We at the FWA are heartbroken to hear the news that our dear friend Ralph Ellis passed away this weekend.
Ralph, who was a hardworking member of the FWA’s National Committee, was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year at the age of 60. In typical style, Ralph battled the illness with determination, optimism and good humour, and only three months ago he cycled to Amsterdam to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.
Ralph was enormously popular with his colleagues and a top football writer from his early days at Hayters in the 1980s through to 12 years on the Daily Star, a two-year spell working for Bristol Rovers, and then freelancing since 2002 for a number of newspapers, including the Mail, Star and Mirror. Although he was born and brought up in the east end of London, and a lifelong West Ham fan, Ralph covered the Midlands beat where he built up a formidable contacts book and made many, many friends, both in journalism and football. For many years he ran the Midlands branch of the FWA, organising dinners and other events, and in the past few years was the driving force behind the FWA Golf Day.
Paul McCarthy, executive secretary of the FWA, said: “Desperately sad news that our colleague and friend Ralph Ellis has passed away. A fantastic journalist and an even finer person, husband and father. He was a driving force in the FWA and he will be terribly missed by all who knew him and worked with him.”
John Etheridge, The Sun’s cricket correspondent said: “Terribly sad news. First met Ralph in the late 1970s when we worked together at Hayters. He ghost-wrote Ian Botham’s first book.”
Tom Ross added: “I am absolutely devastated- Ralph was a lovely man who would talk football all day. He wasn’t ever fooled by the BS around the game. To be honest I saw him at Villa Park towards the end of last season and thought he was beating it.”
James Nursey of the Mirror said: Awfully sad news. Ralph’s passion for sport & the profession will be hugely missed in the press box. Admired him for numerous attributes – not least his stoic & brave attitude in the face of recent adversity.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sue, family and friends at this time. More tributes will follow along with details of Ralph’s funeral.