Peter Corrigan: Former Observer sports editor who counted Henry Winter and Simon Kelner among his proteges

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Journalists and broadcasters  turned out in force for the funeral of Peter Corrigan, who has  died aged 80.

Corrigan, a former Observer sports editor, is recognised as having been the most revered Welsh sports journalist of the last half-century.

Ken Jones, Mavis Nicholson,  Hugh McIlvanney, Peter Jackson, Donald Trelford, John Mullin, Norman Giller, Phil Shaw, Neil Morton, Stephen Brenkley, Carolyn Hitt, Chris Hewett, Steve Bale, Iain Carter, Stan Hey, Eamonn McCabe,  Jim Mossop, Tony Stenson, Neil McLernan,  John Cobb, Tim Glover, Ewan Murray , Martin Dempster, Peter Higgs and Paul Mahoney were among media people at the funeral in Penarth, South Wales.

There was standing-room only at the 300-seat Church of All Saints. The eulogy was read by Jackson, formerly of the Daily Mail, and a long-time friend and collaborator in Welsh sports circles.

Numerous young writers and production specialists began their press careers on the Observer sportsdesk under Corrigan’s coaching.

Cobb, Simon Kelner and Henry Winter are just a few  of  them.

After starting as a tea boy on the Western Mail in Cardiff, Corrigan became a football writer on the South Wales Echo, Daily Herald, the (pre-Murdoch) Sun, and Daily Mail.

He freelanced for The People and The Guardian. In 1973 he was appointed The Observer’s chief football correspondent, and was later its sport editor for 10 years until 1990. Subsequently he was the Independent on Sunday’s chief sports writer.

Books began in 1970 with Martin Peter’s autobiography “Goals from Nowhere!”, and later included the magisterial “100 Years of Welsh Soccer”, and “Code Breaker” with Jonathan Davies (also among the mourners in Penarth).

Peter Corrigan’s son James is the Daily Telegraph’s golf correspondent and his brother Chris is nowadays a Guardian casual sub-editor.

Carolyn Hitt, in a Walesonline tribute, wrote: “There are those who get to the top of the career ladder and draw it up after them. There are others who reach down and give a helping hand to those clinging nervously to the lower rungs. Peter was definitely in the latter camp.”

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