A headline you can believe: The 'Sport' closes

As the
Daily Sport appeared to have breathed its last yesterday, as its parent company ceased trading and called in administrators, it was still styling itself as "the world's most outrageous newspaper".

But the Sport's definition of outrageous has lately been rather different from the shock tactics it employed in its pomp when it acquired a cult following for outlandish revelations often containing references to extraterrestrial locations and figures of popular culture.

Thus the claimed discovery of a statue of the long-dead Elvis Presley on the planet Mars was worthy of front-page news in the weird world of the Sport. The paper's intrepid reporters purported to have uncovered a Second World War bomber plane on the moon and a London double-decker bus buried at the South Pole. Occasionally, the extraterrestrials came to us, as in "Aliens Turned Our Son into A Fish Finger."

It is no affirmation of the journalistic ability of the Sport's staff that no other news organisation was ever able to verify these claims. But the paper, launched in 1986 as the Sunday Sport by David Sullivan, the soft porn publisher and now joint chairman of West Ham United, found an audience among those who were amused by its apparent lampooning of tabloid headlines.

A quarter of a century later, the Sport does a different line in outrageous. On what looked like its final day in business, the paper was offering readers an unrelenting diet of pornography. Its website was boasting of a "collector's edition" that featured a photograph taken beneath the miniskirt of the singer Cheryl Cole and features with titles such as "Students Talk Sex" and "Booby Tuesday".

The paper's owner, Sport Media Group, called in administrators after suspending trading on the stock market. The company acquired the titles in 2007 and sought to capture young male readers who had abandoned newspapers for lads' mags such as Nuts, Loaded and FHM. But the ploy was a failure and in 2009 SMG turned to Mr Sullivan for financial assistance to get it through the recession. Yesterday it was blaming poor winter weather conditions for distribution problems that had hit revenues.

Buoyed by the initial success of the Sunday title, Sullivan began the Daily Sport in 1991. Its circulation reached a peak as late as 2005 when the daily edition was selling 189,473, but four years later the figure had plummeted to 72,592, and shortly afterwards SMG withdrew the Sport titles from the official circulation audits. The paper's sleazy content also saw it become the target of campaigns for it to be moved to the top shelves in newsagents.

Unless a new purchaser can be found to rescue the papers they will, if they can still be classified as newspapers, be the first national titles to close in 16 years, since Rupert Murdoch's News International took the decision to shut down Today. SMG said that the titles would not be distributed this weekend.

For the Sport, the presses appear to have stopped rolling. But who knows? Perhaps it could be on sale next week after all, up in space near the Elvis statue, at a news-stand being manned by Lord Lucan.

You couldn't make it up...

World War 2 Bomber Found on Moon, 14 August 1988.

World War 2 Bomber Found on Moon Vanishes, 21 August 1988.

Bus Found Buried At South Pole, 12 February 1989.

Aliens Turned Our Son Into A Fish Finger, 1996.

Donkey Robs Bank, 14 July 1996.

Marilyn Monroe is Alive & Working as a Nanny, 26 January 1998.

Woman Gives Birth To 8lb Duck, 30 June 1990.

Statue of Elvis found on Mars, 1 October 1989.

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 crime series
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
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
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
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
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
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

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