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)

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Sport
Heskey's aim has improved since the end of his English football career

Long after his career in English football has ended, Emile Heskey's impotency in front of goal remains an object of ridicule.

News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
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

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam