Change of date – Vincent Kompany Tribute night now Sunday January 12

CHANGE OF DATE FOR TRIBUTE NIGHT – NOW JAN 12, 2020

Please note that the FWA Tribute Night for Vincent Kompany has a change of date, brought forward from Jan19 to SUNDAY JANUARY 12. This is because Belgian TV requirements have led to a re-scheduling of Anderlecht’s game on the 19th.

All other details remain exactly the same and those who have booked tickets and tables at our annual Savoy event will be receiving tickets and passes within the next 10 days.

As a matter of urgency, can you please let Paul McCarthy, FWA Executive Secretary, know if you are NOT able to take your allocated table or tickets.

Our sincere apologies for the change but it was completely out of our control.

The FWA’s National Committee chose to honour Kompany not just for his outstanding contribution to English football, having won every domestic trophy (four PL titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups) but also for his charity work, not least via Tackle4MCR, a co-operation with the Mayor of Manchester’s office to tackle homelessness in the city.  He also studied for and gained an MBA when he was in Manchester, and is a FIFA ambassador for the SOS Children charity.

Kompany wlll travel to London on January 12 to collect his award in what is sure to be a star-studded event and memorable night.

You can see a list of previous winners of the FWA Tribute Award here: http://footballwriters.co.uk/previous-tribute/

Ivan Sharpe – the FWA’s Founding Father

 MIKE COLLETT, FWA member and resident historian, has done more than most to revive the name of Ivan Sharpe, one of our founding fathers, back to prominence in the history of the game. Now that the National Football Museum have taken over Ivan’s personal collection of memorabilia from over 60 years as player and journalist, Ivan’s remarkable story and lasting legacy to the beautiful game can be told.  This article by Mike first appeared in BackPass magazine. Our thanks for permission to reprint it: http://www.backpassmagazine.co.uk/

THE LONG journey to restore the name of Ivan Sharpe to its rightful place in the history of English football, after his phenomenal contribution to the game in the first half of the 20th century, started with a fire at the home of the late Ken Montgomery, the former Sunday Mirror journalist.

At the time the avuncular Scot was the executive secretary of the Football Writers’ Association and had the entire history of the FWA – all of it on paper and none of it backed up on a computer – in a suitcase at his house.

Thankfully, Ken survived the blaze, but the FWA’s historical archive, dating back to the organisation’s foundation in 1947, did not. All the minutes of committee meetings, annual general meetings, members records, past chairmen, photographs, Footballer of the Year dinner menu cards, treasures and trivia went up in smoke.

And remarkably, to all intents and purposes, in terms of the FWA and the wider game in general, so did the name of Ivan Sharpe. The former England amateur international and Olympic gold medal winner was one of the most important figures in the English game as an amateur player, later as an influential journalist and also as the first chairman of the FWA. He was the man who presented Stanley Matthews with the first Footballer of the Year Award in 1948.

But we will come to that later.

Today though, his name is back in the limelight. The National Football Museum in Manchester is collating his own personal archive with a view to a future permanent exhibition and new life members of the FWA are now recipients of the Ivan Sharpe Life Membership Award with his name writ large on their handsome commemorative certificates.

The game may have changed considerably since he was playing it 100 years ago and then writing about it for the next 50 years but the standards he set on and off the field, for both players and journalists, are as valid today as they were then. And Sharpe’s past included tangible links to the very beginning of League football in England, as well as a direct connection to one of the game’s greatest-ever managers.

Born in St Albans in 1889, he was the fifth son of a boot-maker. His father, noticing he was a natural right-footed player, made the young Ivan a football attached to a ten-foot cord which he then tied to his left ankle and sent him out to the backyard to kick it back and forth, again and again for hours on end.

As a result, he ended up with a left foot as strong as his right and went on to play for Watford, Glossop North End, Derby County, Leeds City and Leeds United – one of only two players to play for the two Leeds clubs. He also played a combined 12 times for England and Great Britain’s amateur sides between 1910 and 1914 and in 1912 won the Second Division title with Derby and was part of the British team that won the football gold medal at the Stockholm Olympics, scoring once in the 4-0 semi-final win over Finland.

At 18, he was working as an apprentice journalist covering sport for the Herts Advertiser newspaper as well as the St Albans Times and had been playing locally for the juniors of St Albans Abbey when his talent and speed as a winger came to the attention of Southern League Watford and so impressed player-manager John Goodall that in 1907 he signed him.

Goodall was a member of the ‘Proud’ Preston North End Invincibles who won the double in the League’s inaugural season in 1888-89, lifting the title without losing a match and the FA Cup without conceding a goal, so Sharpe’s association with Goodall provides a path straight back to the very beginning of English League history.

His career as a player continued after the First World War with more than 60 appearances for Leeds City (17 goals) and one for Leeds United and it was while at City that he came into contact with a man destined to have a huge impact on the game in the 1920s and 1930s and beyond, manager Herbert Chapman.

As an amateur at Leeds, Sharpe managed his time playing League football on a Saturday and writing for an evening paper during the week and so by the time his playing days ended his credentials for a journalistic career were well established.

He edited the influential Athletic News and later worked for Kemsley Newspapers and the Sunday Chronicle, editing the pocket bible Football Annual for more than 30 years as well as contributing other articles to magazines and newspapers throughout his life.

He was a man of his time and ahead of his time too. He covered the first Wembley FA Cup final between Bolton and West Ham in 1923, interviewed Benito Mussolini – with a photo signed by Italy’s fascist dictator in his archive – and, according to one source, “had an interview with Adolf Hitler lined up but the Fuhrer chickened out.”

Years before UEFA introduced their goal-line assistants, he wrote in the Athletic News in April 1930 that “a goal judge should be stationed at each goal. The goal judge’s duty is to watch all incidents inside the penalty area at his end and to advise the referee concerning all doubts. The referee, as now, to be supreme.”

I’d suggest we can forgive him if he didn’t actually come up with the idea of VAR at that time as well.

He knew everyone in the game from Stanley Rous to Stanley Matthews, from England team-mate Vivian Woodward, another outstanding amateur of the early part of the century, to the legendary great scorer of old Steve Bloomer, a team-mate at Derby.

In 1958, in recognition of his contribution to the game the Football League bestowed a rare honour by presenting him with an inscribed silver salver as a token of their appreciation of his 50 years involvement with the League.

And as a journalist he rarely toed the party line. He often set the agenda. Even towards the end of his career he had his own view of things. For example, when Spurs won the double in 1961 they were widely acclaimed as the ‘Team of the Century’ but Sharpe saw it differently.

In an article for his old friend Charlie Buchan in his Football Monthly in July 1961, he posited that perhaps the Huddersfield Town team that won a hat-trick of titles in the 1920s, or the Arsenal team that achieved the same feat in the 1930s might deserve the honour more. But could there have been a little bias here perhaps? After all, both were managed by his old Leeds City boss, Herbert Chapman!

“The players of the past may not look so good because of their old-fashioned equipment, but would you judge Alex James because of his long pants? These are matters of opinion of course, but age and experience have given me the advantage of having seen these pre-war teams – half a dozen times or more each season.”

One man who has fond memories of Sharpe as both a child and adult is his grandson, the acclaimed Sunday Times journalist and author Anthony Holden, whose middle name is Ivan, as is that of his eldest son Sam.

“Ivan’s wife Ada died in 1941 six years before l was born, so he lived with us in Southport throughout my childhood and I was very close to him indeed,” he recalls. “When l was still a pre-teen kid, he would take me with him to the games he was covering in the north- west. To keep me quiet in the press box, he would give me pencil and paper to keep count of the fouls, corners, bookings etc.

“l loved hearing him make the transfer- charge calls to file his report within minutes of the game ending – and in that pre-stats era, l would see my very own numbers in the next day’s Sunday Times, which I’m sure is why I too eventually became a journalist – which was not at all what my middle-class parents had in mind for me! His colleagues and friends would also feed me sweets to keep me quiet. Many of them were to die in the Manchester United air crash at Munich, which Ivan missed because he had flu.”

Sharpe produced two hugely influential and popular books, the first a fabulous memoir 40 Years in Football published in 1954, followed by Soccer Top Ten in 1962, detailing his ten favourite players in the positions of goalkeeper, full-backs, wing half- backs, centre half-backs, outside-forwards, inside-forwards and centre-forwards. They are a window to another era, another world of football and they still make for wonderful reading today. He also compiled the Football League Jubilee Book to mark the League’s 75th anniversary in 1963 and was the natural choice to oversee that official publication as the leading football journalist of the day.

As the old scribe Walter Pilkington wrote in his review of Soccer Top Ten for the Evening Post in November 1962: “The agile mind behind this well-stocked memory box has produced a fascinating cavalcade of the English scene covering half a century spent in football at home and abroad. You start reading and before you realise it, the time is 1.00am.”

Sharpe’s agile mind was still active at the 1966 World Cup finals, the last major event he attended and his press card for the finals (below) remains in the archive. Tony Holden remembers going with Ivan to Goodison Park to see the momentous Portugal v North Korea quarter-final, which Portugal won 5-3 with four goals from Eusebio after North Korea stunned the world by going 3-0 up after 24 minutes.

Above – Ivan Sharpe’s press card for the 1966 World Cup

“But he never went to the final because he thought he might have ‘a bloody heart attack’,” recalls Holden. “At times he couldn’t bear to watch and left 18-year-old me to keep an eye on developments at Wembley while he paced tensely around the garden.” England’s subsequent victory over West Germany on that historic July afternoon was the first major tournament success for these islands since Sharpe’s own Olympic triumph with Great Britain 54 years previously.

Great Britain team that won the 1912 Olympic football tournament. Back (left to right): Joe Dines, Ron Brebner, Arthur Berry, Harry Walden, Viv Woodward, Gordon Hoare, Ivan Sharpe, Arthur Knight. Front: Douglas McWhirter, Tom Burn, Henry Littlewort . (Backpass)

He continued writing a column for the Wolves magazine until his death at the age of 78 in February 1968. And inevitably, with his voice stilled as the years passed, so Sharpe’s name and achievements slipped further from public view and deeper into the past. His experiences and writings belonged to another era. The devastation of Ken Montgomery’s fire had extinguished his proud record with the FWA and may well have been lost forever until the winter of 2012 when I was invited to attend the annual Rugby Union Writers’ Club dinner in London.

At some point in the evening I glanced at the dinner menu card and noticed not only were the names of the Rugby Writers’ Players of the Year listed, but also those of their chairmen dating back to their foundation in 1960 and a thought popped into my head. The FWA only ever listed the names of the Footballer of the Year at our dinners, but surely we should also recognise the names of the great journalists of the past who have chaired the world’s oldest football writers’ association. As a member of the National Committee, I raised the matter at our next meeting.

“Its an impossible task” said a colleague, “all the records were lost in the fire at Ken Montgomery’s house. They have all disappeared. There is no way of ever finding the names of all the old chairmen, certainly not from the 1940s and 1950s. Where would you even start to look?”

I thanked him for his advice and completely ignored it. The search was on.

The decision to form the FWA was made on a cross-Channel ferry on September 22, 1947 by a group of journalists on their way home from reporting on England’s 5-2 victory over Belgium in Brussels the day before.

Sharpe was not among them, but Charles Buchan of the News Chronicle, Frank Coles of the Daily Telegraph, Roy Peskett of the Daily Mail and Archie Quick agreed to form the FWA and when they reconvened in London a month later, Sharpe, who was working for the Sunday Chronicle, was appointed chairman. That much was well documented and Sharpe duly presented Stanley Matthews with the first

Footballer of the Year trophy the following May at the long-gone Hungaria Restaurant in London on the eve of Blackpool’s FA Cup final defeat to Manchester United the following day.

Having established Sharpe as the first chairman and being able to talk to many colleagues and friends, it was relatively easy to list every chairman from the late 1970s through to the present day.

All that was now left was to fill in the 30 missing years from the late 1940s onwards. But where to start? Unlike today, the chairman of the FWA, while a leading and highly respected journalist, was rarely quoted in the papers, even when the Footballer of the Year was announced.

However, the chairman’s name was always on the menu cards for the FWA dinners, so I searched for old

menu cards on football trivia sites and eBay – and went to the British Library in London to see if perhaps the chairman was quoted at the time the announcement was made. I couldn’t find any. I looked in old yearbooks, looked everywhere, and gradually the gaps started to be filled in … 1948 Ivan Sharpe, 1949 Ivan Sharpe, 1950 Ivan Sharpe, 1951 Ivan Sharpe, 1953 Ivan Sharpe, 1960 Ivan Sharpe, 1961 … yes, Ivan Sharpe.

There were many others too – 1954 Bernard Joy, 1963 Geoffrey Green, 1964 Alan Hoby, 1967 Sam Leitch, 1968 Frank McGhee, 1970 Peter Lorenzo, 1971 Reg Drury, 1974 Mike Langley and on to the already known chairmen like Ken Jones, Jeff Powell, Dennis Signy and Brian Scovell. The list was coming alive!

By the April of 2017 I had found every past chairman’s name except for one year … 1952. Paddy Barclay, who has just stepped down after three years as FWA chairman, mentioned that he knew Sharpe’s grandson, Anthony Holden, and perhaps he could help and after making contact, Tony said he was in possession of all of Sharpe’s memorabilia going back over 100 years. We duly met at Tony’s flat in London and inside an ancient and battered, but handsome, liner-style suitcase containing Sharpe’s remarkable treasure trove was a newspaper cutting with a photo of him presenting the 1952 Footballer of the Year award to Arsenal’s Joe Mercer.

The Eureka moment! The final piece of the jigsaw – found in Sharpe’s very own suitcase and proving that he was chairman of the FWA for the first six years of its existence from 1947 until 1953, before two more stints in 1960 and 1961. He was chairman eight times in all. No one else comes close.

Norman Giller, resident golden oldie columnist for BACKPASS, remembers Sharpe well too. “I was chief football writer on the Daily Express when Ivan was coming to the close of his exceptional career. I used to bow the knee to him and listen in awe to his kaleidoscopic memories. There is no football writer from my generation who was not influenced by Ivan’s prolific chronicling of the Beautiful Game, whether by his prose or maze of facts and stats. He deserves to be in the same hall of fame as his hero Sir Stanley Matthews. Come to think of it, why on earth was he never knighted? His services to football on all fronts was phenomenal.”

In recognition of Sharpe’s outstanding contribution to the FWA and his involvement for the first seven decades of the 20th century, the FWA marked its 70th anniversary in 2017 by inaugurating the Ivan Sharpe Life Membership Award and included the list of all the previous FWA chairman on its menu card at the Footballer of the Year dinner for the first time. And the archive has now been gifted to the National Football Museum.

Tim Desmond, the museum’s chief executive, told BACKPASS Magazine: “The museum is all about exploring the Game of our Lives, and we were delighted to be approached by the FWA to become custodians of the Ivan Sharpe collection. Our aim now is to conserve and research his fascinating life in football for the benefit of future generations.”

Rising like a phoenix from the flames, Ivan Sharpe’s name will never be forgotten again.

 . 

Give Something Back – Dec 14-16

A reminder that this weekend we are hoping to Give Something Back in press boxes throughout the country. The FWA is teaming up with clubs and charities for the homeless and hungry.  Executive Secretary Paul McCarthy explains below:

“Dear Member,

“Those of you who cover Premier League football will have benefitted hugely from the generosity of the pre-match food and drink on offer. As a way of saying a small ‘thank you’ and especially in the build-up to Christmas, the FWA are attempting to put a little back.

“For the matches on December 14, 15 and 16, we will put collection boxes in all Premier League press rooms as part of our ‘Give Something Back’ initiative. All we’re asking members (and other journalists who are not FWA affiliated) is to donate at least £5 to go towards charities supporting food banks and homeless shelters.

“Once all the proceeds have been collected, we will distribute the amount evenly amongst the 20 clubs with the stipulation that amount is donated towards the most applicable food bank or homeless charity within their community.

“This effort has the support of the Premier League who have generously agreed to match whatever sum is raised and I hope that you would be able to give it your fullest support. Please dig deep and help out those less fortunate than ourselves at this time of year.”

 

Paul McCarthy

Executive Secretary

Klopp and Guardiola in sparkling form at FWA awards

PEP GUARDIOLA AND JURGEN KLOPP were in sparkling form at the Football Writers’ Association Northern Managers awards night, in Manchester on Sunday November 24.

Klopp was honoured for leading Liverpool to victory over Tottenham in the Champions League final on June 1, and he attended the dinner with the trophy standing proudly by the top table.

Guardiola was honoured for leading Manchester City to a domestic treble of Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup. All three trophies were on display at the Radisson Hotel, along with the FA Womens Cup and Continental Trophy, won by Manchester City Women. Their manager Nick Cushing, was also honoured with an award at the event.

Other managers to be honoured included Chris Wilder for leading Sheffield United to promotion from the Championship, Daniel Stendel of Barnsley, Ryan Lowe of Bury, Tranmere’s Micky Mellon, Graham Alexander of Salford City, AFC Fylde’s Dave Challinor and Barry Lewtas from Liverpool Under 18s.

Klopp and Guardiola both gave charming and witty speeches, admitting to being envious of each other’s trophies and stating their ambitions to win more.

Ian Dennis, a recent recruit to the FWA, was master of ceremonies for the evening, and a substantial sum was raised for the nominated charity of the FWA’s Northern Branch,the Forget Me Not children’s hospice in Huddersfield.

The event was attended by FWA Chair Carrie Brown, Executive Secretary Paul McCarthy and several members of the national committee. Our thanks to the organisers Richard Bott, Steve Bates, Paul Hetherington and Andy Dunn, as well as the staff of the Radisson and our generous sponsors William Hill.

You can see a video from the evening here: https://youtu.be/2O1u2QYSlos

Memories of Vikki Orvice

A star-studded gathering of the good and the great from sport and the media gathered at Lord’s on November 13 to honour the legacy of Vikki Orvice and raise a six figure sum for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Over £103,000 was raised among an audience of 400 people who turned up to pay tribute to Vikki, who passed away last February. It was an emotional and moving evening, with tears and laughter in equal measure, superbly hosted by Jacqui Oatley, Vikki’s friend and FWA committee member.

Ian Ridley, Vikki’s husband gave a moving speech and said how much she would have loved to see so many familiar faces, which included Brendan Foster, Paula Radcliffe, Tony Adams, Greg Rutherford and Monty Panesar, to name just a few of the sports stars who attended. One special guest was Tony Currie, Vikki’s favourite footballer, on a table hosted by her beloved Sheffield United.

The gospel choir who sang superbly at Vikki’s funeral reprised their moving and inspiring performance on the night, which was organised by FWA Chair Carrie Brown, Jacqui and Philippe Auclair, along with Jo Tongue and Ian, along with representatives from the Royal Marsden.

The Sun, who made Vikki the first female staff football writer on a tabloid, sponsored the evening, which concluded with a Q and A session with a selection of Vikki’s colleagues from the world of sport and journalism.

Later Ian announced: “A massive £103,000 raised for  @royalmarsden. Thank you to the 400 who attended and all who donated and bought those amazing auction lots and raffle tickets.”

Donations can still be made here: https://www.royalmarsden.org/

Rodrigo Lara of Hayters made a short film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2TbZrkV-fM

And thanks to Scott Tweed for pics: https://t.co/V5DVf3aUUO?amp=1

Vikki Orvice fundraising dinner

A gift to you from our birthday girl.

The FWA’s first female vice-chair, Vikki Orvice, should have celebrated her 57th birthday on Friday. 


Sadly we can’t mark the occasion with Vikki this year as she passed away in February. Instead we will celebrate her life with a fundraising dinner on Wednesday (13th) for the The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Ahead of the fundraiser, a number of generous donations from the world of sport, entertainment, literature, fine dining and fashion have been placed in a live online auction. 

Vikki’s husband Ian Ridley and the organising committee, featuring our chair Carrie Brown, National Committee members Jacqui Oatley, Philippe Auclair and Jo Tongue, have been inundated with offers of once-in-a-lifetime and money-can’t-buy experiences from celebrated names.

They can be found at:

https://givergy.uk/anightofcelebration/?controller=home

We would like to thank those in the football family who have donated so generously, including Sky Sports, Chelsea, Arsenal, Watford, Tony Currie and Sheffield United, Gary Lineker with BBC Match of the Day, Tony Adams, the Football Association, the Premier League, ITV Sport, BBC Radio Four, The Sun, The Sunday Times, Richard Pelham and, of course, The FWA. You have wowed with your kindness and creativity. 

For our Strava fanatics, there are places on offer in the Virgin Money London Marathon, four tickets to the opening night of Six Day cycling series at the Olympic Velodrome – where you will enjoy top seats in the middle of the track itself  – and VIP tickets to the 2020 Muller Anniversary Games.

The entertainment industry has followed suit with Hat Trick Productions providing just one of the many treats up for offer. Politics may have descended into satire but one lucky bidder will be able to seek refuge safe in the bosom of the Have I Got News For You green room. Theatre lovers can bid to attend a Bill Kenwright show. 

Avid sports memorabilia collectors can bid for a signed shirt from this summer’s cricket hero Ben Stokes , intimidate with a boxing glove signed by one of the sport’s greatest – Anthony Joshua or claim a prized signed shirt from the Premier League’s finest. 

Do dive in and have a look. We won’t give away all the treasures on offer. There is truly something for everyone and we are beyond grateful for the generosity and support afforded to the evening. 

Happy bidding. 

FWA Live North East Special – POSTPONED

FWA Live North East Special – POSTPONED until 2020

The FWA are sorry to announce that we have had to postpone the FWA Live North East Special in Durham, which was planned for this Thursday November 21, owing to circumstances beyond our control.

Instead the event, which will feature representatives from Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United has been put back until after Christmas.

Those attendees who have bought their tickets via Eventbrite should get a full refund in due course.

Ken Jones remembered – by Norman Giller

KEN JONES, FORMER FWA CHAIRMAN, was laid to rest on October 22.  His friend Norman Giller reports:

“Ken Jones – the late, great Welsh sports bard Ken Jones – will not mind me telling this story about his funeral on October 22.  I promise it will lift your spirits.

Thanks to the meticulous planning of his daughter Lesley-Ann (an exceptional writer in her own right), we gave Ken a rousing Welsh send-off; Abide with me, of course Cwm Rhondda, a reading of Dylan Thomas’s Villanelle recorded by Richard Burton, and a suitably moving-mixed-with-Cockney-humour eulogy by doyen of boxing writers, Colin Hart. True, proud Welshman Ken certainly did not “go gentle into that good night.”

The final fond farewell was staged in front of a standing-room-only congregation of family, friends, gnarled old Fleet Street colleagues and – in particular for this story – two once-idolised international footballers who had been rivals on the football fields of the 50s and 60s … Ken’s flying winger cousin Cliff and 1966 World Cup hero George Cohen.

As the adorable Kathy Jones, Ken’s wife for the little matter of 64 years, led their small army of children and grandchildren out of the Chapel at Beckenham Crematorium, the focus of our attention – Ken – was still lying in his coffin. Kathy decided she did not want to see that chilling moment when the curtains close.

I found myself standing alongside the departed sportswriting master, reminiscing with Cliff and George, of whom both Ken and I had written about many times in the previous century when they were opposing each other for Tottenham and Fulham and England and Wales.

“I gave him a few kickings in our day,” George said with an old rascal’s smile as he leant on his zimmer frame that he uses like a chariot of fire.

“Come off it,” I said. “He was like greased lighting. You got nowhere near him.”

“Oh no,” said honest Cliff, “George was one of the few full-backs who was as quick as me. It was always a sprinting match when we payed against each other.”

Cliff, at 84, is still built like a Welsh whippet. “You look as if you could play for Spurs tomorrow,” I said.

“Yes,” agreed George, “I hope I am as fit as he is when I reach his age. I’m eighty today.”

This took a while to sink in. George Cohen. “Eighty today.” Arguably England’s greatest ever right back, and a true miracle man who has been fighting cancer since he was in his 30s. Eighty today.

He and Cliff – old rivals, old friends – hugged each other. Two champions of the football field united in octogenarianism.    

Instinctively, with Ken in his coffin behind me, I said aloud like a ring announcer to the hundred or so mourners who had not yet left the chapel: “Excuse me, friends, I know Ken will not mind me telling you this, but this man here – the great George Cohen – is eighty years old today. Eighty!”

Everybody loudly applauded in what was a surreal moment. And I swear I could hear Ken joining in the applause.

I later got a telling off from the lovely Lesley-Ann … not, I’m happy to say, for my appalling etiquette but for not calling the family back in so that they could have sung ‘happy birthday’ to George,

“My Dad would have loved that,” she said. “It’s just the sort of thing he would have done.”

I know, Lesley. Like Colin Hart, I travelled the world with him and he better than anybody knew a good story that needed telling.

This was too good a story not to tell. George Cohen eighty, and Cliff and Ken Jones there to share the joy.

Rest easy, old friend. And happy birthday, George.”

By Norman Giller

Vikki Orvice celebration night at Lord’s

Just a reminder that there are still a few tickets remaining for the gala night at Lord’s on November 13 to celebrate the life of our dear departed colleague Vikki Orvice.

Vikki sadly died of cancer in February after several years of treatment. We plan to spend the evening remembering the highlights of Vikki’s working life as a trailblazing sports journalist, while raising vital funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, via auction and raffle. Many fantastic prizes have already been pledged, and there will be spectacular live music and entertainment, as well as superb food and drinks.
Vikki was the first female vice-chair of the FWA and a significant influence on our organisation over many years. She was a driving force for the changing face of the association in terms of inclusivity and we owe much to her pioneering spirit. This is your chance to pay your respects to Vikki while enjoying an evening of laughter and entertainment amongst colleagues and sportspeople.
Please click on the link below to buy your tickets for a three course meal with wine. You have the option to buy tickets on an individual basis or a table of 10. Sponsorship and corporate packages are also on sale directly via the link.
Every penny raised will support The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. 
For any queries, please contact the Royal Marsden’s special events manager, Emma Payne, on Emma.Payne@rmh.nhs.uk or 020 7811 8021.  We very much hope to see you at Lord’s on November 13th.

FWA Vanarama Golf Day winners

Kate Mason, one of the FWA’s newest members, was the proud winner of the Joe Melling Trophy at our annual golf day, sponsored by Vanarama, at Stoke Park on October 7th.

Kate, who left BeIn Sports to join Sky Sports News earlier this year, is relatively new to golf and was the only female player in this year’s event.

Playing in the Hayters team alongside Gerry Cox, Les Ferdinand and Jamie Weir, Kate scored 32 Stableford points, the highest individual score by an FWA member, edging Neil Silver into second place.

There was also debut success for Mike Keegan of the Mail, whose fourball won the team prize. Mike was also playing in the event for the first time, with former Barnsley chairman John Dennis, as well as Andrew Lane and Niall Ashworth from Vpar, who provided the live scoring system.

The individual non-FWA member’s prize went to Stephen Hunt, the former Reading and Republic of Ireland midfielder, who scored a superb 42 points from three-quarters handicap.

Other names from the world of football included former England internationals Steve Coppell, Kevin Phillips and Andy Sinton, ex-Scotland players Bryan Gunn and John Duncan, Matt Jansen, Wally Downes, Paul Clement, Lee Cook and Michael Gray.

The day was generously sponsored once again by Vanarama, whose team was led by marketing director Gary Lemon, and there was a presentation from Jake Martens of Prostate Cancer UK, as we remembered our great friend Ralph Ellis, who enjoyed and organised the event for so many years before he passed away last year.

Steve Bates and Gerry Cox of the FWA National Committee have taken over organisational duties. A substantial sum was also raised for Prostate Cancer UK, and further online donations can be made here: http://bit.ly/2kysOnP

For more about Vanarama visit: https://www.vanarama.com/

For more on VPAR visit: http://vpar.com/

Rodrigo Lara of Hayters TV put together a video of the event: https://youtu.be/z4ZQpdEz07k 

Jamie Weir, Kate Mason, Les Ferdinand and Gerry Cox of Team Hayters