Non League Paper avoids the drop as buyer steps in

The Non League Paper has been saved from possible closure after finding a buyer, but dozens of freelance journalists are unlikely to get any money from the deal — and some have been left thousands out of pocket.

A new entity called BHT Media has bought the Non League Paper and sister title The League Paper after they both went into administration in June.

All 10 journalists on the titles are to keep their jobs, but many of them have also lost money.

Businessman Simon Burrell is behind the buyout. The former PA executive launched Entertainment and Sports Agency and runs the popular website footymad.com.

ESA has been providing real-time information and event reporting on European and UK sport for 14 years, and claims a network of more than 400 correspondents.

Non League Paper founder and editorin- chief David Emery is also keeping his job. The paper went into administration in June after what he described as a "huge hole" was found in its finances.

The League Paper is now back on newsagents' shelves after its summer break, while the Non League Paper has been publishing on Sundays without a break. The Non League Paper Friday edition returns this week.

According to Emery, the new owners hope to bring both The League Paper and the Non League Paper up to 88 pages by the middle of the current football season.

Emery said it was regrettable that debts owed to journalists by the previous owners of the papers were unlikely now to be paid.

He said: "We've all been victims of an elaborate financial swindle — investigations are ongoing and it is likely the police will be involved."

He added: "The Non League Paper had a bumpy ride financially, but not in terms of its sales or its readers.

"It is definitely safe for the foreseeable future and so is The League Paper. We couldn't have asked for better buyers."

A spokesman for the new owners said: "BHT Media believes that all three titles are yet to reach their full potential, and that there are significant growth opportunities within these niche markets, despite the national newspaper industry being in decline.

"The titles are already being marketed through the regional press in England and Wales, as well as across a number of online football-specific websites.

"Further marketing activity will continue throughout the season to ensure that each of the titles are established as brands in their own right."

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