Steve Tongue faces uncertain new season at IoS

Steve Tongue starts his 41st year of football reporting this weekend but does not know whether he will be allowed to finish it.

Steve Tongue: waiting for the big kick-off or the big clear-out?
Steve Tongue: doesn’t know if he is waiting for the big kick-off or the big clear-out

The Independent on Sunday’s football correspondent since 2000 is another from the combined sports desks of the Indy titles and Evening Standard who has been told his job is “at risk” by the paper, which is making savage cuts in every department.

Yesterday, it was reported that all the Independent on Sunday’s arts critics have been given a month’s notice, and their work to be replaced in future by a “digest” of other papers’ reviews. “Not so much the Independent, more the Dependent,” one disgruntled arts writer remarked.

The newspaper’s management has since denied the digest element of the report, which might mean that there are also no plans to use digests of other newspapers’ football reports in the sports pages.

In common with all sports staff, Tongue has been working across all four newspaper titles and websites for the past 18 months, and has also worked on other sports – during the past month, he worked every day through the Wimbledon championships.

As first reported, the job losses on sport are understood to have been taken without reference to the head of sport.

Tongue started his career as the football correspondent of London local talk radio station LBC in 1973,where he worked for 13 years until a brief sojourn at the short-lived Robert Maxwell London Daily News.

He is believed to be on a five-person list of staff ear-marked for redundancy in the amalgamated sports department of The Independent, IoS, i and Evening Standard which includes award-winning chief sports writer James Lawton.


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