Brodkin the lone Guardian of the Sports Desk


For Jon Brodkin, December 25 was just another working day on the Guardian sports desk. With one significant difference – he was the only member of the staff on duty along with colleague Penny Woods who was looking after the web site.

Yesterday was the first Boxing Day the Guardian had published during deputy news editor (sport) Brodkin’s time with the newspaper so a Christmas work rota had never been necessary.

‘We’ve been unique in that sense, not having people working on Christmas Day’ said Brodkin. ‘They asked for volunteers and I put myself forward.’

For religious reasons Brodkin does not celebrate Christmas but there was also a favourable trade-off for the New Year.

He told footballwriters.co.uk on Christmas Eve: ‘I asked for a sequence of days off over the New Year which I had special dispensation for several months ago. I felt from that point of view it was fairer for me to step forward rather than others doing a normal run of shifts and who would like to celebrate Christmas in a more traditional sense.’

Self-confessed Barnet fan Brodkin was scheduled to start at 12.30, finishing at 5.30. ‘A shorter than usual shift,’ he said. ‘Some pages will already have been sent but three have to be done on the day.

‘I would phone a reporter at home only if it was really necessary. The remit is they have a blanket day off. Any breaking news would have to be written by myself unless it was a huge story. A sacking on Christmas Day would be very harsh. I hope it doesn’t happen and not just because it would mean more work for me.’

While there were no English league games on Christmas Eve, it was business as normal in the Scottish Premier League with the Premiership rugby game between Northampton and Bath also arriving on Sunday morning.

Brodkin said: ‘There will be what you could loosely call live reports to deal with plus picture selection, page layout and that kind of thing. Most of the Boxing Day peviews would already have been prepared.’

His usual shift sees Brodkin driving home in the early hours of the morning but yesterday he was looking forward to a personal best time back to his family through the unusually empty streets of north London.

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