|About Athletic News|
See below for the history of this magazine
The Athletic News and Cyclists' Journal 1875 – 1931
(It was later known as Football Chat.)
It was the 2nd Manchester based sports paper covering mostly football but athletics, cycling and rugby too, but ignored horse racing, the staple diet of the sporting pages of the time.
Published by Allied Newspapers in Manchester.
The Athletic News and Cyclists' Journal was established in Manchester in 1875 as a "weekly journal of amateur sport". The editors John Bentley, James Catton and Ivan Sharpe were regarded by football players and readers alike, as wielding influence among footballs administrators.
In 1886 he left his Bolton accountant's office to work in Manchester as Assistant Editor, and later Editor, of "The Athletic News". He became a regular columnist in the Daily Express, Daily Mail and "Football chat", a weekly magazine. In 1887 William McGregor contacted John Bentley about the formation of a Football League, because of his influence over Lancashire football. He became a founder committee member of the football league, becoming president on McGregor's retirement in 1894, holding the position until 1910 when he became a life member of the Football League management committee.Bentley opposed the power of the Football Association and objected to the decision that stated that no transfer fee of more than £10 be paid by football clubs. As Bentley pointed out in 1899: "The serious battle will be fought on what the League considers a principle and that is being allowed to work its own particular competition in its own particular way whilst at the same time observing the rules of the parent body." Between the years 1895 and 1900 John James Bentley was probably the most powerful man English football has ever known. He eventually became vice-president of the FA.
James Alfred Henry Catton aka "Tityrus"
Born 6th April 1860 after being desribed as a budding giant he stopped growing altogether at four feet ten and a half. In his opening article "The Sorrows of a Small Man"for his new job at Manchester Sunday Chronicle in in 1892 he said "My only claim on your attention is that I am a such a small, diminutive,stunted,dwarfish and infinitesimal being." In 1886 James Catton began to contribute football reports for the Athletic News newspaper. He initially used the pen name of "Ubique". Later he took the name "Tityrus" . Catton eventually became the editor of the newspaper in 1900 and was acknowledged as the most important football writer in Britain. The first season of the Football League began in September, 1888. James Catton responded by publishing The Athletic News on Monday instead of a Saturday. Much to the delight of Catton, Preston North End won the first championship that year without losing a single match and acquired the name the "Invincibles". In 1891 sales reached 50,000. Two years later he had doubled to 100,000. From 1913 to 1915 he was the president of the football referees union.He retired as editor in August 1924 aged 64 and handed over to Ivan Sharpe. He moved south and continued to write in semi retirement (see more at "All Sports Illustrated")
Ivan Gordon Sharpe
Although an amateur himself, he played for several professional clubs, including Watford, Derby County— with whom he won the Football League First Division in 1911–12–and later Leeds United. He represented the England national amateur football team, and also the Great Britain national football team, with whom he won an Olympic gold medal at the 1912 games in Sweden. He is also one of very few players to have played for both Leeds City (65 appearances and 17 goals) and Leeds United (1 appearance 0 goals).After retirement he enjoyed a long career as a sports journalist, becoming president of the Football Writers Association. He served as editor of the Athletic News Football Annual and also of the Athletic News Cricket Annual. In 1936 he was selected by the BBC to be one of two journalists (the other being Mr F N S Creek) who for the first time provided live commentary on the FA Cup Final.
On the 22nd August 1900 this weekly newspaper must have noticed the increasing popularity of football as it was renamed Football Chat that only ran till 5 December 1900 (Nos. 26-41).It changed name again to Football Chat and Athletic World on 12 December 1900 - 31 December 1901 and stuck with that name until 1907. (Over the years it continued changing the name: Athletic World and Football Chat 19 March - 23 April 1907: Nos. 323-328. Continued as: Football Chat, Cycling and Athletic World-6 August - 31 December 1907. Continued as: Athletic World, Cycling and Football Chat 7 January 1908 - 28 April 1909 : Nos. 366-434.)
Another famous journalist who worked for the Athletic News under James Catton was William Pickford. In 1905 he joined forces with Alfred Gibson, who worked for The Football Star, to publish “Association Football and the Men Who Made It”
The Athletic News continued to prosper and by 1919 it had a circulation of 170,000. As one football historian, Tony Mason, by the end of the First World War "the Athletic News was the voice of football and the paper of the discerning football enthusiast." By the late 1920s Sunday newspapers such as the News of the World and The Sunday People devoted about 25% of its space to sport. Most of this involved reporting on football. The Athletic News tried to compete with this type of coverage but in 1931 it accepted defeat and merged with The Sporting Chronicle.
(Thanks to www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ENCfootball.htm) By 1901 it was employing 600 people at the printinting facility at Withy Grove ,Manchester.
About Athletic News .