The newspaper was founded in Manchester by Edward Hulton in August 1885. He was known for his sporting coverage, already publishing the Sporting Chronicle, the Daily Dispatch and the Athletic News. The paper initially cost one penny and, despite its name, was published on both Saturdays and Sundays. The socialist Robert Blatchford worked for the paper in its early years and, due to his influence, it supported the Manningham Mills strikers. However, Blatchford was sacked immediately after the strike and instead founded the Clarion with the paper's drama critic, Alexander M. Thompson.
Hulton's son, also Edward Hulton, took over the business on his father's death, but sold it to Allied Newspapers in 1923 for £6,000,000. Publication was moved to London, and James Drawbell was appointed editor, positioning it as a middle market newspaper and increasing circulation.
- Thomas Harris
- A. W. Woodbridge
- 1925: James Drawbell
- 1951: Gordon McKenzie
- 1952: John William Robertson
- 1954: Anthony George Berry
- 1954: Eugene Romer Wason
- Andrew Davies and Steven Fielding, Workers' Worlds: Cultures and Communities in Manchester and Salford, 1880-1939, p.160
- Ed. Brian Tyson, Bernard Shaw's Book Reviews, pp.212-213
- Tony Mason, Association football and English society, 1863-1915, p.200
- Bryan Common, Beverley Nichols: a life, p.162
- "Gone and (largely) forgotten", British Journalism Review, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2006, pp.50–52