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Journalist quits daily to run football club press office

Will WattA sports journalist has left a regional daily to work for a local rival of the football club he has reported on for the past four years.

Will Watt has worked his last day at The Gazette, Blackpool, before taking up a new role as head of communications for Fleetwood Town FC.

He has reported on the fortunes of Blackpool FC since 2012, covering a turbulent period in the club’s history which has seen supporters and owners at loggerheads over a perceived lack of investment.

Will, pictured above left, and his Gazette colleagues have also had access to Blackpool’s players and staff restricted in recent years, with club chairman Karl Oyston stating in September 2015 he had done so for “commercial reasons”.

Two months prior to that Will, who was highly commended in the Regional Journalist category at February’s British Sports Journalism Awards, publicly called on the Football Association to step in to stop the practice of clubs banning media outlets.

A total of nine separate men have served as manager or caretaker manager since Will took over the role from predecessor Steve Canavan.

In a farewell piece for The Gazette, he wrote: “It’s ironic I’m walking away just when Pool appoint a manager who appears a dream to deal with.

“I spoke to Gary Bowyer the night he was appointed. We’ve shared coffees since and he seems a thoroughly good guy.

“When I told him I was leaving, he said: ‘Wait until I tell Karl. Seven managers have tried and I’ve got rid of you in three weeks!’ He was joking … I think.”

Last season Will’s new employer survived a relegation battle in League One, English football’s third tier, which saw Blackpool go down. The two clubs home stadiums are less than nine miles apart.

In his piece, Will concluded: “The past four years have been a crazy, bizarre, tough and ultimately disappointing spell for the club.

“The Gazette has stood-up for what was right, showed it still has huge relevance to the community and campaigned for supporters. And I was incredibly proud to report on all of it.”

The Gazette is currently seeking Will’s successor, and the role is being advertised on HTFP.