England manager Roy Hodgson has led tributes to a national press football writer who began his career on a regional daily.
Danny Fullbrook, who has died at the age of 40 after an 18-month battle with cancer, became the Daily Star’s chief football writer after starting out at the Hull Daily Mail.
From there he moved on to work at the Birmingham Evening Mail, Daily Star and Sunday Mirror before rejoining the Star in 2000.
Such was Danny’s standing in the game that England manager Roy and captain Steven Gerrard interrupted a Euro 2012 press conference yesterday to lead the tributes to him.
Said Roy: “Everyone at the FA would like to pass on our deepest condolences to the family of Danny Fullbrook who sadly died during the night after bravely fighting his illness.
“I know that many of you in the room were big colleagues of his and respected him for the excellent journalist that he was.”
Steven said he had got to know Danny quite well over the years and also wanted to pass on his condolences.
“He was a very nice guy, very genuine,” he added.
Tabloid colleagues have also suspended traditional rivalries to join the tributes.
Close friend Shaun Custis, of The Sun said: “In a strange way, it’s kind of fitting the news of Danny’s death should come during a tournament.
“Danny was in his element in that environment. He would be organising us all, telling us what stories we should be doing, sorting out a restaurant, making sure we were all in it together.
“When I say the world’s a quieter place today, it’s meant with real affection. That was Danny, absolutely full of life and it’s a tragedy we’ll never be in his company again because he was one of the warmest, funniest, noisiest blokes it’s been my privilege to call a friend.”
The Star’s Brian Woolnough wrote in the paper: “Football journalism has lost a star and a good friend. Frank and Fearless, we called him, and that’s how Danny was right to the end.
“His attitude to life was always to have fun and none of us who knew him and worked with him, will forget his love of entertaining. Being at the centre of things, holding court, telling us he was right and that we knew nothing.
“It didn’t matter whether you were Frank Lampard or a junior reporter, Danny would put you right. A smile, of course, accompanied the banter.
“Players and managers liked him because Danny could be trusted, a must-have quality in the cut throat world of football reporting.”
Danny’s funeral will take place at Mortlake Crematorium next Monday, 25 June, at 4pm.