Patrick Collins steps down as Sports Journalists’ Association President after eight years

“Patrick is a true legend of the British press pack… we will miss his wise advice,” says SJA chair Ashley Broadley, as five-time Sportswriter of the Year decides to bring his spell as the Association’s fourth President to a close…

By Jon Holmes

Patrick Collins has served as SJA President since March 2015

The Sports Journalists’ Association has thanked Patrick Collins for his professionalism, wisdom and geniality after the “legend” of sportswriting’s decision to step down as President.

Collins succeeded Sir Michael Parkinson in March 2015 to become the SJA’s fourth President, taking on the role just a couple of months after his retirement from the Mail on Sunday at the age of 70.

During his eight-year tenure, Collins – who is a five-time winner of the prestigious John Bromley Trophy, as well as the recipient of six other SJA British Sports Journalism Awards – has helped to guide the Association through industry challenges and changing times.

The Journalism Awards and the SJA British Sports Awards continue to be held in high esteem by editors and broadcasters, athletes and administrators – and a key figure in those ceremonies has been Collins, welcoming guests and winners, always with the right words and a warm smile.

He got his first job on the Sunday Citizen back in 1965, and as a reporter, columnist and feature writer, he went on to cover every summer Olympic Games bar one from 1972 until 2012, as well as 10 FIFA World Cups, world title boxing fights, famous Test matches in cricket and rugby union, and many more memorable sporting occasions.

Collins was in attendance at the SJA’s Annual General Meeting in London on Wednesday, and said afterwards: “Being President of the SJA was the greatest privilege of my career.

“I should like to thank all the Committee members, past and present, for the extraordinary work they do.

“They have made the past eight years an absolute delight. My successor could not be working with kinder or more talented people.”

Ashley Broadley

In announcing the news at the AGM, SJA chair Ashley Broadley recognised Collins’ qualities as President alongside his career achievements.

“I would like to thank Patrick for his kindness and support over the years,” said Broadley.

“Patrick spent almost 50 years on Fleet Street, and is a true legend of the British press pack.

“A talented writer, a brilliant interviewer – I could go on and on.

“But, most importantly, he is a wonderful and lovely person who will always be a friend of the SJA and a friend of mine.

“We will miss his wise advice, his knowledge of the business and his fantastic stories.”

Collins continued to contribute articles to the SJA website, and highlights in the archive include his tribute to the late Chris Brasher – the SJA’s first President and co-founder of the London Marathon – who was honoured posthumously at the 2020 British Sports Awards.

Back in November 2014, when Collins announced his intention to retire early in the following New Year, Norman Giller wrote: “I admire his sense and wisdom in getting off the mountain at the top.”

Patrick proved to be equally prudent as President, and a figurehead who sports journalists old and new have continued to look up to.

The SJA’s Committee is now beginning the search for the Association’s fifth President.

SJA Presidents

2015 to 2023: Patrick Collins

2004 to 2015: Sir Michael Parkinson

2002 to 2003: Chris Brasher

1990 to 2002: John Bromley