Long-serving Daily Star sports editor Wheatcroft ‘looking for a new challenge’

The rumours of Howard Wheatcroft’s retirement have been greatly exaggerated.

After 17 years as sports editor of the Daily Star, Wheatcroft admits he is not certain what his post-Reach future holds – but one thing is for certain.

“I’m too young to retire,” he insisted. “Because of coronavirus I couldn’t be with colleagues so on my last day at work I went out with some friends locally who gave me a ‘happy retirement’ card. I think it was a joke.

“I’m not quite 60 and I’ve enjoyed the last 40 years in print. I have got an open mind on what happens next but I definitely don’t have a book in me!”

Wheatcroft, a member of the SJA committee, was the longest-serving sports editor in Fleet Street. He took over from Jim Mansell – now at the Daily Mail – in 2003 having worked his way up in 1990 from casual to sports sub and eventually to deputy sports editor. He was also made head of sport across the Star/Express titles.

Now he is adjusting to being at home, a situation made worse by an injury sustained while playing cricket and which required a medical boot.

Wheatcroft added: “The boot’s off! I’m fine again. I always thought when I had some spare time that I would like to watch more live sport but I’ve been thwarted there.

“I’ve got my season ticket at Old Trafford and I will be watching more football and cricket on the tv. It is a big change from daily journalism.”

During his time at the Star the paper hit a circulation close to a million in the 1990s.

Wheatcroft recalled: “We more than punched our weight. People would say we did well on the budget but I’d say we did well, full stop. The Express was regarded as the high-achieving paper and we were always regarded as the younger sibling.

“I have really enjoyed the ride but now I have a new challenge. It is a bad time to be looking for work in print, because of coronavirus, and it is a declining market but I know one thing. I’m not retiring!”