Football title names new editor after reshuffle row

Eleven: delayed by advertising

Football magazine Eleven has appointed a new editor after a bust-up over a staff reshuffle.

Editor Steven Downes left abruptly before Christmas after he was offered a new position of chief feature writer. Mike Hammond, editor of European Football Yearbook, will take his place.

Downes complained that he had spent the week before Christmas working until 2am to finish an issue which he claimed was then delayed to accommodate an advertiser.

The magazine admitted it was offered advertising from Vodafone if the magazine included an article on David Beckham. “What’s the point of being chief feature writer on a magazine that doesn’t come out?” Downes said.

He also wrote to the magazine’s founding editor, Chris Nawrat, complaining that one of the directors, Martin Feeley, had been making changes to pages “without reference to anyone else” and that Eleven had been sent to the printer with the cover a different size to the pages.

He also questioned why Feeley did not want his name to appear in the magazine, claiming it was because of his previous involvement with the now defunct magazine Freekick.

Downes said in the letter to Nawrat: “The fact that Feeley’s name has not been on the masthead compromises the magazine’s position entirely.”

Nawrat, former sports editor of The Sunday Times, told Press Gazette he had introduced the reshuffle for the “harmony of the team”.

“Steven gets a lot of credit for what we have achieved. It’s an unfortunate situation, because I’ve known him for 20 years,” he said.

“The smaller the operation, the greater the politics, and it’s important everyone gets on with each other. I thought my diplomatic reshuffle would satisfy everyone, but he obviously wasn’t happy about it.”

Nawrat put the delay in publication down to “teething problems” and it is understood a deal is now in place with Comag to ensure the issues come out on time.

Feeley said he had left his name out because he didn’t want people to make any connection between Freekick and Eleven. But he stressed it would appear in the next issue “to prove a point”.

In a letter to contributors, Nawrat said about the delayed issue: “If you think you’re pissed off with this farce, imagine how I feel. We stupidly allowed ourselves to be held to ransom by incompetent ad agencies and incompetent managers. Never again.”

By Ruth Addicott

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