A plea to Pompey fans: Keep on supporting the dear old Sports Mail - still going after 118 years

The front of that first edition from September 1903The front of that first edition from September 1903
The front of that first edition from September 1903
Some 118 years ago, the very first edition of what is now the Sports Mail was published.

I recently rediscovered a copy of the front page from that day – September 5, 1903. It was the Football News and Southern Sport at first, then it became the Football for many decades, and eventually the Sports Mail.

The page was re-published in 2003 when we celebrated the Mail’s centenary and it is a thing of a beauty, containing about 3,000 words and no photographs, just one illustration depicting the start of Pompey’s Southern League season.

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Now, well over a century on, I’m proud to be part of the small team that keeps the Sports Mail going – even if, sadly, it is just about the last regional weekend football paper of its kind still being produced.

Times have changed greatly and few if any now find out Pompey’s result and scorers, or the details of the match, from picking up this paper.

Long gone are the days when Pompey fans and other local football followers would flock to newsagents on a Saturday night in their thousands to wait for the stacks of Mails to arrive and pore over the news from Fratton Park and the day’s other scores and updated league tables.

And yet the latest edition (published last weekend) shows how the thirst for news and views from our beloved football club is a strong as ever.

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It is packed with interviews with the 2020-21 Blues squad and with opinions on what may or may not happen in League One this season.

If you’ve ever bought the Mail and enjoyed it, please do try to support it during the season. If nothing else, it will always be the first place you can read my ramblings on everything from past Pompey greats to silly superstitions.

Incidentally, Pompey’s 1903-04 season, the first to be covered by the Football News, ended in a fourth-place finish in the Southern League – a drop of one on their 1902-03 placing.

What chance the same spot, albeit in a different league, being occupied by the Blues in May 2021?