R.I.P. Daily and Sunday Sport
- 4 April 2011
- From the section Magazine
The Daily and Sunday Sport, those diligent exponents of tabloid journalism's lower reaches, have folded. Their remains, it can be sensationally revealed with the aid of Photoshop, are located on the far side of the moon.
Having for nearly 20 and 25 years respectively offered a blend of punning headlines, celebrity gossip, soft pornography and, when all else failed, entirely made-up stories, the titles have gone belly, and much else besides, up.
It is an uncharacteristically low-key passing for two newspapers whose content made the Sun's regular Page Three feature look like Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
Building sites, men's locker rooms, boys' public school dormitories and other such all-male environments may mourn their passing. Feminists and those who prefer their news headlines unaccompanied by depictions of the female anatomy may not.
A paparazzo skulking outside a nightclub frequented by minor celebrities in search of an "up-skirt" shot. Such was the Sport's greatest contribution to the craft of Martha Gellhorn, Robert Capa and Sir Harold Evans.
The Sunday Sport was launched by West Ham co-owner David Sullivan in 1986, and its Daily stablemate followed five years later.
Under the editorship of Tony Livesey, both titles specialised in a rarified brand of yellow journalism and headlines such as "World War II Bomber Found on Moon".
Mr Livesey said his lasting legacy would be a Channel 4 Cutting Edge documentary about the Sport which showed him rigorously fact-checking a story headlined: "Aliens Turned Our Son Into A Fish Finger."
A market for such content was, clearly, out there. At its peak in 2005, the Daily Sport's circulation stood at 189,473, while the Sunday edition reached a high in the same year of 167,473.
But friends of the Sport titles may have predicted their demise when the internet made the necessity of shame-facedly visiting the newsagent a thing of the past for consumers of pornography.
After Mr Sullivan sold up, the Sport was relaunched in April 2008. Additionally, former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik was recruited to lend some of his much-respected gravitas by writing a weekly political column.
But the launch of lads mags such as Zoo and Nuts meant extra competition and owner Sport Media Group's financial figures remained an inverse reflection of those of its female models.