Tributes have been paid to Vic Wakeling, left, who rose from covering local league cricket to become managing director of Sky Sports and Sky News.
While Sky’s head of football in 1992, Vic used his contacts to mastermind a deal to show live football on the network following the formation of the Premier League.
Vic’s print career beforehand had seen him work at Newcastle daily The Chronicle before becoming sports editor at the Birmingham Evening Mail, later moving to Fleet Street.
John Lamb, vice-president of Birmingham Press Club and press and PR director at Greater Birmingham Chamber, said: “I worked with Vic Wakeling on both the Birmingham Mail and in Fleet Street and he was one of the most talented journalists I knew.
“I was his deputy when he was sports editor of the London Evening News. His professionalism and attention to detail was second to none.
“When the News closed Vic went into television and made a significant and lasting impression, rising to managing director of Sky News.”
Born in Low Westwood, County Durham, Vic spotted an advert for a junior reporter at the Blaydon Courier while on his paper round.
He cycled six miles and was waiting outside when the editor arrived to open the office. He was given the job on the spot.
As a cub reporter, he earned extra money by covering local football and cricket matches for The Chronicle.
Later, he moved to Birmingham to produce the Mail’s Saturday sports Pink’un before his national media career began.
Vic is survived by his wife, Sue, three daughters, Sally, Caroline and Kate, and a son, Rob.