Former England football team manager Graham Taylor has said the Daily Express’ sports coverage will "be impossible to maintain" if the newspaper pushes through with job cuts at its sports desk.
Taylor, backed by former-England captain David Platt, criticised Richard Desmond, the owner of Express Newspaper over his plans to cut the Daily Express sports reporting staff - reducing its nine reporters to six.
Desmond, who is under pressure from the NUJ to sell his four UK newspaper titles, is engaging in a reported £14m-a-year savings plan which has already meant that 150 journalists have taken voluntary redundancy since October 2014.
Graham Taylor said: “As a former contributor to the Daily Express sports football section and a buyer of the newspaper, which shows I do not hold grudges, I am showing my concern at the consistent dismissals of sports journalists.
“I do hope very careful thought, other than just saving money, is put into the decision of dismissing any number of sports journalists as, for me the present sports coverage in the Daily Express is as good, if not better, than any other comparable newspaper. That is why I buy it.”
Taylor concluded: "If these dismissals take place the quality of the sports coverage will be impossible to maintain."
David Platt added: "The Daily Express, in my view as a reader, cannot afford to see a reduction in its sport staff. The current standard of the Express sports coverage cannot be maintained with those losses and can only lead to, in my view, a loss in readership."
The Daily Express sports reporters will hear the outcome of the redundancies today [16 January].