Paul O'Brien, Sports writer for the Liverpool Echo

Former Liverpool Echo sports writer Paul O’Brien has died aged 71.

who retired in January 1998 after 49 years, will be especially
remembered for his stories on schoolboy football and athletics.

his coverage of the junior football scene, Paul wrote many stories on
youngsters who went on to achieve fame at Everton or Liverpool,
including Joe Royle, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman.

Anfield hero Fowler led the tributes to him, saying: “He was a lovely
man and made an outstanding contribution to youth sport. I am very
sorry to hear the sad news and send my condolences to his family.”

was held in such high esteem that he was honoured with life membership
of both the Merseyside County and Liverpool Schools’ football

Ken Davies, secretary of the Merseyside
organisation, said: “I had known Paul since 1970. He was made a life
member in 1999, and that in itself underlined the esteem in which he
was held.

“He was a terrific suppporter of schools’ football and
was always supportive in his columns, which we looked forward to
reading in both the Liverpool Echo and Football Echo.

“He was a gentleman and a close friend of many people and our sympathy goes out to his family.”

Fry, life member secretary of the Liverpool Schools’ FA, said: “He was
a great friend of our association over many years and became more than
just a reporter.

He was a great bloke.”

In his early years,
Paul was a fine athlete. He maintained his love for the sport when he
became the Echo’s athletics correspondent.

Ernie Gallagher,
secretary of Liverpool Harriers, said: “We always thought of him as Mr
Echo and he attended our meetings and he was very fair when he reported
our events. He had a lot of respect and he helped to promote athletics
on Merseyside. He will be missed.”

O’Brien is survived by his daughter, Sandra, and son Philip.

His funeral was on 7 January.

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