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Sports editor who kept local club afloat bows out

A “legendary” sports editor who single-handedly kept his local football club alive has retired after 40 years in the business.

Mel Bradley spent four decades in the East Midlands, initially with his hometown weekly the Grantham Journal where he started in production.

He later joined the Worksop Guardian, working as its sports editor for 20 years and as a news sub-editor since 2000.

But Mel will also be remembered for his lengthy and dedicated service to Worksop Town FC and helping to keep the club afloat while at the same time covering its games as sports editor.

During his long association with the club, Mel was chairman of Worksop Town supporters’ club and later chairman of club between 1989 and 1995.

In 1989, it was forced to play its home matches in Gainsborough around 20 miles away after having to leave its ground but Mel fought hard to secure a new stadium in the Nottinghamshire town which it returned to in 1992.

Mel helped to build that new stadium (above left), which the club was once again forced to leave in summer 2008 and has been without a “home” stadium since, and he even once played a star turn in defence when Worksop Town was a player short.

Worksop Guardian editor George Robinson told HTFP: “In the late 80s the club lost its ground in Worksop. Mel single-handedly kept it alive, burning the midnight oil, working out what they were going to do.

“He found them a ground in Gainsborough and did everything, including reading the lottery ticket winners out at half time.

“He was still working as sports editor here when I became editor in 1992.

“Initially, I had my reservations and asked him if he was sure he was being objective.

“Mel was always very careful to be as impartial as possible and he was still a regular face down there after he stepped back as chairman.”

A formal retirement party will be held for the 60-year-old in Worksop later this month when colleagues past and present will be invited to wish Mel the best for the future.

George added: “Mel was always very thorough and meticulous and a lot of people knew him. He will be sorely missed.

“He is one of the legendary characters of local journalism.”


Richard Mason (16/02/2010 09:28:29)
If Mel didn’t know it, it wasn’t worth knowing. Mel Bradley was so legendary in Worksop, he could even slam a revolving door. A legend.

James Mitchinson (16/02/2010 09:31:42)
Mel B taught me everything I know, from how to work the heating thermostat to how to break a back-page splash.
A great sports editor, a robust and meticulous sub with an unwavering eye for detail and a good friend. Occasionally grumpy, stubborn and forthright, coupled with endless great and endearing qualities that made him an office, and community favourite.
Enjoy the golf course Bradders – and thanks for the 10-year(ish) apprenticeship!

Nick Westby (16/02/2010 10:25:45)
Two words…LEG and END.
Not only has the journalism industry lost one of its great churners and chunterers, but the Worksop Omelette-making industry has lost its finest customer. All the best Mel, happy hacking in your thoroughly-deserved retirement.

Ben Green (16/02/2010 12:18:04)
Mel was an absolutely fantastic professional who went beyond the call of duty time and time again. He was a pleasure to work with, and I for one don’t know what I would have done without him. The journalism world is a much poorer place without someone of Mel’s calibre. I wish you all the best for the future Mel and thanks again for all your help and support over the years.
PS Mr Bradley can turn his hand to just about anything – even weather forecasting. Watch and learn –

Graham Smyth (16/02/2010 13:59:04)
Mel’s departure has had a massive impact on the Guardian office – ‘sorely missed’ doesn’t go far enough.
From dishing out numerous quark tips, digging out old sports contacts, meticulous record keeping (including the Worksop Town FC bible) and helping with IT issues, Mel has been a brilliant help from my first day to his last.
A true legend. Thanks for everything Mel and good luck.

Claire Brown (17/02/2010 09:30:34)
Mel Bradley…what can I say? A legend in his own lifetime! What a brilliant guy, I remember once when I was having a bad day, he went digging around in a cupboard, bought out a file, and inside was a typed disciplinary letter from his editor that he got in his first few months at the Guardian, his way of telling me to hang on in there. Friday’s will always be about Trader Leisure to me Mel! x x x x

Matt Halfpenny (17/02/2010 15:37:45)
Mr Bradley? Well, I wouldn’t know his first name, despite working with him for a few years! Joking aside, it was great learning from you, Mel. You taught me a heck of a lot when I first cut my sports reporting teeth and I will always be very grateful for that. There can have been no more loyal servant in the local newspaper industry, that is for sure.

Simon Heggie (18/02/2010 14:37:53)
Mel was my first boss and a great bloke. His dedication to the Guardian and Worksop Town was absolute. Roundly liked by colleagues, local sportsmen, he was a great journalist who knew his patch inside out. Shame he was a Man United man though! Happy retirement Mel.

Kevin Cookson (22/02/2010 09:17:13)
There’s one or two proteges left messages, Mel, I reckon I ought to do the same. I think it is fair to say that I learned a lot from you in the early days – not least your dedication to the job. Best wishes in your retirement – it’s thoroughly deserved.

Mel Bradley (22/02/2010 16:06:42)
I would like to thank Tamlyn Jones for writing the story and my colleagues for posting such moving comments. You have all been a pleasure to work with. Would also like to say I had some great people around me at Worksop Town Football Club and it is a shame the club is once again homeless.