The Football Writers’ Association are saddened to hear the news Ray Matts, the long-serving Daily Mail sports reporter and FWA member, passed away after a short illness aged 70.
Ray joined the Daily Mail from the Birmingham Evening Mail as Midlands football reporter in 1980 and would go on to cover both Nottingham Forest’s and Aston Villa’s European Cup victories.
In 1989, Ray took up the position of Motor Racing Correspondent and proved just as popular a figure among Formula One as he had done in football.
Although officially ‘retiring’ in 2006, Ray continued to cover football matches in the Midlands whenever he could.
Ray remained a popular figure both within both sides of the reporting ranks. The late Brian Clough was a close friend, while Martin O’Neill and Ron Atkinson both recently attended a lunch for his 70th birthday.
FWA National Committee member for the Midlands, Ralph Ellis said: “Ray had the wonderful knack of breaking big stories yet still keeping close trust with people.
“He was an inspiration both in print and as a person and will be hugely missed.”
Paul Hetherington, Executive Secretary of the FWA, said: “Ray became a life member of the association during my tenure as chairman, and it was a status I was delighted to award him.
“It was a reward for his outstanding career as a football writer, his long-standing membership of the FWA and the help and guidance he offered to young journalists.
“Mattsie was a great character who will be sadly missed in press boxes and at our functions.”
Ray Matts’ funeral will be held Monday March 28th, Streetley Crematorium, midday. Afterwards Bloxwich Golf Club.
Donations to British Heart Foundation.