A daily journalist has highlighted the value of regional sports journalism – and criticised those who fail to appreciate it – after winning a prestigious national honour.
Both James Olley, of London’s Evening Standard, and Jon Colman, of Cumbrian Newspapers, were highly commended by judges.
Neil’s acceptance speech won praise from Sky Sports home page editor Jon Holmes.
Jon described it is a “great speech” on the “value of regional sports journalists, often underappreciated by clubs they cover”.
— Sports Journalists (@SportSJA) February 27, 2019
Neil told HTFP he had been inspired to make the speech after recalling an incident in which Portsmouth FC’s former press officer had told him in 2008 that the club “no longer needed the local paper” after their FA Cup win.
He said: “Quite a lot of people came up and shook my hand as I left the stage. There were so many great and talented people in that room, and a lot of people at various stages who have been banned by football clubs.
“Nearly every person on the regional shortlist had suffered that. They can try and silence us, but we’re always there.”
More than 600 guests were at the gala dinner at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, hosted by Jim Rosenthal.