North East Legends to be honoured on Oct 10


BRYAN ROBSON and Peter Reid, two of England’s finest midfielders and later successful managers in the North East, will be presented with a Legend Awards by the North East Football Writers’ Association on October 10th at the Ramside Hall in Durham.

The inaugural award is in recognition of the contribution the two men made as managers in North East football, as they helped to put Middlesbrough and Sunderland on the football map in the formative years of the Premier League.

Two of their most famous former players from Sunderland and Middlesbrough, Kevin Phillips and Nigel Pearson, will also join in on the tribute night taking part in a Q&A session on stage with Simon Crabtree, one of the region’s most popular broadcasters

After his record-breaking playing career with WBA, Manchester United and England, Robson went on to become player-manager of Boro. He later signed Phillips when he was manager of West Brom, his first club.

Phillips made his name at Sunderland when he was signed by Reid, the former Bolton and Everton midfielder, in 1997, scoring 130 goals in 235 games.

Pearson was Robbo’s captain at Middlesbrough after joining the club when they were still at Ayresome Park, and captained Boro to two promotions to the Premier League and in their first FA Cup Final and League Cup Final appearances at Wembley before his retirement in 1998. He later went on to success as manager of Leicester City.

Tickets are £45 for the R&R Reid and Robson North East Legends Award Night at the Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa on Thursday October 10 and £400 for a table of ten.

Contact Claire Stephen on 0191 375 3080 or

Also, Colin Young, NEFWA secretary via

The event is supported by William Hill, title sponsors of the FWA.

Vikki Orvice Celebration – Nov 13 at Lord’s

We are pleased to announce a special evening to celebrate the life of our dear friend and FWA vice chair Vikki Orvice, and would like to invite you to buy tickets for this star-studded event, on Wednesday November 13th 2019 at Lord’s Cricket Ground in the Nursery Pavilion. 
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. 
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 spiritThis 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.
Join us to celebrate the life of our beloved Vikki Orvice, a founding member of Women in Football, Sun sportswriter and vice-chair of the Football Writers’ Association. Vikki was a trailblazer for female journalists and a great friend to all who knew her. 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 or 020 7811 8021.
We very much hope to see you at Lord’s on November 13th.

FWA Vanarama Golf Day – Oct 7th

FWA and Vanarama team up again for annual Golf Day at Stoke Park, October 7

We are delighted to announce that Vanarama, the vehicle leasing company, are continuing their sponsorship of the FWA Golf Day, which will again be held this year at the magnificent Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire on Monday October 7th.
The day will follow the same format as previous years, with bacon butties and coffee on arrival from 8.30am, and tee-times on the first and tenth from until 11.30. The format again is stableford fourballs off ¾ handicap, with the best two scores on each hole counting for the team prize. There is also an individual competition for FWA members only, who will compete for the Joe Melling trophy, in honour of our former Chairman.  There will be a prize-giving dinner starting at around 4.30pm.
Places are limited, so if you wish either to enter a team, bring a guest or play as an individual please e-mail  to register your interest. Please include details of handicaps for you and guests, and any special dietary requirements.

Once again we will be supporting Prostate Cancer UK in honour of our former colleague and friend Ralph Ellis, who organised the Golf Day until his untimely passing last year.

Ralph will be in our thoughts as we enjoy one of the best days in the FWA’s social calendar.



PEP GUARDIOLA and JURGEN KLOPP will be the star names at the FWA’s 39th Northern Managers Awards dinner, on Sunday November 24th in Manchester.

Guardiola led Manchester City to an unprecedented treble last season, retaining their Premier League title and adding the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

Klopp took Liverpool one better than last season, beating Spurs to win the Champions League and challenging City all the way in the league.

Chris Wilder is among a host of other successful managers honoured for winning promotion with Sheffield United.

The full list of winners is:

JURGEN KLOPP (Liverpool)

PEP GUARDIOLA (Manchester City)

CHRIS WILDER (Sheffield United)



MICKY MELLON (Tranmere Rovers)



BARRY LEWTAS (Liverpool Under 18’s)

NICK CUSHING (Manchester City Women).

Each of our winners will be presented with an inscribed crystal glass award and the function will be compered by BBC Radio presenter Ian Dennis. The evening will be enhanced by the traditional video tribute to the successful managers and the annual quiz. Details of the menu, vegetarian options and the wine list will be published at a later date.

Tickets can be ordered from the secretary Richard Bott ( at the same price as last year: £70 FWA members, £75 Non-members or guests. Book now: Tables of 10/11, smaller groups or individuals. Reception: 6.45 for 7.30pm. Dress code: Lounge Suits

Venue is the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester (formerly the FreeTrade Hall) and room rate for our members and guests is £130 inc Breakfast & VAT (for a single room) or £148 inc Breakfast & VAT (for twin or double) Rate available for a limited time only.

Ring 0161 835 9929, Press Option 1 for Reservations and quote 1124FOOT

You can see highlights of last year’s events here:

Steve Curry remembered – by Rob Shepherd

Steve Curry could have been a Shakespearian actor.

He often recited soliloquies and speeches from Henry V to Macbeth – via Coronation Street – word perfect and with a pitch that would have satisfied Richard Burton, from erudite lips poised above a Kirk Douglas chin.

There was a bit of Falstaff about Steve although his joie de vivre and self effacing humour sometimes resembled a lovable pantomime dame.

Growing up in Clitheroe, Lancashire the son of a school master, the world revolved around the working man’s theatre – football.

Steve was good at it. He made it to Bolton reserves but a broken leg brought that career path to an end. As it turned out, the initial pain, opened a colourful highway to the printed heights of what was then known as The People’s Game.

The pen rather than muddy boots became Steve’s sword.

Treading the boards he rose through the old school ranks of local papers, made it to the sports desk of the Daily Express’s then thriving Manchester office, then on to Fleet Street where the shackles of being a sub-editor were fully taken off and Steve was able display his considerable all round skills as a chief football writer and reporter, most notably for the Express, over three decades, in the days when it was the ‘go-to’ paper for sport.

Steve was also proud of his ‘elder statesman’ stints with the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times and Daily Mail.

He was also became a highly opinionated and recognisable pundit on Sky and Talksport. No wonder. Steve was one of the best in the business.

His long time pal and colleague James Mossop painted the whole picture of Steve’s career and persona in suitable style on the FWA website.

It was football writers like Jim, Steve, Jeff Powell and Alex Montgomery who inspired me to have a shot at being a soccer scribe. Over the years Steve and I became particularly close despite the twenty-year age gap. He was like a favourite, sometimes fussy, uncle to me.

There are so many stories about Steve on and off the pitch. It’s fair to say Steve was what is now termed ‘old school’. Worked hard , played hard.

After copy had been filed Steve was a wonderfully convivial social animal. A favoured phrase of Steve’s at to waiters at dinner tables around the world, after the job had been done, was: “Pour till you get tired.”

Steve had a nose for the game as well as the vino. Aside from his considerable football writing skills, knowledge and thespian attributes Steve could also sing well, especially on the back of a bus transporting the troops from stadium to airport in the early hours after England and club games in far flung places.

He could do a decent Elvis or Sinatra but his real forte was Dean Martin’s “Little Old Wine Drinker Me.”

He was a fine wordsmith, top notch reporter but as a consequence of his gregarious character he was a great contacts man when contacts rather than computers were regarded as a prime tools of the trade for pressman. A mighty Colossus.

Steve knew the great, the good and even the bad and the ugly. If they weren’t around a dinner table or a bar, where Steve was a terrific story tell and raconteur – a Bard of Banter if you like – they were only a telephone call away.

If one vignette sums Steve up then it was during the 1990 World Cup. The day after England had drawn 0-0 with Holland – a game that changed not only the direction of Italia 90 for England but the future of English football – Bobby Robson, a firm friend of Steve’s, had the given the players a day off.

Some had joined Doug Ellis and Tranmere owner Peter Johnson for a party on a yacht which was anchored just off the Forte Village in Sardinia, where most of the English press corps were camped.

Those were the days when the press had better accommodation than the players. Another section of the squad decided to enjoy the facilities of the Forte Village.

I was walking from my bungalow on the way to the beach having filed several follow-ups when I stumbled upon a small group huddled in one of the snug bars.

Sitting there knocking back a few beers were the injured Bryan Robson, Terry Butcher, Chris Waddle and Steve Curry, alongside his main running mate at the time, Colin Gibson of the The Telegraph.

Steve summoned me to join them. Talk about being in the company of giants. But of course it was Steve who was holding court despite the fact the Gang of Three were explaining, with the use of beer mats and pepper pots, how they had persuaded Bobby Robson to change tactics and adopt a sweeper system in order the get the best out of Paul Gascoigne, who eventually joined us, dripping wet having swum to shore from the boat party.

It was all off the record of course, especially after Gazza seconded a bike then went missing for a few hours (now that’s another story). But the players were happy for that story to be run as long as they were not quoted and it was portrayed more as a revolution rather than a revolt. And we kept quiet about Gazza.

It made a back page exclusive splash the next day for those of us in the circle. It’s how it worked back then and Steve, along with certain other doyens of that era, had long been a master of that form of journalism.

Shortly after Steve’s beloved son Mike, who became a TV producer for Sky Sports, rang me on Tuesday to tell me of Steve’s sudden death I rang Robbo, once the tears had subsided.

Now while Steve was weaned on The Busby Babes and often cited Duncan Edwards as his hero, along with Tom Finney – he adored Bryan Robson aka Captain Marvel.

Bryan was genuinely shocked and saddened. “Steve was one of the great troupers. Aye, there were ups and downs between us players and the press boys back in those days but with Steve, along with some others, we knew he was passionate, genuine and honest. There was respect. So sorry to hear. I’ll ring and tell gaffer,” said Robbo.

The gaffer, of course, being Sir Alex Ferguson.

Fergie told me,” was one of Steve’s many memorable phrases, up there with “Now let me tell you,” or “By the Way.”

Steve had a great working relationship with Sir Alex, as he did with so many  players and managers down the years – Moore, Best, Law, Ramsey, Robson (both Bryan and Bobby) all the way through to Lineker and Beckham.

Peter Reid was another. After speaking to Robbo I rang Reidy. “Gutted to hear that, pal. I’ve known Steve since I was a baby. Aye, he never tired of telling me of his Bolton days as a player. He was one of the good guys. Great lad,” said Peter.

Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp expressed similar sentiments.

Last Sunday (August 11) Steve watched his beloved Manchester United beat Chelsea 4-0 on the opening day of this new season at his local cricket club in Weybridge.

There was, of course, Chardonnay on hand and an audience eager to hear Steve’s opinions and anecdotes.

A few hours later Steve suffered a massive neurological trauma and after being rushed to hospital soon passed away peacefully. In a sense this lovely, generous man, who was so proud of his roots, not ashamed to admit he went to school in clogs, died with his boots on.

For so many in and around the football and media world he will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

It was Ken Bates who perhaps summed it up best when I broke the news to him while he was having dinner in Monaco with his wife Susannah – both great friends of Steves and his wife Carol. Ken said: “ So sad, upset, but I’ll tell you this; the world was a better place for Steve moving through it.”

See you at The Far Post pal.

Love Shep.

Steve Curry – by Neil Harman

A tribute to Steve Curry by Neil Harman, who was his competitor, colleague and close friend for more than 30 years.


My father was a broadsheet Daily Express man through and through. He never bought any other newspaper. When I was an upstart kid reporter on the Southend Evening Echo in the 1970s, the Daily Mail’s stringer Alf Smirk, used to tell me I’d write for the paper one day. Dad told me I should aspire to write for the Express.

In 1981, my life totally changed. I was despatched to Manchester as a fledging football reporter on the Mail in their northern office. I lived and breathed football in that neck of the woods, United under Ron Atkinson, City under John Bond and Billy McNeill, Blackburn, Bolton, Bury, Burnley, Stockport, Crewe, these were ‘my’ teams.

The chief writer in the north for the Express was the wonderful Derek Potter. We had terrific writers as well, Peter Johnson, Derick Allsop, Colin Wood, Bill Mallinson, Doug Weatherall. The Express was unbelievable. It had to be read. They had Alan Thompson and Peter Thomas, the voices of the north. Their top man in London was a fellow called Curry. But we had Jeff Powell. Quite a battle ensued.

In 1990, much to my astonishment, I was appointed the Mail’s chief football writer, succeeding Jeff. The main opposition would be Curry of the Express, a man who had consummate contacts, a lifelong devotion to his sport, knew everyone, and would quite possibly write me into oblivion very quickly.

We were 15 years apart in years and eons in experience. Not only was Steve the kingpin at the Express, the Mirror had Harry Harris, the Sun Alex Montgomery, the Guardian David Lacey, the Telegraph Colin Gibson, Today Rob Shepherd and the Times Stuart Jones. The Star’s Tony Quested was an unknown force but here I was, a Mail tennis correspondent about to be tossed to the sharks.

Graham Taylor had become the England manager post 1990 World Cup and I sensed a chance, because through the matches Lincoln had played against Southend in the olden Fourth Division days and, I suspect, because he was new to international football and so was I, we struck a bit of an accord. But still, it was going to be an uphill struggle.

Whether Steve took pity on me or not, I’m unsure. He admonished me for attending Bubbling Brown Sugar at the Birmingham Hippodrome with Graham, his wife Rita and my wife, Maureen. ‘Shouldn’t do that,’ he said. I thought he might have been becoming a bit rattled because I knew the England manager possibly as well if not better than he did. This could be my chance.

It was to be the only time Steve would have a bad word for me in our careers together. I say ‘together’ because we shared hundreds of car journeys north, hotels, press boxes, would sit in the same front row in on planes when Graham insisted the media travelled in the front row of England flights because he didn’t trust us if he couldn’t see us.

There were a group of football No.1s who gloried under the banner ‘The Morris Men.’ Colin Gibson, then the Telegraph’s lead man, loved to be the organiser, Steve was his best pal, they recruited Harry because he might drop them the occasional tale and liked to have his life organised by someone else and Stuart Jones because he was incapable of organising his own life. In 1990, they [kind of] recruited me. Safety in numbers!!

Thus, on England’s tour of Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia in 1991, the European Championships in 92, the World Cup in 94, and Euro 96, Gibbo was the chef de mission and we all fell into line. As such, I spent more time with Steve than anyone else because we bonded so well.

It is hard to explain to the writers of today but when we travelled with teams, be they club or international we struck an exquisite partnership. The Express and the Mail were sworn enemies in print but Steve and I never let that affect our personal relations. We sat together, ate together, partied together, drank together, sang together, hugged each other, as if we were brothers.

We got up to some terrible mischief but I worried that he would have the story I wanted in the next day’s Express and I’d like to think he thought the same as me on the Mail. He was really pissed off if I was invited onto Hold The Back Page [BskyB’s entry into the world of writer’s forums and the forerunner of Sunday Supplement ] rather than he was. He never really got over the fact that I appeared in the first ever edition of the programme with the late Brian Woolnough.

In essence, Steve was a brilliant football reporter. He could walk into any company and be welcomed. I was envious of that. His fellow reporters loved, admired and feared him in equal measure. I was envious of that. But he never indulged his own popularity. It sat very comfortably with him. If he pulled a story, as he often did, you knew it was going to be spot on because Steve didn’t indulge in fantasies.

I could write a thousand Steve stories here. The karaoke night with Kevin Keegan, the dinner table rows in New York and Washington, the endless white wine evenings at Euro 92 with Richard Moller Nielsen, the Eric Cantona interview two days before the infamous Crystal Palace kung-fu kick, the dance floors in Romania, the round of golf with Bobby Moore, the famous ‘dive’ beneath a jetty at a hotel in Sweden and, so much more important to me, the pep-talks when I lost my job at The Times.

We lived together, we drank together, we worked together, we played together and we lived life together. He was the consummate reporter and travelling companion. The Express loved him and with very good reason. He was the best opponent a reporter could ever have. I am so pleased to have spent so much of my life with him and to have had a last drink with him a couple of months back. David Platt joined us that night, which made it very special indeed.

‘They’re praying for rain in California……’

Night Steve.

Steve Curry – more tributes

Tributes have been flowing for Steve Curry, our friend, colleague and former FWA Chairman, who has passed away after a short illness at the age of 76:

Norman Giller, his former Express colleague and friend, tweeted: “Reeling from news of Steve Curry’s passing. We were close colleagues at the Express. One of the best contacts men in the football reporting business and a great raconteur. We were together recently and I jokingly mocked him for being overweight. A good man.”

Paul McCarthy, former FWA Chairman and Express football correspondent, said: “Desperately saddened to hear of the passing of Steve Curry. To spend time in his company was to live life to the fullest but also to know what it meant to be a ferociously combative reporter of the highest order. No night was complete until there had been another rendering of ‘Little Old Wine Drinker, Me’ or the re-telling of one of the great jokes ‘the flowers in your garden…’

“To those who travelled the globe with Steve, he was hard-bitten but magnificent fun. To those of us who learnt from him, his life was measured in trust, contacts and great stories. After that, the enjoyment could begin. Cantankerous, argumentative and obstreperous – he could be all those things. But he was extremely loyal and a trusted companion who loved the rough and tumble of getting a story but never let it get in the way of friendship. He will be missed. His generation of reporters lived the greatest of lives and they were genuinely grateful for everything the job gave them. RIP Steve.”

Steve Bates, another former FWA Chairman, colleague and friend tweeted: “Very sad to hear news that Steve Curry passed away earlier today One of the big characters in Fleet Street’s hey-day and beyond, always good company and a wonderful raconteur. Condolences to wife Carol and son Mike. RIP.”

Mike Parry, former Express sports editor added: “I am absolutely shocked to learn of the death of Daily Express legend Steve Curry. When I was a young reporter on the Express Steve was forever helpful and supportive. Terrific professional and all round bloody good guy and my sincerest condolences to all of his family.”

John Cross: “RIP Steve Curry. Always nice to me when I first came into the business all those years ago. Fleet Street legend with a devilish smile and a great sense of humour.”

Gerry Cox, former Chairman of the FWA: “Very sad news. I grew up reading Steve Curry and the other great sports reporters from the Express in its heyday, and got to know him later as a friend and a colleague. A sad loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends.”

“So sad to hear of the passing of Steve Curry. A guiding light to me for years. Even a triple by-pass years ago didn’t deter him. One of the best in the business, and also one of the nicest, a very rare combination today. Always supportive of me, a wonderful person.” John Ley, FWA membership secretary and former Telegraph colleague.

“Steve Curry was a very warm man a very good journalist. Brilliantly old school. RIP” James Corrigan, Telegraph golf correspondent

“Very sad to learn the news that veteran football reporter Steve Curry has passed away. A regular guest on SkyNews, Steve became a good friend. Always great company and I’ve many fond memories of trips to La Manga together. Condolences to Carol. RIP Steve.” Ian Woods, Sky News

“Another great sports journalist has gone. Steve Curry was a blisteringly sharp reporter for the Daily Express and a colleague I always looked forward to meeting on the many trips we conducted round the world writing about the sport we loved. RIP, Steve.” Matt Driscoll

A Daily Express and Fleet Street legend. RIP Steve Curry” Mike Allen, Mirror sports editor

Sad news. Great character. Always kind and welcoming. Good memories from England on tour with all the English media.” Erik Bielderman, L’Equipe.

Desperately sad news. A true legend of sports journalism and a great supporter of Weybridge Cricket Club. Was with him on Sunday in fine spirits and looking forward to his holiday. RIP Steve, you’ll be missed.” Oliver Slipper, founder Perform Group.

“Very sad news. I enjoyed an impromptu pint with Steve, Jim Mossop and Andy Dunn ahead of this year’s FWA. He was in fine form, extolling his views as in his own indomitable way. A formidable Fleet Street writer, great debater and marvellous company.  Steve will be greatly missed. Sincere condolences to Carol and all of Steve’s family. RIP.” Adrian Bevington, former FA executive

Steve Curry, RIP

STEVE CURRY 1942 – 2019

It is with deep sadness that we learn of the passing of Steve Curry.

Steve was one of the great larger-than-life characters of our industry as well as a former FWA Chairman and Life Member. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife Carol and all his family. Steve passed away after a short illness.

His friend and colleague James Mossop has written this tribute:

“Superlative journalist, whimsical companion, friend of football: Steve Curry was all that and more. His endless qualities glowed throughout the many years so many of us knew and admired him.

“Players and administrators entrusted him with their thoughts, hopes and apprehensions. His years at the Daily Express were dappled with exclusives.

“He was a marvellous fellow traveller too, especially in those days when we Fleet Street men travelled on the same charter aircraft as the England team. He had a fine singing voice and standing in the aisle, would give his finest, with a song about “Old Shep” being one particular party piece.

“Not many knew that in his early days as a junior reporter he had been a proud member of the Youth Theatre and he would become quite animated if he heard one of us deliberately misquoting Shakespeare. Off he would go in true Thespian mode, raising his voice to give us the full soliloquy without a flaw.

“In his work he had contacts in every area of the sport. He was always greeted with affection by players in the team hotel. He had known many of them since their youth football days. The late Ray Wilkins, in particular was always a trusted friend.

“If there was a political issue within football Steve knew the men and their numbers and was able to draw ‘off the record’ briefings from the right people.

“It would be hard to find a more amiable, and occasionally argumentative, dinner companion wherever we happened to be in the world.

“After the Express he took his talent to the Sunday Telegraph and produced an instant exclusive revealing that the famous Twin Towers of Wembley were to be demolished. It was the first of many scoops.

“Sadly Steve, a former chairman of the FWA, has left us. Right now there is an emptiness in many, many hearts. It will slowly ease and we will find consolation in remembering the career and the style of our friend of the human race.”


More tributes to follow. You can read this interview with Steve from 2012:

Racism, club ownership and City to retain their title – FWA Live

Our latest FWA LIve event at the Landmark London on August 6 was a huge success, with a wide range of topics discussed by our panel in front of a packed house.

Chris Hughton, Simon Jordan and Teddy Sheringham were our special guests from the world of football, and joined FWA Chair Carrie Brown and Times football correspondent Henry Winter on a panel hosted by Gerry Cox, former Chairman of the FWA.

The first 45 minutes involved a panel discussion on the likely winners of this season’s Premier League (Manchester City were overwhelming favourites), transfer dealings this summer, the fates of the newly-promoted clubs and how Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will fare.

After a short break, panellists took questions from the 100 or so guests, resulting in lively and revelatory discussions about racism, club ownership, the difficulties of management and more.

The event was streamed live on Facebook thanks to our title sponsors William Hill, and you can see the first 45 minutes on the FWA’s Facebook page here:

And a substantial sum was raised for our charity Alzheimer’s Society.  See the great work they are doing on research into a disease that increasingly affects not only football but society as a whole

(Left to right) Gerry Cox Former Chairman of FWA/Hayters TV, Chris Hughton Former Brighton Manager, Simon Jordan Former Crystal Palace Owner & Broadcaster, Teddy Sheringham, Carrie Brown FWA Chair and Henry Winter  of The Times.

Simon Jordan, Former Crystal Palace Owner & Broadcaster, and Teddy Sheringham during the FWA Live Season Preview at The Landmark Hotel, London.

Carrie Brown- FWA Chair and Henry Winter of The Times during the FWA Live Season Preview at The Landmark Hotel, London.

Chris Hughton, Former Brighton Manager, during the FWA Live Season Preview at The Landmark Hotel, London.

General view during the FWA Live Season Preview at The Landmark Hotel, London.