Tributes have been paid to Paul Stratton, pictured left, who began his career in the regional press before going on to edit weekly football magazine Match.
Paul, known to colleagues as ‘Strat’, began his career as a reporter at the Peterborough Evening Telegraph before taking up a role with Match.
He was appointed editor of the magazine, aimed at young football fanatics, in the 1980s.
In 1992 he moved on to work for Bauer, mainly in subbing roles on Max Power and the Classic Car titles.
Before retiring last year, he was working in a production role for Country Walking magazine.
Paul died after a short illness and his funeral was held at Peterborough’s crematorium last Friday.
Grantham Target reporter Adrian Curtis, who succeeded Paul as editor of Match, recalled a man whose “own personal ambitions hardly surfaced during a successful career” and was instead happy to mentor young sports reporters to a career at the highest level.
Said Adrian: “For those journalists who were privileged to work alongside him, (Paul) was arguably the finest sports news editor who never made it to Fleet Street.
“The man, known to everyone as ‘Strat’, could have walked into any top job in an era when reporters played hard and worked even harder.”
He added: “He could pick up on the slightest thing such as listen to a phone interview, pick up on the way a conversation was going and thrust a piece of paper in front of you asking you to ask the interviewee a certain question.
“He always got it right. He was an expert sub and could re-write copy from clumsy trainees and show them exactly where they were going wrong. He was a consummate professional.”
“I have much to thank ‘Strat’ for. He set me on the road to a 25-year career in football journalism at the highest level and I soon realised when I replaced him as editor of Match, that nobody could do the job better than him.
“He was, quite simply, the best. Another giant of the profession called away too soon.”
Ray Ryan, who went on to work for the News of the World, recalled: “I would arrive first in the office and as the junior, I had to fetch the milk for the morning coffees from the next building. But ‘Strat’ always gave me a fighting chance by playing me at darts.
“It was only after a month of fetching the milk, I realised he was an accomplished darts player for his local pub team and could have played for the county.
“And I still have to live down the time he asked me to ring a taxi from a pub for an award’s event – not realising the venue was less than a dozen yards from where we were. He took great delight at the abuse I got from the taxi company.
“Yet he didn’t have things all his own way. He once got sold a car which broke down on Boxing Day on the way into the office for a tight deadline shift. It later transpired the car he bought was actually two welded together. And yet he went on to work for a luxury sports car magazine. Oh the irony.”