Trinity Mirror urged to keep Sports Argus

By David Rose

Midlands Labour MPs are spearheading a campaign to reprieve the Sports Argus, facing closure after 109 years.

They called on its owners, Trinity Mirror, to halt closure plans to allow efforts to be made to see whether it can survive "as a stand-alone title".

Their intervention follows warnings by NUJ members at the Birmingham Post & Mail that they may ballot for industrial action over the scheduled closure of the Saturday football paper after the FA Cup Final on 13 May.

The Argus is reported to be losing nearly £100,000 a year, partly due to football fixture times moving away from Saturday afternoons. The company now plans to incorporate eight pages of the Sports Argus into the main body of the Mail’s Saturday paper. But Midlands Labour MPs have tabled a Commons motion calling on Trinity Mirror "to put a moratorium on its decision to allow a re-examination of ways to maintain the Sports Argus as a stand-alone title".

It contrasted the decision with Trinity Mirror’s operating profits of more than £250m in 2005.

The MPs said: "The end of the Argus as an independent title would be a damaging loss to the plurality of publishing in the West Midlands."

MPs who have so far signed the motion are Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Sparkbrook and Smallheath) Lynne Jones (Birmingham Selly Oak) Alan Meale (Mansfield) Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West) and Alan Simpson (Nottingham South).

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