Jump to content
Lroy

Celebrity Deaths 2019

Recommended Posts

Tributes flow for former Observer and Sunday Times writer who covered some of sport’s greatest events

Hugh McIlvanney, one of the most respected voices in British sports journalism, has died aged 84.

McIlvanney, who was the Observer’s chief sports correspondent for 30 years until 1993, covered some of the most significant sporting events of the 20th century, including the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974 and England’s World Cup win in 1966.

He retired after 60 years in the profession in 2016, after spending 23 years with the Sunday Times.

Tributes poured in for the award-winning Scot, who was described as “one of the true greats of sportswriting, “a giant of journalism” and “the literary equivalent of Stein and Shankley”.

McIlvanney, who was best known for his coverage of boxing and football, was awarded an OBE in 1996 and named the Sports Journalists’ Association’s writer of the year six times.

The Observer’s editor, Paul Webster, said the paper was “saddened by his death and proud of his legacy”. The Sunday Times’s chief sports writer, David Walsh, described him as an “inspiring colleague” and a “great companion”.

 
The Football Writers’ Association said McIlvanney “left behind a legacy of prize-winning sportswriting and a reputation as one of the true greats”.

In a tribute on the FWA’s Facebook page the former Mail on Sunday sportswriter Patrick Collins, also the president of the Sports Journalists Association, said: “When his countless admirers speak of Hugh’s writing, they recall the rolling phrases, the astute insights, the dramatic sense of occasion. But those who worked with him — and especially the heroic subs who placed paragraph marks on his copy — will tell of the tireless perfectionist, the man whose Sunday would be spoiled by a misplaced comma or a wayward colon.”

 

McIlvanney also worked for the Kilmarnock Standard, the Scotsman and the Daily Express. Collins, recalling some of McIlvanney’s heroes and fine writing, added: “It was [George] Best whom he described as having ‘feet as sensitive as a pickpocket’s hands’. It was Best who gave him some of his most revealing interviews. And it was Best of whom he wrote: ‘He appeared to regard gravity as an impertinent con-trick, unworthy of being taken seriously, gracefully riding tackles that looked capable of derailing a locomotive.’”

Some of the writer’s most memorable pieces for the Observer covered Muhammad Ali’s boxing career. The heavyweight boxing champion paid tribute to McIlvanney upon his retirement in 2016, saying “His words were a window to the lives, the courage, the struggles and the triumphs of the great champions of his time. He has contributed richly to the fabric of our sport.”

Gary Lineker✔@GaryLineker

Very sorry to hear that Hugh McIlvanney has died. Truly one of the greatest sports’ writers of all time. His gravelly Scottish voice will be missed almost as much as his wonderful copy. #RIPHugh

 

Ed Chamberlin✔@chamberlinsport

The finest sports writer of his generation. Simply a master with words - written and spoken. His voicing of our Grand National opener made the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
RIP Hugh McIlvanney

 

Danny Kelly@dannykellywords

RIP Hugh McIlvanney, Britain's greatest sports writer, and my chum. We argued like cat and dog, but always made up. And when you were having a proper barney with Hugh, his use of language (he spoke as elegantly as he wrote) made you secretly glad you were fighting. #genius

 

 

Six of the best of McIlvanney in the Observer

The Rumble in the Jungle: In 1974, a matter of hours after Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle, McIlvanney headed to Ali’s villa and was granted an extraordinary two-hour audience with the world champion.

The Thriller in Manila: McIlvanney’s 1975 dispatch from Quezon City in the Philippines after Ali’s triumph over Joe Frazier.

1966 World Cup final: McIlvanney was the Observer’s man at Wembley.

Celtic win the 1967 European Cup: McIlvanney on the remarkable scenes in Lisbon as the Glasgow side won the biggest club prize.

Matt Busby retires: McIlvanney’s assessment of the legendary Manchester United manager after he stepped down in 1969.

Johnny Owen’s tragic last fight: In 1980 McIlvanney reported from Los Angeles on the tragic end to Johnny Owen’s challenge for the world bantamweight title.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The six part Radio Scotland series "The McIlvanney Conversations" with Geoff Webster is a fantastic listen. For me Hugh McIlvanney was not "just" a great sportswriter- he was a great writer, period. 

Another of the great ones passes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, DuncanEwart said:

The six part Radio Scotland series "The McIlvanney Conversations" with Geoff Webster is a fantastic listen. For me Hugh McIlvanney was not "just" a great sportswriter- he was a great writer, period. 

Another of the great ones passes.

Thanks for that. i didn't know those interviews existed. Here is the link if anyone else wants to listen

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02wfnvv/members

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, DuncanEwart said:

The six part Radio Scotland series "The McIlvanney Conversations" with Geoff Webster is a fantastic listen. For me Hugh McIlvanney was not "just" a great sportswriter- he was a great writer, period. 

Another of the great ones passes.

Yes heard that discussed last night, that he was a literary great who just happened to write about sport.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, DuncanEwart said:

The six part Radio Scotland series "The McIlvanney Conversations" with Geoff Webster is a fantastic listen. For me Hugh McIlvanney was not "just" a great sportswriter- he was a great writer, period. 

Another of the great ones passes.

That was a fantastic series of interviews, especially the one about the Ali fight.  What a fantastic working life he must have had. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought Hugh McIlvanney  spoke about Ali with great affection.

When I was younger, I remember reading Norman Mailer's book about the Rumble in the Jungle, "The Fight", and listening to George Plimpton talk about the same subject, and being impressed by both. Years later I heard "The McIlvanney Conversations" and Hugh was talking about these two writers, two giants of American writing, and saying something along the lines of "they were lovely fellas, but they didn't know a thing about boxing" and that was that as far I was concerned, my opinion was totally turned around.

Liam McIlvanney, William's son and Hugh's nephew, and a fine writer and novelist himself, wrote this great tribute to his uncle-

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/jan/26/hugh-liam-mcilvanney-appreciation-uncle-sports-writer-journalist-liam-mcilvanney

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, skygod said:

Jeremy Hardy (57), comedian. 

That’s a shame - he could often be very funny on the News Quiz. He once did a terrific monologue on the Harry Redknapp tax fiasco which literally had a me crying with laughter . I’ll see if I can find it on t’internet . 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/8/2019 at 7:45 PM, Wrangodog said:

"The Dresser" was my favourite. Just don't mention Daddy Warbucks, although his bank account probably gained plenty from "Annie". 

As Michael Caine said when told how rubbish "Jaws- The Revenge" was-

"I've never seen it...But I have seen the house I built with the money I got for doing it, and it's lovely."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


The Killie Trust

KFC Supporters Association

Young Kilmarnock

FC Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock FC (Official)

×