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In Memoriam: Danny Fullbrook

A shining light has been lost to the world of football journalism after the sad passing of Danny Fullbrook.

Nobody who met Danny will ever forget him. Charismatic, exuberant, often loud and wonderfully outspoken, he was always the heartbeat of any gathering of reporters either at home or around the world.

Danny loved and cared passionately about the business of journalism. He may never have taken himself overly seriously, but he was serious about his work.

From the moment he started work at the Hull Daily Mail, he immersed himself in the profession, determined to carve his name as one the country’s elite football journalists. He certainly fulfilled that ambition.

But he was more than just an outstanding reporter as he progressed to the Birmingham Evening Mail, Daily Star and Sunday Mirror before rejoining the Star in 2000 as Chief Football Writer, he was a wonderful and generous friend.

The Sun’s Shaun Custis was one of his closest running mates and paid tribute to his friend on the flight from Krakow to Donetsk just hours after Danny’s passing.

Shaun said: “In a strange way, it’s kind of fitting the news of Danny’s death should come during a tournament.

“Danny was in his element in that environment. He would be organising us all, telling us what stories we should be doing, sorting out a restaurant, making sure we were all in it together.

“When I say the world’s a quieter place today, it’s meant with real affection. I can hear him now from the back of plane, bellowing, ‘Geordie! What are you doing? Come over here’.

“That was Danny, absolutely full of life and it’s a tragedy we’ll never be in his company again because he was one of the warmest, funniest, noisiest blokes it’s been my privilege to call a friend.”

Danny was a stalwart of the FWA National Committee and chairman Andy Dunn added his own tribute.

He said: “When you fear the worst, it does not make the worst any easier to comprehend.

“Danny’s passing has left a void in our community that will not be filled. The time of his death – tragically early, tragically cruel – was a reminder of his exuberant, effervescent contribution to our profession and to our everyday working and personal lives.

“It was during those long weeks on the road, in camp, that Danny formed bonds that even the most indiscriminate and unjust disease cannot break.

“I make no apologies if, at this moment, these words seem inappropriate…but he truly was the life and soul.

“A minor, trivial thought maybe – but I thought of Danny when taking part in the media sweep ahead of the game against Sweden. It had been his idea many tournaments ago – typical of a man who wanted to make everyone feel pap art of the experience.

“And typical of a man who liked a bet, of course!

“He battled so bravely to beat the terrible odds stacked against him. He lost – and our profession and our community has lost a fine journalist, a great colleague and a lovely friend.

“But the many who knew him for the many – yet too few – years, held winning tickets. Keep hold of them and remember Danny Fullbrook…he will always be remembered and missed.”

Affectionately known as Frank or Fearless, Danny commanded utter respect from the football community. Only last week, David Beckham sent a message of support and Rio Ferdinand also paid tribute to a man who was never afraid to voice his opinion either in print or in private but who was never vindictive or cruel.

His beloved Fulham held a special place in Danny’s hearts but it was to his friends and colleagues where his loyalty was most felt.

Danny touched so many lives with his warmth, vitality and wonderful good humour. Even towards the end when he was desperately ill, he always had a joke and quip close at hand.

All our thoughts at the FWA are with his parents, Jim and Sheila and his son, Edward at this terrible time.

A funeral service will be held for Danny at Mortlake Crematorium on Monday June 25 at 4pm.

England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Steven Gerrard paid tribute to Danny Fullbrook at Monday afternoon’s press conference:

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