Editor David Emery buys out Non-League Paper

The Football Paper's editor David Emery has bought out the paper just seven months after it was rescued and relaunched by a new owner.

Production of this week's edition was halted indefinitely on Friday amid takeover rumours, and the 45,000-circulation paper did not appear on newsstands on Sunday.

In its place, The Non-League Paper — which had been coming out as a supplement within The Football Paper — was published as a standalone title.

In a statement Emery said today: "Unfortunately adverse trading conditions in the core business of our main backer prevented him from continuing with his funding commitment. Consequently, the company has been sold to me with a legal undertaking that all outstanding liabilities will be paid.

“In other words, all journalists with outstanding invoices will receive their money.

“It is almost seven years to the day since I launched The Non-League Paper, so from my point of view, football’s coming home.”

In
a message to readers on page two, the NLP said: "The Non-League Paper
returns today as a stand-alone publication rather than a pull-out
section in the The Football Paper.

"We did our best to maintain the integrity of The Non-League Paper as part of the larger publication.

"And, indeed, many readers enjoyed the larger format. We thank them for their support.

"The Football Paper could return next season without the NLP."

The Football Paper has only existed for seven months, after new owners BHT Media rescued and rebranded The League Paper and The Non-League Paper from previous owners, Greenways Media.

Two journalists have taken voluntary redundancy – but the NLP has told Press Gazette that the other eight jobs are safe.

An insider at The Football Paper told Press Gazette: "There have been
talks of a takeover for the last couple of weeks and we're not sure of
the situation here."

In an email seen by Press Gazette, sent to freelance contributors by a BHT Media employee, the decision to stop publishing The Football Paper was put down to a dramatic fall in sales.

"It has been a difficult 12 months for our company, which featured a period of administration in July 2006 followed by new owners taking over at the start of the season," it said.

"Although The Football Paper sold 50,000-plus copies per issue at its highest point, unfortunately in recent weeks copy sales have dropped dramatically.

"I can now inform you that we have now been taken over once again, which has regrettably meant that our publication has changed format.

"We are no longer printing The Football Paper and have gone back to solely publishing The Non-League Paper, which was our original and most profitable product."

A spokesman for the NLP told Press Gazette that sales of The Football Paper had averaged around 46,000 and that the decision to stop publishing was due to a lack of funds for the required "marketing spend to push it forward".

The Non-League Paper and The League Paper both went into administration in June 2006 after a "huge hole" was found in the company finances.

But in August, the two titles were offered a last-minute reprieve when a buyer, BHT Media, emerged, with a rescue package headed by former PA executive Simon Burrell.

All 10 full-time staff journalists were told they would keep their jobs, including Emery, the former head of sport at the Daily Express.

Speaking at the time, Emery told Press Gazette the titles were "definitely safe for the foreseeable future. We couldn't have asked for better buyers."

It was the second time the paper had gone into administration. The previous time was in 2002, again due to "financial irregularities", when £272,000 went missing from the company finances. 

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