The Daily Star's Brian Woolnough: 'A brilliant sports writer, a huge character'

The Daily Star’s chief sports writer and popular broadcaster Brian Woolnough has died.

The 63-year-old, who died from bowel cancer after a long illness, was a well-known face on television, hosting Sky Sports' Sunday Supplement from 2007 after previously being the presenter of Hold the Back Page from 1994.

Woolnough began his career on The Esher News in Surrey, moved to the Evening Post in Hemel Hempstead before joining The Sun, where he worked for 27 years, ending up as chief football writer. He moved to the Daily Star in 2001.

Woolnough leaves a wife, Linda, and three children.

Daily Star editor Dawn Neesom said: "Brian will be missed by everyone at the Daily Star. He was a brilliant sports writer, a huge character and above all a really nice bloke.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Linda, and family."

Daily Star sports editor Howard Wheatcroft said: "Brian was the doyen of his generation of sports journalists, and had been the senior figure in football journalism for a long, long time.

"To my mind he also paved the way for journalists being called upon as pundits.

"When the era of rolling sports news began, such was his standing that he was in demand from virtually day one – and up until the end he was still the best of the lot.

"He was a big man in many ways, but he was never arrogant and had an incredible appetite for hard work."

It is only three months since the death of the Daily Star's chief football writer Danny Fullbrook at the age of 40, also from cancer.

The Daily Star’s David Woods wrote:  “He did not go to college or university, having left school at 16. But Brian had raw talent and knew throughout his glittering career what made a story.  

"Even when he was very ill he watched an England against South Africa cricket match as if he was going to write about it.

"He was as passionate about sport in his 60s as he was as a rookie reporter aged 16. And Brian never shied away from asking the toughest questions, being both feared and admired by football’s elite.”

Today figures from the world of sport paid tribute to Woolnough on Twitter (#ripwooly).

The Daily Mirror's chief sports writer, Oliver Holt said he was the “best football news reporter of his generation” and recalled this anecdote.

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