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‘Quick-witted’ former football journalist dies aged 77

Mike Dale

A ‘quick-witted’ former sports journalist who spent many years reporting on a football club has died at the age of 77.

Mike Dale began his career as a tea-boy with the Nuneaton Tribune before working for the Leicester Mercury and later for the Coventry News Service.

In this role, he wrote about Coventry City Football Club for most national news outlets, provided copy for the match-day programme and he was the voice of Clubcall for the club.

Tributes have been paid to Mike in piece on the club’s website after he died at the age of 77.

Lee Corden, a friend and colleague at Coventry News Service and Advent Communications, said: “Mike was fairly unique. I say that because I know it would bring a wry smile to his face – possibly a grimace!

“He was always the first to point out that something was either unique or it wasn’t. He was a real guardian of the English language and was so quick-witted that it kept me on my toes as a young writer learning my trade.

“Mike was never short of a joke or phrase – many of which I still use nearly a decade after he retired.  He just had a way with people that drew out a smile and laugh.

“His personality was perfect for the job of sports journalist because it made players, managers and staff comfortable and they’d open up to give him a ‘good line’ for the programme or whichever paper he was writing for at the time.”

Mike also commentated on football for some radio stations and was the editor of CCFC’s match-day programme in 1976-77.

Steve Ogrizovic, former Coventry City footballer and now goalkeeping coach, knew Mike for 30 years and said he was saddened to hear of his death.

He said: “Mike was not only a good and very trustworthy journalist but he was also a genuinely nice man.

“We used to chat for a long time about sports of all kinds, and he certainly had a keen interest in cricket.

“Working with the media is a two-way process and while Mike was always very honest in his appraisals, he was always very straight which is why he had such a good relationship with the players and staff over such a long period of time.”

Mike is survived by wife Diane, children Simon, Helen, Nicky and James, and his grandchildren.

His funeral will take place at Nuneaton Crematorium on 28 May at 10.30am.

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  • May 22, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I had the pleasure of being around the Sky Blues when Jimmy Hill and others were in charge. Mike was great fun and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

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