A NOTE OF THANKS..
I`ve been away from these pages for a few weeks. Sorry about that but I`ve had a few `issues` that needed to be resolved (have you noticed that people tend not to have problems an more, rather they have `issues?`) Mine have centred around family things - seasonal illnesses and the like - computer problems, unwelcome visitors to this site, the advent of the season of goodwill and a strange loss of enthusiasm, which might well have been due either to writer`s block, the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder or another symptom of the advance of anno domini.
But what really encouraged me to resume `normal` service was that I felt I should say a few words about one of my writing heroes, who has decided to retire after 50 years as a sports journalist in Fleet Street. Now there are lots of reasons, mainly wrong ones, for buying newspapers but the only reason I have bought the Mail on Sunday for years now, is because of Patrick Collins. The picture above shows him as an urbane, intelligent, thoughtful gentleman and it was those qualities and more that came out in his writing. It was always perceptive and considered and that, along with a masterful application of the English language, meant that each week we were treated to inspiring and incisive essays on the sporting issues of the moment.
There have been great sports journalists in the past - Ian Wooldridge, Frank Keating, John Arlott, David Lacey - and they all had their individual styles. Patrick certainly had his own and it is the way he said things, as much as what he had to say, that marked him out as very special. I`m sorry he`s decided to retire, but he is 70 and, as he takes his seat for each home game at the Valley to watch his beloved Charlton Athletic, he should know that he is much missed, admired and respected. I hope his retirement is a long and happy one.