By Jeff Farmer
The FWA – and the wider football family- has lost a great character and one of its nice guys with the death of former Daily Mirror journalist Dave Horridge.
Dave died last week at the age of 78 after a lengthy battle with debilitating illness.
I was privileged, as the Daily Mail’s man in the Midlands, to work alongside Dave in many press boxes during his 15 year spell in the patch from the early 1970s. He was a great friend and a valued colleague, respected by players, managers,directors and his reporting contemporaries alike.
Dave was a born and bred Scouser who never forgot his roots nor lost that wry sense of humour associated with his home city. His journalistic career began as a photographic messenger and a copy boy on the Liverpool Echo. He moved up to the sport subs desk on the Echo before switching to the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror sports desks in Manchester. In 1963 Dave became the Mirror’s first full-time football reporter on Merseyside – hugely enjoying a golden era of Liverpool and Everton success. He was an original member of the Merseyside Musketeers along with Derek Potter of the Daily Express,Colin Wood of the Mail and Mike Ellis of the Sun.
A decade on Dave moved down the M6 to join the Midlands Mafia of the 1970s – Alan Williams and Joe Melling of the Express, Hugh Jamieson and Bob Driscoll of the Sun, myself on the Mail and the legendary Peter Batt on the People. Dave fitted in quickly with the lot of us – as he did with the local paper brigade of Colin Malam, Dennis Shaw, Ray Matts, Dave Harrison et al. It was a vintage period for Midlands football with Cloughie’s amazing feats at Derby County and Nottingham Forest, Championship and European success at Aston Villa, Big Ron’s adventures at West Bromwich, Bill McGarry’s trophy-winning Wolves and Coventry in European competition.
Dave was a man who easily made friends and worked hard at making contacts. As he was respected by Shankly, Paisley and Kendall on Merseyside, so it was with Clough ,Saunders and Atkinson in the Midlands. Dave often said he was so lucky to have been in the right place at the right time in his career – on Merseyside and in the Midlands at a time of so much success,with titles, Wembleys and European sorties galore.
After the Midlands, Dave went part-time freelance for a few years (to keep in touch with his mates) and moved back to the Wirral. The family media tradition has been carried on by his son David who joined Central ITV as a teenager and is now a talented television sports director with a world-wide portfolio.
Dave Horridge’s funeral is at Landican Cemetery, Arrowe Park Road, Birkenhead CH49 5LW at Midday on Wednesday, January 30.