Paul Hayward, the award-winning chief sports writer at the Daily Mail, has been signed up to join the Guardian media group, the biggest coup in a range of sports desk changes set to take place after the Beijing Olympics.
The Guardian is losing its sports news reporter, Paul Kelso, who is leaving after 12 years in various roles at the paper to join the Daily Telegraph, where he is expected to replace David Bond following his promotion from sports news correspondent to sports editor.
And meanwhile in Derry House, athletics writer Rob Draper is to succeed Ian Ridley as the Mail on Sunday‘s football correspondent. Ridley is expected to continue as a columnist.
The news of the moves emerged – inevitably perhaps – in the press bar at the Main Press Center in Beijing this week, and was first reported by sportsjournalists.co.uk.
Hayward, pictured above left, has worked at The Guardian before, having had a brief spell there a decade ago. Originally working at the Racing Post, he has worked at The Independent and was chief sports writer at the Daily Telegraph before he joined the Mail.
No one at The Guardian was available to comment, though it is understood that Hayward’s new job as a senior sports writer will involve him working across all three platforms at GNM – the daily paper, The Observer and their website.
Hayward was named Sports Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2002 and 2003, he was also the SJA Sports Writer of the Year in 1996.
Hayward is expected to join his new employers after their move to a new, multi-media converged newsroom office in December. “We are incredibly excited by the move,” one source said.