sunday.

“It’s been a wild ride and an immense privilege to cover your magnificent football club for 24 and a half years as well as a lot of fun!

“I’ve worked with some great friends and colleagues at Reach, other papers/broadcasters and within the club itself.

“Thanks to all the fans who have read my work and followed me on here or elsewhere over the years and I’ve enjoyed the discussions/exchanges of views/arguments.  That’s what makes football what it is.

“I’ll still watch some games, stick around on X to follow from afar, and maybe even chip in on the debate from time to time.  Thanks again.”

James began his career as a news reporter at the Telegraph and Argus in 1994 before joining the Yorkshire Evening Post the following year.

While at the YEP he covered Bradford City’s journey from third tier to the Premier League between 1966 and 1999.

He joined the Chronicle that year, reporting on Sunderland through three promotions, four relegations, three cup finals, and two play-off finals.

His 1,000th competitive first-team game saw the club lift the EFL Trophy at Wembley in 2021.

HTFP has approached both James and Reach for further comment.