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Italia 90 'one of best times ever', says vendor Francis


Newspaper seller Francis Mumbley

Newspaper seller Francis Mumbley

Newspaper seller Francis Mumbley

Newspaper seller Francis Mumbley remembers a bonanza in sales during the excitement that accompanied Italia 90.

"The World Cup in Italy was great for selling papers. It was one of the best times ever," said the veteran seller at his kiosk in O'Connell Street in Dublin.

Demand for souvenir issues of the Herald and other papers was very strong during those hectic days of huge support on Ireland's first venture to a World Cup finals 26 years ago.

Francis (66) grew up in Blackhall Place in the city and was a schoolboy when he began selling the Herald and other newspapers for his uncle, well-known vendor Patrick 'Foxy' Padner at the GPO Arcade.

He remembers making deliveries around the city centre, including bringing the evening papers to Radio Eireann at the Henry Street entrance to the GPO building.

"My uncle and my grandfather were in the newspaper-selling business for many years. My uncle would sell the papers at Masses in Church Street and I'd help him sell the papers at the Adelphi Cinema," said the father-of-six.

"Selling newspapers was easier and better in the old days," said Francis, who added that newspaper sales were facing tough challenges from changes caused by the internet.

He indicated it was important that all publishers are mindful to the challenges facing vendors in these more difficult times.


"The big stories have sold a lot of papers down through the years. Tragedies that made the headlines have sold a great many newspapers," he said.

Selling to the passing crowds on O'Connell Street and in the GPO Arcade has had its own challenges. Unfortunately, these have included more than one robbery incident.

He is the third generation of his family to sell the Herald. Vendors have been a key support to the Herald during its 125-year publishing history.

Francis says he is determined to carry on meeting the challenge of rising before dawn to collect the day's newspapers for his customers.

"I'll keep selling," he said, "unless I win the Lotto."