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Newspaper’s former amateur sport reporter dies aged 93

Frank JohnsonA regional daily journalist who covered amateur sport over the course of three decades has died aged 93.

Tributes have been paid to Frank Johnson, pictured left, who covered grassroots football for the Liverpool Echo between the 1970s and 1990s.

Frank was the first Echo journalist to write its ‘Corinthian’ amateur sport column in the Pink Echo, a role he held until his retirement 20 years ago.

His successor Andy Boyd said Frank covered more than 20 football leagues, some with six or more divisions, and approximately two thousand teams.

Said Andy: “Frank was brilliant in assisting me in that handover period. Passing me a box full of all the contact names, telephone numbers and league handbooks he had accumulated during his time at the Echo and working alongside and guiding me in the transitional period.

“Nothing was too much trouble for Frank whenever I called for his assistance. He was a gentleman to whom I owe tremendous gratitude and respect. To me a man who depicted the true meaning of the word Corinthian.”

Jim Davies, the Echo’s current ‘Corinthian’ writer, said: “He was a highly-skilled writer, reporter and raconteur who needed no sensationalism or sarcasm to sell his story.

“A story-teller must also be a good listener and it was his patient yet detailed approach which engendered camaraderie amongst the fraternity, who continue to salute the foundations he laid down in print all those years ago.

“This story is evident as I try and follow his lead by doing justice to the man who touched the zeitgeist within amateur football reporting, re-defining ephemera in the process.”

Frank passed away on 7 January and his funeral was held on Tuesday in Llangynhafal, near Ruthin, North Wales.

Current Echo sports editor Dave Prentice said: “Frank had an infectious sense of humour – and his banter with the equally sadly missed Syd Dye was sparkling.

“His love of the sports he wrote about was evident in his work – and it is appropriate that he operated at a time when both amateur football and amateur boxing enjoyed a golden age.”