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Trainee hack enjoys Blair interview to kick-start his cuttings file

A trainee journalist pulled off a great old fashioned scoop when he got an interview with former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mirror Group trainee Tom McTague, (24), is studying at the Press Association training centre in Newcastle.

He made the front page of the Evening Chronicle with his exclusive interview.

A double page spread followed focusing on Mr Blair’s Sport’s Foundation which hopes to get more north-east kids playing sport.

The scoop was given added prominence when the former England manager Sir Bobby Robson dropped in and agreed to speak with the aspiring political reporter.

Sir Bobby revealed he was planning to visit the troubled former England ace Paul Gascoigne in the psychiatric hospital where he is currently being held.

The revelation gave the budding hack another page lead to add to his portfolio which he will produce as part of his 17-week multimedia journalism course.

Tom said: “It was my first ever sit-down face-to-face interview – so, not a bad way to start. And having both Tony and Sir Bobby there was just great.

“Tony was very chatty but stuck to his brief. There was no way I could draw him on anything other than the foundation. Sir Bobby though would have chatted to me about anything all night I think – especially football which he had been told not to talk about. Sir Bobby was absolutely fantastic.”