FWA Q&A: David Lacey

The Guardian’s David Lacey on newly-wed mothers-to-be…a horsey steak in Albania…and English hacks protesting in Sofia

Your first ever job in journalism?
Cub reporter on the Brighton Evening Argus. First assignment: Paying the managing editor’s electricity bill.

Have you ever worked in a profession other than journalism?
Only national service in the RAF. Never saw a plane!

Most memorable match?
1970 World Cup semi-final. Italy 4,West Germany 3

The one moment in football you would put on a DVD?
Maradona’s dribble through the England defence in the 1986 World Cup

Best stadium?
Aztec Stadium in Mexico City

…and the worst?
Dinamo Berlin’s stadium on a freezing night with no cover..

Your personal new-tech disaster?
No-go in Japan in 2002. Phoned everything

Biggest mistake?
As a young sub on the Brighton Gazette laying out the weekly page of wedding pics I picked up a an old batch by mistake and several mothers-to-be found themselves in the paper as only just married.

Have you ever been mistaken for anyone else?
Someone mistook me for Murray Walker saying I looked just like him. At least I didn’t sound like him.

Most media friendly manager?
Ron Greenwood, depending on the media.

Best ever player?
British : George Best. World : Pele.

Best ever teams (club and international)?
Club : The first great Real Madrid side. International : 1970 Brazil.

Best pre-match grub?
The Emirates.

Best meal had on your travels?
A lunch St Etienne threw for the media when Ipswich played there in the early 80s. I’ve still got the menu.

…and the worst?
Several contenders from Eastern Europe. Albania’s steak and chips had just finished last in the 3.30 in Tirana.

Best hotel stayed in?
Broadmoor Country Club,Colorado Springs,before the 1986 World Cup.

…and the worst?
Can’t remember the name but it was in Sofia. The hacks travelling with England staged a sit-down outside the dump until the Cook’s man agreed we could move to a better hotel after one night.

Favourite football writer?
Geoffrey Green.

Favourite radio/TV commentator?
Radio Mike Ingham. TV Martin Tyler.

If you could introduce one change to improve PR between football clubs and football writers what would it be?
Greater mutual trust.

One sporting event outside football you would love to experience?
Ashes test.

Last book read?
John Keegan. The American Civil War

Favourite current TV programme?
I only watch old films.

Your most prized football memorabilia?
The autographed England shirt with Lacey No 10 on the back the FA gave me after I had covered my 10th and last World Cup.

Advice to anyone coming into the football media world?
Always listen to the pros. They’ve played the game and have a unique insight.



  1. Avatar

    Idowu Omoyele

    August 28, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I am a Nigerian from sub-Saharan Africa who likes football and has a flair for writing. Reading David Lacey over the years has been a great pleasure. I have found his reports, features/profiles and column entries in The Guardian both inspiring and inspired. With Geoffrey Green,once of The Times, he is, indisputably, the finest football writer ever to come out of the British isles, though one feels that David Lacey is the greatest football writer ever to work in the English language. For nearly half a century, Lacey has been consistently even-handed, fair-minded and good-natured in his reporting on football and footballers, eschewing jargon and jingoism but lucidly combining constructive criticism and a profound understanding of the game with sound judgement and compassionate intelligence. Together with Geoffrey Green, Neville Cardus and Hugh McIlvanney, David Lacey deserves to be recognized as one of the four most distinguished sportswriters in the history of British journalism. He is also one of the greatest sportsjournalists ever to grace this world. Idowu Omoyele.

  2. Avatar


    November 2, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    David Lacey was an inspiration and I enjoyed his articles as a youngster. Idowu Omoyele is spot on.

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