Back Issues 22.01.04

A SAD DAY IN BELFAST

Belfast Telegraph editor Eugene Wason had just retired after five years. He said during that period, 643 people had died violent deaths in Northern Ireland and 204 British soldiers had been murdered. Wason said his office windows had been shattered a dozen times and 60 of the paper’s vans had been hijacked. Wason recalled how he had splashed a story on a Catholic couple who had mistakenly spent all their savings on a house in a Protestant street. They were forced out of the property by intimidation and left Northern Ireland. “It was one of the saddest stories I remember,” said Wason. “A few days later there were 50 or so women outside our back door carrying placards saying “Papist Belfast Telegraph”.

COULD THIS ‘BEE’ A RECORD?

George Sands, Middlesex Chronicle’s sports editor, was claiming a record after covering 1,000 Brentford Football Club matches in succession. Sands, 72, had been a supporter of the Bees since before the First World War. But for a spell in hospital over Christmas in 1953, Sands would have reported 1,400 games without a break.

FRENCH FIELD

The Daily Telegraph’s Paris correspondent, Michael Field, was the only reporter at a secret press conference in Bordeaux held by four hooded Basques, who described how they had assassinated the Spanish Premier, Admiral Carrero Blanco. Field, who had covered 13 military coups in 25 years, was taken to the conference by car from a rendezvous in Bordeaux and told not to reveal details of the meeting place. Three months earlier the Telegraph reporter was one of the first reporters in Santiago to cover the coup against Chilean president Salvador Allende.

NO FOOTBALL ON THE SABBATH

The NUJ was worried about plans to introduce professional football matches on Sundays, fearing it would cost journalists’ jobs on newspapers and cause a massive fall in the sales of Sunday titles. Union member Stanley Solomans, of the West Riding News Service, had called on the union to mount a campaign against the move to “avoid the threat to the livelihood of staff journalists as well as freelances.”

PRESS AND HARRIS UNITED

Given the tense relations between the press and most football managers, could this happen today? The front page of Press Gazette showed sports writers and photographers biding a fond farewell and a big “thank-you” to retiring Sheffield United manager John Harris. In the picture are, from left, Tony Pritchett, Sheffield Star; Mike Morgan, Daily Express; Jonathan Lang and Benny Hill, Sheffield Morning Telegraph; Tom Holley, Sunday People; Ken Furphy, Sheffield United’s new manager; John Sadler, The Sun; and Peter Cooper, Daily Mirror. Making the presentation of a water colour to Harris is the Daily Mail’s Bill Mallinson.

MAN U LEGENDS: BOBBY AND EIRC

Press Gazette had another example of friendly relations between the press and football. England star Bobby Charlton, then manager of Preston North End, was pictured – pint in hand – at the farewell do for Daily Express, Manchester, sports editor Eric Cooper. Also at the bash was Manchester United’s legendary manager, Sir Matt Busby.

A NOSE FOR NEWS

Gareth Hughes, a district man with the Daily Post and Liverpool Echo sported this unique sweater spelling out his nickname –
“Hughes the News”. Hughes, whose sweater was knitted by a friend, said: “I only wear it when I am in a flamboyant mood. But so far I’ve picked up three stories from people realising from the sweater that I am a reporter.”

 

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