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Ex-daily sports editor and international tennis umpire dies aged 82

Malcolm HetheringtonA former regional daily sports editor who was also an international tennis umpire has died aged 82.

Malcolm Huntington, left, spent 45 years covering York City Football Club for the city’s daily newspaper The Press, and was later made an honorary vice-president of the club.

He was twice named Yorkshire Sports Writer of the Year and awarded an MBE for his services to local journalism.

Away from journalism Malcolm was well-known as a tennis umpire, overseeing six Wimbledon finals and officiating at two Olympic Games.

He famously clashed with John McEnroe at Wimbledon, who sarcastically told him: “For a guy who can’t add two plus two, you’re doing a wonderful job.”

Of McEnroe, who was complaining after being correctly foot-faulted, Malcolm later admitted: “He was right actually. Maths was my worst subject at school.”

Malcolm was named chief umpire when tennis was trialled as a demonstration sport at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, and oversaw the ladies’ final, won by a German schoolgirl called Steffi Graf, who became a 22-time future Grand Slam winner.

She was only 15 but won the tournament and Malcolm went on to umpire her first Wimbledon final victory four years later against Martina Navratilova. He also umpired at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

Malcolm was York City writer at The Press from 1968 until 1995, having initially been employed at the former Yorkshire Evening Press in August 1949 as a copy boy, running messages and making tea.

After announcing his retirement from journalism in 2013 after a spell of freelancing, he took up the club’s offer of a year-long honorary vice-presidency.

Malcolm’s health had deteriorated in the past six months, and he died after a short illness last month.

He leaves a widow Gina, a daughter Alex Jane and son John, and four grandchildren.

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  • May 11, 2017 at 6:37 pm
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    I find it hard to believe that it was just over 30 years ago when I last subbed a Malcolm Huntington, York City match report. It seems like only yesterday when, as sports editor, I would ask for his copy a little earlier. It invariably arrived a little later! He would then ask if I could possibly write a headline without a pun or play on words. And did it always have to end with a dog’s cock! Malcolm was a delightful old school journalist. From an era that when given a club to cover it resembled a marriage. You stayed with them, for better or worse, for life. He was a kind and thoughtful family man who did the football club and the city proud. He also saw off a few sports editors along the way and I’m happy to have been one of them. If he could handle Mac, what chance did I have (dog’s cock!). Sorry Malcolm RIP old friend.

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