Oliver Holt is to move to the Mail on Sunday to take over as the title’s chief sports writer when Patrick Collins retires at the end of January.
The hugely respected Collins, now 70, announced his retirement to sportsjournalists.co.uk last month, after having been the Mail on Sunday’s sports columnist since launch, 32 years ago.
SJA member Holt is tonight in Rome, covering Manchester City’s Champions League campaign for the Daily Mirror, where he has been chief sports writer since 2002. Before that, Holt had worked at the Liverpool Echo and The Times, where he joined in 1993 first as motor racing correspondent, before becoming chief football writer and, from 2000 to 2002, as chief sports correspondent.
Holt told sportsjournaloists.co.uk: “I am very grateful for the opportunity to work for the Mail on Sunday. It’s a paper and a group that still prides itself on investing in journalism and I’m looking forward to attempting to repay their faith.
“Taking over from someone as admired and respected as Patrick Collins is a daunting prospect but I’ve never lost sight of how lucky I am to be in this profession so I’m going to make sure that’s it’s fun trying.”
Holt is the second leading figure to leave the Mirror’s sports department in recent weeks, following the paper’s football correspondent, Martin Lipton, becoming deputy sports editor at The Sun.
The double departures may give the paper’s newly appointed sports editor, David Walker (who is also the chairman of the SJA) a possibly unanticipated early opportunity to re-shape his writing staff.
Alison Kervin, the sports editor at the Mail on Sunday, said, “I’m delighted that Ollie has accepted the job as chief sports writer of the Mail on Sunday. He’s a confident and engaging writer and a brave and outspoken columnist.
“Replacing Patrick Collins was never going to be the easiest job in the world, but in Oliver Holt we’ve got the best sports writer on Fleet Street and we have lots of plans for great stories and powerful columns. It’s a very exciting time.”
Lee Clayton, the Mail Group’s head of sport, also welcomed the appointment, saying, “It is a brilliant coup for the paper and adds to our stable of powerhouse talent published on MailOnline.”
Geordie Greig, the MoS editor, said, “Oliver Holt is the stand-out sports journalist on Fleet Street and I’m delighted that he’s joining the Mail on Sunday’s sports department to make it even stronger in 2015.”
Holt, 48, has twice won the SJA’s Sports Columnist of the Year award, most recently in 2011. He was succeeded to that title in 2012 by… Patrick Collins.
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