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?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales Executive

£20 - £30k DOE + OTE + BENEFITS: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...

Guru Careers: Copywriter / Direct Response Copywriter

£20k plus sales linked bonus. : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Copywriter to j...

Guru Careers: 3D Creative Designer

Up to £26k DOE: Guru Careers: A Junior / Mid-Level 3D Creative Designer is nee...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks