Gary Beckwith


The takeover of Newcastle United was obviously massive news for the North East and deserved a front and back page treatment which would reflect its importance and leap off the newsstands.

I decided to adorn the front page in Newcastle United black and white stripes and create a glinting club crest to symbolise the new era for the club with the simple headline of 'SOLD' and a cheeky sub head of 'at last!', referring to the 18 month saga of the sale. For the back page I decided again to go with a simple but striking headline of 'The End' and create an image of former owner Mike Ashley walking towards an exit sign. I included front pages of our coverage reminding the readers of our stoic support for the club and fans. The pages were very well received by the public and were praised on social media with lots of readers posting pictures of the pages framed and hanging on walls, and recently the front page was used in a huge 100ft flag at St James' Park commemorating the takeover.

As part of our Northern Agenda team I was asked to create a front page as part of a joint campaign with northern news titles amid reports the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson was about to scrap most of the eastern leg of the High Speed 2 railway line and dilute plans for a new line between Leeds and Manchester. We decided to go with a design that pays homage to Danny Boyle’s 1996 film Trainspotting. I stuck true to the original film poster layout in terms of style, colours and font, and I tried to match the poses of the ministers to that of the original actors. I had to redesign the shape of the page for several different titles including: The Newcastle Journal, the Teesside Gazette, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Hull Daily Mail and Manchester Evening News, as well as create versions for social media and websites. The page caught national attention, with Financial Times Whitehall editor Sebastian Payne describing the coordinated effort as a “brutal splash”. Channel 4 news also featured the design in their news coverage and the page was widely shared on Twitter by political journalists and politicians. I was given the brief to create a souvenir edition front wrap for our Sunday title to celebrate England's Euro final match with Italy. I decided to go with a classic montage of players in celebratory poses with a golden overlay effect to highlight the hero status of the team. The front and back of the paper was effectively turned into a poster for our readers and was seen in many newsagent shop windows.