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In Memoriam: Kevin Moseley

Kevin Moseley – a brilliantly gifted reporter with contacts of the highest order

By ALEX MONTGOMERY

Kevin Moseley was a brilliantly gifted sports reporter whose news column in the Seventies, Eighties and into the Nineties, was a must read for every sports desk on Fleet Street. When the early edition of the Daily Mirror dropped – in later years it was the Daily Express — more often than not there would be a scramble for the phones to check out and follow up another of his exclusives.

Kevin could spot a weakness, work on it and in time produce copy that in his prime would always entertain, inform us of something we did not know and earn him a reputation for being an outstanding news gatherer, albeit of the old school.

You don’t write about the demise of Sir Alf Ramsey as England manager (Daily Mirror) and prove to be 100 per cent correct or reveal the demons Tony Adams (Daily Express) had to confront when he was at the peak of his career as captain of Arsenal without contacts of the highest order.

Kevin had strategically placed informants. The revelations about Ramsey and Adams stick in the mind, but there were many more which, at the time, would be considered major stories. It was the consistency of his ability to sniff out tales from the world of football that put him in a wee class of his own.

It also took considerable bravery to regularly expose himself to the real possibility that football was capable of denying the undeniable when stories appear they do not like. That intense pressure takes its mental and physical toll.

Kevin could be hard-nosed, if needed, with the pompous, the liars and downright crooked we all have had to deal with, but would go out of his way to help those with holes in their boots.

He was loyal to those he respected and a nightmare to those he felt abused him and his lifestyle. He did not seek awards, though would have won them in the modern era where “scoops” are acknowledged. Appearing on television or radio did not interest him. He would congratulate the success of a rival and be first to demand a celebration which usually meant a long night and an overnight stay in Bexley. He certainly would not offer a compliment to a rival on the expectation of receiving one back.

Kevin was a great friend of mine for nearly 50 years since we met as young reporters at Reg Hayters sports agency just off Fleet Street in Fetter Lane. I recognised then the qualities that would make him such a supreme newsman and formidable rival; his fearlessness and persistence.

He immersed himself in the romance we all felt in working on Fleet Street and it was certain to me he would fit into the national newspaper scene and be successful. Old Reg sent him with England to the World Cup finals in Mexico in 1970 with a stack of assignments for the nationals – plus a Tommy Docherty column to write I think for the then Daily Sketch – oh, and would he please ghost a book with Bobby Moore. It left no time to enjoy Mexico. Wrong. Kevin always found time to smell the roses.

He introduced himself to me as half and half – half English through his mum and half Irish through his dad. He was a committed Republican , a source of the occasional argument between us, fuelled
by my Black Label and his Jamesons. They lasted no longer than the length of a good sleep.

We worked a beat between Ipswich and Norwich in the east, Southampton in the south with London in the middle. There would be glorious overnights and after match drinks with the late Ipswich chairman “Mr John” Cobbold and Sir Bobby Robson at Portman Road; with the late John Bond in some all night Greek restaurant at Norwich, or with Lawrie McMenemy first in his office at the Dell and then down to the long demised Polygon Hotel for coffee, sandwiches and brandy.

There would be trips to Leicester where the late Jimmy Bloomfield was manager or we would break into the Midlands mafia to make ourselves known to Ron Atkinson and Ron Saunders and eventually listen to Jock Wallace where I could be called on as after-match interpreter. As number two or three reporter we covered Southampton’s winning FA Cup campaign of 1976. We were joined by Steve Curry in the latter stages of the run on Wembley when Lawrie labelled us the Freeman Hardy and Willis of football reporting. These memories are not recalled to irritate our successors on the road who are now restrained in their search for information by press conferences. It is just the way it was. So many people so little time.

Kevin successfully dealt with a number of crises in his life including cancer. A few months ago he phoned to say that was in remission and he had been given the all clear. He became very ill a month ago. The cancer had recurred, the family were told. This time the end was inevitable and had to be dealt with by Hilary, his son Luke and daughters Lisa and Sara.

The man is no longer with us, but the memories of our friendship and his outstanding journalism remain.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Neil Silver

    January 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    A fine tribute to a great journalist and a decent man. Worth noting that Kevin always found time to help young up-and-coming journalists. His skills will be missed.

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    tony stenson

    January 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    a fine tribute from a fine writer. More than that. Monty was great. Sad young reporters today do enjoy the same period as we did, acutally talking, meeting, drinking with with players, managers etc., that mattered in a era we did – at a cost of our liver! I will miss you old chum. God’s Press Box is getting crowded. Stengun

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    Joe Lovejoy

    January 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Well said Alex. Moseley was much better at his job than a lot of those who loved to criticise and belittle him. So he drank and smoked too much. Big deal.I’ll remember him for those contacts abd columns.

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    Brian Scovell

    January 31, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Brilliant piece Big Al – a truly wonderful character assessment which should be read at Kevin’s funeral and handed in above!

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    Graham Nickless

    January 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Wonderful words Alex about a real pro who helped me a great deal in my younger days in Fleet Street.

    Never forget Kevin telling this cub Daily Star reporter on the plane on the way back from Norkopping with the Southampton team when we heard that two players and the chairman were not on board.

    Even before we heard about the rape accuations Kevin, shaking his head, told me: “Graham, this is a valium job!”

    Yet another colleague and friend who will be sorely missed in our press boxes.

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    Nick Callow

    January 31, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    wonderful piece for a legend of the old school.

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    Lee Clayton

    February 1, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I remember travelling with Kevin to a West Ham match for the InterToto Cup (heady times). He was a brilliant news reporter, who was never afraid to work alone. I liked and admired him and, Alex, your wonderful tribute explains why.

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    Bill Pierce

    February 1, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Agree with all the above – except, no, I can’t say Kevin ever actually helped me professionally. He wouldn’t be so condescending. He just helped me stand on my own two feet. I just hope he’s OK in his ultimate “safe house” Well written, Alex !

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    Matt Driscoll

    February 2, 2013 at 12:14 am

    I still use Kevin’s expression of “fancy a heart starter?” every time I travel abroad. European trips were never boring with him around. Most of the time you were trying to keep an eye on him to see what stories he was chasing. Great piece, Alex. Kevin will be missed. God Bless – as he would say.

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    Patrick Barclay

    February 2, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    A wonderful tribute, Alex. Even when he hardly knew me, Kevin went out of his way to do little favours. You’ve done him proud.

  11. Avatar

    rob shepherd

    February 25, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Wonderful tribute by Alex. Off to Kevin’s funeral today to pay respect to one of the all time great football reporters. We had some smiles and some scrapes together. See you at the far post Kevin.

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    Steve Clow

    July 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Kevin was briefly sports editor on my first paper, the Watford Post, and from the moment I worked under him as a trainee I knew he was on his way to Fleet Street. He always had time for me, never cursed or swore and gained my respect. I loved the way he wrote up football matches and I learned how to craft them from his lively reports and inspired me with his Touchline Gossip.

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    Peter Boyle

    May 8, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I worked with Kevin in his years at the Express and found him to be a charming, helpful and considerate colleague. I won’t hear a bad word against him

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