In the UK, a Saturday sports paper was a local newspaper published on a Saturday evening containing information about sports matches played on that day. Throughout most of the twentieth century they were very popular, representing one of the few up to date sources of information available to sports fans. Gradually, circulations fell and all had ceased publication by December 2017, with the exception of Portsmouth's Sports Mail, which moved to publishing on a Sunday, finally ending publication in July 2022.[1]

Overview Edit

Saturday sports papers were published locally, with a different paper produced in each area covering local teams in depth. They were often connected to the main local newspaper in the area. In Cardiff, for example, the Western Mail and Echo published the South Wales Sport Echo (previously the Football Echo).[2] The papers were commonly nicknamed according to the colour of the paper upon they were printed, which usually was not white. The "sports pink" or "green 'un" were common names.[2][3]

Most Saturday sports papers focussed on football, providing match reports of games involving local teams and a full listing of final scores. Many also covered other traditional sports such as rugby[3] or cricket[2] and some expanded into covering less familiar sports such as ice hockey.[4] Saturday sports papers were published as soon after full-time as possible. Cardiff's South Wales Sports Echo was available to buy within twenty minutes of the end of the game, featuring half-time reports and full-time scores, with a fuller edition later in the evening.[2] Many sports fans have fond memories of going out to buy a Saturday sports paper as soon as it was printed to find out how their team had done.[5]

Before the advent of radio, Saturday sports papers were the only way most fans had of finding out sporting results,[5] and consequently they were very popular, some with circulations of more than 50,000.[2] In the 21st century, however, the papers declined dramatically in sales. Birmingham's Sports Argus, which used to be the biggest selling Saturday sports paper in the country, was one of many to be forced to close, publishing its last issue on 13 May 2006.[6] Those that remained saw declining sales,[3] or switched to providing websites.[7]

A number of factors adversely affected the popularity of Saturday sports papers. Televised sport meant that matches (particularly football) increasingly did not take place on Saturday afternoons so could not be adequately covered by a Saturday evening publication. Another issue was the rise of alternative sources of information: the internet, mobile phones and teletext services allowed sports fans to follow their team's progress without the need to purchase a paper.[2]

The final titles Edit

The Sheffield Star Green 'Un closed in the summer of 2013 and the Sunderland Echo Pink followed at the end of the same year.[8] This left only two Saturday sports papers in existence - Portsmouth's Sports Mail, which had only just been resurrected for the 2013-14 season (having originally run from 1903 until 2012), and the Southern Daily Echo's Sports Pink.

The Sports Mail moved its publication date to a Sunday in October 2016.[9][10][11] The Sports Pink therefore remained the final Saturday sports paper until it too closed on 9 December 2017.[12][13] In July 2022, Portsmouth's Sports Mail published its final edition, marking the end of weekend sports papers in the UK.[14]

Notable former examples Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "End of an era - Sports Mail to be published for last time after 119 years". Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Final whistle for sports 'pink', BBC News, 15 January 2006
  3. ^ a b c The end of Saturday sports papers?, The Independent, 9 January 2006
  4. ^ Following Manchester Storm,
  5. ^ a b Will's magic weekend, BBC
  6. ^ Birmingham sport paper to close, Press Gazette, 14 April 2006
  7. ^ Papers close Saturday sports editions in online move,, 31 May 2007
  8. ^ McGarthy, Emma (9 January 2014). "Sunderland Echo replaces Pink football paper with free page-turning digital edition". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Revived Saturday sports paper set to close unless more readers found". 19 April 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  10. ^ Neil, Allen (30 September 2016). "Last Chance for an Old Friend". Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  11. ^ "Sports Mail Gets A Makeover". 18 September 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  12. ^ "The Pink". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  13. ^ Sharman, David (14 December 2017). "Regional daily axes Saturday sports edition after 119 years". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  14. ^ "End of an era - Sports Mail to be published for last time after 119 years". Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  15. ^ a b c d e Neil, Allen (16 April 2016). "Why it could be farewell to an old Pompey friend". Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Press delete". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  17. ^ "Final whistle for sports 'pink'". BBC. 15 January 2006. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  18. ^ Stephen, Bierley. "The Pink slips into the sunset". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  19. ^ "Final whistle for MEN Sunday Pink". 25 June 2007. Retrieved 26 November 2016.