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.