The Pompey Chimes

The Pompey Chimes. Portsmouth Football Club Fans. Play up Pompey!

The Sports Mail will be back on sale every Saturday from August 3, 2013

You asked for it – and the News delivered.

July 20, 2013

Yes, the Sports Mail is coming home.

And purchasing a copy will give a financial boost to Pompey, too.

After many requests from our readers, The News’ much-loved sports newspaper is going to be printed again.

With the feel-good factor back at Pompey, the Sports Mail’s return will coincide with the Blues’ first match of the new campaign on Saturday, August 3.

Our 28-page publication will then be available every Saturday tea-time throughout the football season, packed with Pompey, non-league and grass-roots football.

After a proud 109-year history, we were forced to bid a sad farewell to the Sports Mail in October last year because of dwindling sales.

But the outpouring of emotion from readers ever since forced us to look into ways of bringing it back.

Now the much-missed Sports Mail will return – and we are asking all fans of the paper to go out and purchase copies on a weekly basis to ensure it can remain an important part of our area’s sporting scene.

Without your support the future of the Sports Mail will be put back at risk.

What’s more, Pompey will reap the rewards, too.

For every Sports Mail purchased, we will donate 10p to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.

So for just 60p, you’ll be getting a top-class read – and helping out your beloved Blues, too.

And there’s even better news. If you buy a season-long subscription to the Sports Mail we can offer it to you for only 45p a week (£17.55 for 39 editions).

And even at this superb discount we will still put 10p into the club’s coffers.

The improved Sports Mail will include:

· Pompey match report, pictures and summary from that day’s game.

· An exclusive Blues player column.

· An in-depth interview with a Pompey star, plus the latest stories from Fratton Park.

· The chance to win great prizes with our fans’ page.

· Pompey Ladies and youth.

· Non-league features.

· Match reports, pictures and stats from our local youth and parks football scene.

· Non-league reports from that day’s matches.

· Full-time round-up from Saturday’s Premier League and Football League matches.

It’s not long until the Sports Mail will hit the streets once again.

So ensure you get your hands on the publication’s eagerly-anticipated return by registering your interest in a 45p-a-week subscription.

Click here to subscribe.


The last Sports Mail set to roll off the presses

Saturday October 6, 2012 All Day
Fratton Park, Portsmouth, England  (map)

Pompey Glorious and Victorious was the headline in the Football Mail in May 1924 after the club clinched the third division title to gain their first-ever promotion in the Football League.

Staff at The News are this afternoon working on the last edition of The Sports Mail.

It’s bound to be an emotional afternoon for journalists and fans alike as the last copies of the 109-year-old paper hit the streets.

Chief sports writer Neil Allen has the honour of filing back the last ever Pompey ‘runner’ as Pompey take on MK Dons at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes.

Sports writer Jordan Cross is also there, filing live reports to during the game. And of course, our live reports on the internet will continue, with more and more fans choosing to receive our matchday updates on the web and on our football app.

But although that alternative led to Sports Mail sales dwindling to the point where the paper was making a loss - one of the reasons we have decided to close the title mid-season - there has been an outpouring of affection for the Mail from readers.

Sports editor Howard Frost, who is at The News Centre masterminding the final edition, said: ‘We have been overwhelmed by the response. It’s a shame that the Sports Mail cannot be sustained, but we will be going out in style with tributes to the paper and some of the many memorable front pages from past Saturdays.’

Extra copies of the last edition have been printed, but there is expected to be big demand for the final edition, so the advice is to get to the shops early, with outlets taking delivery from around 6.30pm.

Any reader is unable to get a copy tonight should ring our newspaper team on 023 9262 2207 from 9am on Monday, when we shall sell any returned copies on a first come, first served basis, at 55p plus postage and packing.

If you want to pay or own tribute to the Sports Mail or share a memory about the paper, email [email protected] or post a comment on this story.

Of course, The Sports Mail was not just about Pompey and local football fans won’t miss a kick from the parks and youth scene with our new eight-page pullout in The News every Wednesday.

This will feature reports and pictures from all our local leagues.

As well as our new-and-improved grass-roots coverage in The News, darts will now be featured in the paper every Thursday, with snooker and other cue sports having its own page in The News every Friday.

All the best Pompey bits from the Sports Mail will also now be moving to The News.

That means you’ll still get to go back in time with the Blues with a nostalgia column. The club’s season stats will appear every Monday, while our chief sports writer Neil Allen will get to have his say every Saturday. And they’ll be even more.

And finally, The Sports Mail sailor isn’t bidding farewell, either. Our recognisable face to many Pompey supporters will now be switching to Monday Sport, hopefully with his thumbs up for many more times this season!


So many memories mean Sports Mail will never die

Monday October 8, 2012 All Day
Fratton Park, Portsmouth, England  (map)

So many memories mean Sports Mail will never die The front page of the Football Mail from 1949, the day Pompey were crowned first division champions

By Neil Allen

Published on Monday 8 October 2012 10:44

It’s a funeral I have attended before.

Previously it was the Sports Argus, the backing track to my footballing childhood.

Now I have bid an emotional farewell to another much-loved friend.

The voice of experience tells me this is how progress works, things move on, our day-to-day existence is constantly evolving.

Nonetheless, the internet has claimed another newspaper victim. Only this time it has struck down a popular friend of the Pompey family.

There are, after all, three things certain in life – death, taxes... and the end of Saturday sports papers.

Ever since the bombshell was dropped from far, far above to those of us at The News Centre on Wednesday afternoon that this would be the last-ever Sports Mail, I have stood stoically at the back to witness the service.

Others’ lips have been trembling, eyes have been dabbed and silences have been observed.

Not me, I have been here previously, in May 2006 no less, when what was once the largest-selling sports paper in Britain – Birmingham’s Sports Argus – went to the great publisher in the sky.

Pain felt towards the Sports Mail’s tragic demise has undoubtedly been numbed by such memories. My grieving took place a long time ago.

Yesterday, however, I did break.

Perhaps it was prompted by the man who told the story on how he met his wife 15 years ago when she asked to read his copy of the Sports Mail.

Or it could have been Peter Bone’s touching e-mail reliving how he devoured every word of Mike Neasom and Reg Betts and remains ‘nostalgic, sad, puzzled and, curiously bereaved’ over the paper’s passing.

Then there was Bob Beech’s Twitter disclosure that when his father died, for his final journey, he had with him his pipe, baccy and a Football Mail.

Maybe the moment of clarity was provided by Peter Higgins, he of Betting Room fame, who for once was reduced to silence when I delivered the notification of death in person amid the backdrop of a Port Solent pub.

Suddenly the situation struck home.

Today, after 109 years, the Sports Mail, a constant companion through the lives of so many, ceases to exist.

We all thought the old girl would last forever, yet economics dictated otherwise. And so we all are left to mourn.

Deemed not financially viable in a climate when newspaper sales are being devoured by advances in technology, somebody in The News’ hierarchy has decided to read the last rites.

And here we are, gathered here together, standing room only, watching the Sports Mail lowered into the ground.

There surely cannot be a dry eye in the house.

Forgive me, as a relative newcomer to the south coast, my association with the Sports Mail stretches back only 12 years.

My experiences do not possess the emotional depth so many of its readers feel towards the loss of such a loved one. I have no recollection of the publication being pink or broadsheet.

Nonetheless, it was back in November 2000 when our paths first crossed. Back then my remit was to cover Southampton on Saturdays and it so happened my debut would be a Dell match against Aston Villa.

That week I had walked away from the midlands to embark on a new life on the south coast, armed with nothing more than my proud collection of Rothmans yearbooks.

Yet a few months earlier, my previous job allowed me to share a candid hour with then-Villa manager John Gregory in his office at Bodymoor Heath, the majority of which was off the record.

Fearlessly, he launched a furious, and at times, white-knuckled tirade against his employer and Villa chairman Doug Ellis from the impenetrable confines of his office – in confidence, of course.

There he was, however, at The Dell and back in Hampshire following his Pompey exit as manager 10 years earlier.

My instructions from then-sports editor Colin Channon was to get Gregory, a former Pompey manager, on his own afterwards and persuade him to speak exclusively to The News.

Upon seeing me, Gregory was encouragingly welcoming, a reassuringly-recognisable face in foreign lands.

Except when he heard who I was nowadays working on behalf, his demeanour turned to thunderous.

‘The Portsmouth News’, he uttered. ‘No chance am I speaking to you lot after what you did to me.’

And he was off.

At the time his actions baffled. Since then Pompey education has taught me he was referring to his unsuccessful spell at Fratton Park as manager and the way he perceived he was treated.

Still, it would be November 2001 when I tasted my first Pompey runner in the Sports Mail, with then-chief sports writer Mark Storey absent.

I was despatched to cover the trip to Hillsborough as Graham Rix’s side took on Sheffield Wednesday.

There were, however, teething problems along the way, particularly in Loughborough.

The journey saw me write my car off, the engine keeling over and dying while in the outside lane of the M1. It subsequently turned out there was a critical absence of oil.

A taxi from Leicestershire saved the day, even if the pre-match team news was then conducted over the phone while sprinting to Hillsborough.

As I took my seat, I witnessed Yoshi Kawaguchi conceding a goal – 36 seconds into his debut.

Pompey managed to win 3-2 that day – a successful start to my Pompey reporting in the Mail. At least on the field of play.

It wouldn’t be until I was appointed chief sports writer in the summer of 2007 that I would inherit that gig on a regular basis.

Since then, I have reported on some of the greatest moments in Pompey’s modern-day history – including the 2008 Cup final success and 4-1 thrashing of Southampton at St Mary’s – as well as the continued devastating lows.

Now I have penned the obituary for the Sports Mail, my last assignment. Not that anybody needs lecturing on what this famous, old sports paper means to the people of this city.

Age may have claimed it, but for many, a lifetime of memories will never diminish.

The Sports Mail has offered generations the elixir of youth, keeping people forever young. A true time-travelling companion.

Now it is the end – except it will never be the end.

Sleep well.

Saturday evening football papers

November 14, 2012

Last month, the Sports Mail – one of only four Saturday evening football papers still in operation in Britain – bit the dust. That leaves The Pink in Southampton, the Green ‘Un in Sheffield and the Football Echo in Sunderland. Are their days numbered?

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Latest Match Reports

League 2 Season 2013-2014

Saturday December 14, 2013
Pompey 0 Newport County 2 (HT 0-0)

Wednesday December 4, 2013
Pompey 2 Wycombe Wanderers 2 (HT 0-1)

Saturday November 30, 2013
Hartlepool United 0 Pompey 0 (HT 0-0)

Tuesday November 26, 2013
Pompey 1 Southend 2 (HT 1-0)

Saturday November 23, 2013
Pompey 1 Scunthorpe United 2 (HT 1-1)

Saturday November 16, 2013
AFC Wimbledon 4 Pompey 0 (HT 1-0)

Tuesday November 12, 2013
Newport County 3 Pompey 0 (HT 2-0)
Johnstone's Paint Trophy (3rd Round)

Saturday November 9, 2013
Stevenage 2 Pompey 1 (HT 2-0)
FA Cup Round 1

Saturday November 2, 2013
Pompey 3 Exeter City 2 (HT 1-0)

Saturday October 26, 2013
Torquay United 1 Pompey 1 (HT 1-0)

Saturday October 19, 2013
Pompey 1 Bury 0 (HT 1-0)

Saturday October 12, 2013
Plymouth Argyle 1 Pompey 1 (HT 0-0)

Tuesday Oct 8, 2013
Oxford United 1 Pompey 2 (JPT) (HT 0-0)

Saturday, Oct 5, 2013
Pompey 3 Rochdale 0 (HT 1-0)

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013
York City 4 Pompey 2 (HT 1-0)

Saturday, Sep 21, 2013
Pompey 0 Fleetwood Town 1 (HT 0-0)

Saturday, Sep 14, 2013
Burton Albion 1 Pompey 2 (HT 0-1)

Saturday, Sep 7, 2013
Cheltenham Town 2 Pompey 2 (HT 1-2)

Tuesday, Sep 3, 2013
JP Trophy Round 1
Torquay United 0 Pompey 0 (HT 0-0)
(Pompey win 5-3 on penalties)

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013
Pompey 0 Chesterfield 2 (HT 0-0)

Saturday, Aug 24, 2013
Mansfield Town 2 Pompey 2 (HT 1-2)

Saturday, Aug 17, 2013
Pompey 3 Morecambe 0 (HT 3-0)

Saturday, Aug 10, 2013
Accrington Stanley 2 Pompey 2  (HT 0-0)

Tuesday, Aug 6, 2013
Bournemouth 1 Pompey 0  (HT 0-0)

Saturday, Aug 3, 2013
Pompey 1 Oxford United 4  (HT 1-2)

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