When the Scottish Football Writers’
Association was formed in 1957, there was never a doubt about the post of president.
Jimmy Stevenson, who has died at the age of 91, was the unanimous choice. He was the gentleman of the press.
At that time, Jimmy was chief sportswriter of the Daily Mirror in Scotland.
Over the years, he was to prove an inspiration and example to the many and varied young journalists seeking a future in sport.
He took his role as president seriously, his advice being delivered with a quirky smile and slightly raised eyebrows. He was very much a father figure and he remained so throughout his career.
Raised in Dennistoun, in the east end of Glasgow, Jimmy left Whitehill Senior Secondary School at the age of 14 in 1928 to be a copy boy in the Evening News office in Glasgow. It proved to be the start of an impressive career.
Throughout his life, he worked in various newspapers in London, Manchester and, of course, Glasgow, and never really retired.
Until his death he was still contributing his expertise to the Racing Post.
In 1963, Jimmy was seconded by the Mirror to become northern sports editor of the Daily Herald in Manchester, just prior to its relaunch as The Sun.
Six years later, he rejoined the Daily Mirror in London, moving from Cheshire to Twickenham.
It was then that he was asked to take control of a new venture in newspapers, a racing club. It proved a circulation success.
Nobody took the news seriously when it was announced he was retiring in 1974.
Jimmy was then president of the now acclaimed Punters’ Club. A year later, he joined the Sporting Life as a panellist of their Green Shield service, which gave official decisions on betting disputes.
His book, A Fair Deal in Betting, became a blueprint for rules in betting in the UK.
After service with the 15th Scottish Signals during the Second World War, Jimmy, a former member of Shettleston Harriers’ athletics club, worked as a freelance reporter, covering both athletics and football for the News of the World, The People, Daily Herald and Reynolds News.
In 1950 he accepted a staff job with the Daily Herald.
Generations of athletes, football players, racing aficionados, sporting legislators and, indeed, politicians found in James Logan Stevenson a man whom they could trust in the turbulent seas of journalism.
His sense of humour made it easy for him to handle the generations.
He was a walking reference book, always available.
Married to his childhood sweetheart, Betty, for 60 years, Jimmy Stevenson is survived by his daughter, Maureen, and his grandchildren, Stephanie and Alan.