By ANDY DUNN, FWA Chairman
WE knew this day was coming – but it makes it no easier. Sports journalism has lost a giant of a man.
Brian Woolnough was simply the foremost football reporter of his generation.
When we pay tribute, we should retire the centre seat of the front row at every England press conference.
No journalist was as passionate about England as Wooly. No journalist demanded more from England managers and players than Wooly.
He was an inspiration to us all. And a friend to us all.
A glass of red wine, a bowl of pasta, big day tomorrow. How many times have we heard that over the last three decades? How sad that we will never hear it again.
Brian was a brilliant print journalist. You do not hold down the job as chief football writer on The Sun – and then progress to be Chief Sports Writer of the Daily Star – without being at the very top of your profession.
And he led the way in giving his fellow scribes a bigger platform.
Effortlessly, he became an accomplished broadcaster – both on television and radio. And his wonderful manner has soothed the nerves of countless writers fortunate to appear alongside him on, first, Hold The Back Page, and then, the Sunday Supplement.
He became the voice of our business.
Wooly fought his battle against cancer with a bravery – and, indeed, humour – that amazed us all. And he loved the game – and our game – until his final moments. That passion never died.
And nor will his memory.