The Southampton-based Sports Pink has closed after 119 years.
The Saturday paper, produced by the sports team on the Southern Daily Echo, put out its final edition on the weekend.
In a Twitter post, the paper said it now sold only about 2,000 copies and that readers may have noticed an “absence of any adverts in the last few months”.
It said: “Unfortunately we need more than three full-time staff to keep it going on top of the sports pages of the [Southern Daily] Echo, Romsey Advertiser, Hampshire Chronicle, Eastleigh Times and Southampton Citizen (plus Winchester Xtra and New Forest Post).”
It is understood that the Pink’s closure leaves the Sports Mail, from the team at south coast rivals the Portsmouth News, as the only remaining Saturday football paper in the country.
Its closure was described as the “end of an era” in an outpouring of messages on Twitter after news that it had printed its last broke.
The Echo’s chief sports writer, Adam Leitch, said: “After 119 years The Pink (Sports Echo) rolls off the presses for the last time. It is the end of an era having been a huge part of our football community for so long. I am beyond proud to have written for it for 20 years. Farewell old friend.”
Today we say goodbye. After 119 years The Pink (Sports Echo) rolls off the presses for the last time. It is the end of an era having been a huge part of our football community for so long. I am beyond proud to have written for it for 20 years. Farewell old friend #saintsfc #RIP pic.twitter.com/PHE0QOmDN5
— Adam Leitch (@adamleitchsport) December 9, 2017
Former Sports Pink writer Graham Hiley tweeted: “Desperately sad news. I loved writing for The Pink which for so many years was an institution, an integral part of life for fans of Southampton FC local football and the city.
“So many great writers and fans took it to their hearts. Sad end of an era”
Daily Telegraph football correspondent Jeremy Wilson, a former journalist on the Sports Pink, said the paper was “an institution” in Southampton, where it provided weekly coverage of sport at all levels across Hampshire, including reports on Southampton FC and non-league football.
He tweeted: “The thought of filing/phoning my first live ‘running’ reports still prompts butterflies. Happy days with brilliant ex-colleagues Adam Leitch, Bob Brunskill, non-league legend Wendy Gee and many more.”
The Sports Pink was founded in 1898 as The Football Echo and is owned by Newsquest. It sold for 55p.