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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 January 2006, 08:48 GMT
Final whistle for sports 'pink'
The final Echo Sports paper
Final 'pink' - the last edition of the Saturday sports paper
The last edition of the South Wales Sport Echo rolled off the presses on Saturday, killed by falling circulation and new technology.

The "pink" has been available within an hour of the final whistle at Saturday football and rugby matches since 1919.

Publishers Western Mail and Echo blamed the decision on low sales.

The group said the drop was the result of fewer Saturday matches and easier access to scores via mobile phones and the internet.

The paper charted some of the biggest events in Welsh sporting history, including Cardiff City winning the FA Cup in 1927, Cardiff RFC beating the All Blacks in 1953, rugby glory years of the 1970s, and last year's Grand Slam.

Western Mail and Echo said no jobs would be lost with the paper's demise as Sport Echo staff will be switched to other publications.

Echo editor Richard Williams said the paper was being scrapped because "times have changed".

He said: "In years gone by the Sport Echo was part of the traditional Saturday afternoon sports scene in South Wales.

Football Echo from 18 March, 1978
The paper was known for much of its life as the Football Echo

"But times have changed. The football and rugby worlds in particular have been switching games to accommodate live TV and this has had a serious effect on our ability to provide comprehensive coverage.

"Also technology has changed how the media reports its sports news.

"Where years ago fans were interested in reading minute-by-minute information about a match, the internet and mobile communications now mean that sports fans can access instant sports information at the switch of a button."

The final edition celebrated Cardiff City's 3-0 win over Burnley, and there were tributes to the paper inside from some of its journalists, past and present.

Ken Gorman, Welsh football writer for the Sunday Mirror, said reporting for papers like the pink was "very hard work".

Reporters had to phone in copy constantly during matches - sometimes as often as every 15 minutes.

Mr Gorman said: "I think you have to be of a certain age to appreciate what these football pinks right over the country - not just Cardiff - really were about."

"It's a part of our heritage that's disappearing but unfortunately it's just happened because of modern technology."

The pink Echo used to have two editions in its heyday.

"They had one that was on the streets 20 minutes after the final whistle," he told BBC Radio Wales.

Football Echo from 18 August 1951
The paper covered the ups - and occasional downs - of Cardiff City

"They'd have half-time match reports in there and all the final scores in the late news item. And then about a quarter to seven they'd bring out a full edition with full reports, up-to-date league tables and people would queue for them.

"In those days, they would sell 70 - 80,000 copies on a Saturday."

Former Glamorgan and England cricketer Peter Walker was disappointed at the paper's demise.

"It is sad - it's the one paper we always used to look for as a player on a Saturday evening."

He added: "Some of the stories in there were amazing. When you'd played in a game and read the report you wondered if you'd been on the same planet, let alone the same pitch."


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