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Football writer wins promotion to Premier League role after 24 years

MikeBaggaleyA long-serving regional daily football writer is moving on after more than two decades for a new role covering a Premier League club.

Mike Baggaley, left, has worked at Stoke daily The Sentinel for thepast 24 years, mainly covering League One side Port Vale.

He has also had stints covering Stoke City and more recently Crewe Alexandra and Chester FC alongside his main role.

Now he is moving to Reach plc sister titles Birmingham Live and the Birmingham Mail to cover Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Mike looked back at his time with the Sentinel in a first-person piece published last week.

Wrote Mike: “I’m excited about the new Wolves job, going to cover a great club. But in moving on from the Vale post, I am also leaving a great club and friends and colleagues who have given me so many happy memories.”

Among his recollections was being sent to the Stoke suburn of Blurton to interview a parrot that could say ‘Up the Vale!’

“At least the parrot was prepared to give me a quote, not always the case with everyone while covering the club in harder times,” Mike commented.

He added: “My time at the Sentinel hasn’t been unbroken Vale service. It includes five years covering Stoke with Martin Spinks because the paper wanted two reporters on the case when they were first promoted to the Premier League.

“The changing nature of football coverage has meant also taking on Crewe and Chester FC in the last three years, an impossible task to follow the popular and knowledgeable reporters Pete Morse and Dave Powell at their respective clubs.

“I was also extremely lucky to work with the late Chris Harper, the former long-serving Vale reporter who couldn’t have been more helpful to me. The same applies to Martin Spinks and now Pete Smith who is continuing the high standards Martin set in the Stoke job.

“And I’ll miss sharing away trips and press boxes with Phil Bowers, the BBC Radio Stoke Vale reporter and commentator who always leads the post-match interviews, leaving me marvelling at the way he gets the best even from angry managers, wielding his microphone like a lion tamer with an upturned chair.

“But it wouldn’t be fair to the sub editor who has to fit this on the page to list everyone who has helped me over the last 24 years.

“Thanks to them and the Sentinel readers who have put up with my ramblings over the years. I just hope you all know I’ll always be grateful.”