An old boy looks for new Europeans: Roy Greenslade reports on the latest events in the European's brief but stormy history (CORRECTED)

CORRECTION (PUBLISHED 24 AUGUST 1994) APPENDED TO THIS ARTICLE

The European is a strange newspaper. It was founded as an act of vanity by Robert Maxwell at the height of his megalomania. Almost everyone expected it to fail in spite of the millions he lavished on it. Once he died, the paper came within a whisker of dying, too.

It was saved largely because its then deputy editor, Charles Garside, in a remarkable show of faith, risked his own bank account to keep it going when all the staff were fired.

Garside then managed to convince reclusive millionaire twins to buy the paper and instal him as editor. He rehired staff, got the show back on the road and gradually lifted the circulation towards some kind of respectability.

All was going smoothly until a new management figure moved in, upset the easy-going Garside and ousted him in September last year. Sales began to fall away. So six weeks ago the manager was fired, and Garside was reappointed editor-in-chief.

Even in the volatile world of newspapers, that's a topsy-turvy history to squeeze into three years. 'Quite extraordinary,' says the laconic Garside as he contemplates what he calls 'the new era' for the European.

From this month the paper is being published from smart offices on the top floor of ITN's Gray's Inn Road headquarters, after leaving shabby offices next to the empty Mirror Group building. The last link with Maxwell is severed. 'You can't help feeling the ghosts in this place,' said Garside a few days before the move.

He does not share the widely-held view that his newspaper is an enduring example of Maxwell's foresight. 'The only valuable thing he left was the name.' Garside lists Maxwellian mistakes that saddled the paper with problems since its launch in May 1990. Printing and distribution were badly organised; advertising sales were haphazard; millions were wasted on daft contracts; Maxwell's Eastern Europe interests unbalanced the paper. 'It's taken a lot of time and effort to turn it all round,' he says. 'But we're getting there slowly.'

The paper was bought from the administrators - who moved in after Maxwell's pension plunder came to light - by the shipping and hotel tycoons David and Frederick Barclay. At that time the paper was selling just 80,000 and many presumed it would fail. In fact, circulation built up within six months to 150,000, and a year later reached 167,000.

Its audience clearly liked the design and content, concise summaries of the main news stories from every European country. There was a comprehensive business section, and a stylish lifestyle supplement.

But the managing director, a friend of the Barclays, fell ill and his replacement, Greg MacLeod, a former accountant with the administrators Arthur Andersen, soon exhibited a management style at odds with Garside's.

Garside resigned in September 1993, when sales were believed to be heading towards 200,000. When he said this was an 'amicable and mutual parting' few believed him. His job was given to Herbert Pearson, a former Mirror man who had worked at the European from its earliest stages under Maxwell.

Garside joined the Daily Mirror as a consultant for six months and was just about to take a job elsewhere when the Barclays called and asked him to return. Sales had begun to slip. Pearson was happy to step aside for his old friend, and MacLeod had departed, so Garside took back the job most of the 67 journalists believe is his by right.

He has just hired a new head of advertising ('11 years with Time') and a marketing director ('four years with Newsweek'). Distribution has improved. A big push for subscribers is on its way. Sales are said to be close to 170,000.

Says Garside: 'We have the biggest pan-European news stand sale, beating the International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Europe, Time and Newsweek. Now we're going to compete for subscriptions.'

But what is the European for? 'We want the people of Europe to be involved in where Europe is going. We offer a forum for that debate. Where else can it happen?'

One problem still to be solved is the difficulty of attracting advertising, but Garside argues that this is about to turn the corner.

He admits the European loses money, but says it is a lot less than in Maxwell's profligate days. The Barclays - who are as different from Maxwell as it is possible to imagine - are not complaining. They are hardly likely to pull the plug at this point.

CORRECTION

On our media page of 17 August we published an article which dealt with recent changes at the European newspaper. We should make it clear that we did not intend to suggest that Gregory MacLeod, the paper's former manager, had a management style which was inappropriate or that he ousted the then editor of the European, Charles Garside. In addition we wrongly suggested that during the course of Mr MacLeod's tenure as manager of the newspaper, sales of the European began to fall and that as a result Mr MacLeod was fired.

We accept that none of the above assertions are true, and that in particular during the period when Mr MacLeod was manager of the European sales actually improved, and furthermore that he left the newspaper by mutual consent. We apologise to Mr MacLeod for any distress our report may have caused him.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?