Robert Phillip, from the daily title, and James Mossop, of the Sunday paper, are the latest two members of the sports department to leave the Telegraph group.
The departure of the two columnists follows Sunday Telegraph sports editor Jon Ryan and Daily Telegraph deputy sports editor Dan Evans, in what appears to be an “on-going restructuring” throughout the titles which led to the threat of strike action earlier this week.
SJA member Mossop, aged 71, marked his final day after 11 years at the Sunday Telegraph by being “banged out” by his British and American colleagues last Sunday at Augusta, where he was covering the Masters golf.
“I have been overwhelmed by texts, emails and letters from people,” Mossop, who had been given one month’s notice of the management’s decision, said. “It has been heartening to know that so many appreciate my qualities. My 11 years at the Sunday Telegraph were full of joy working under Colin Gibson and Jon Ryan who were never less than appreciative of my work.
“I have had a wonderful career: eight Olympic Games, ten football World Cups, big fights, major golf championships, F1 racing and so on with three awards plaques (two British Press Awards commendations and SJA’s Olympic Sports Writer of the Year for 1992).
“Stories covered include the high of being at England’s World Cup win in 1966 and the low of the Hillsborough disaster. My contacts book is lengthy and many of the sportsmen I have dealt with have become personal friends.”
Mossop recently wrote of the atmosphere that engulfed England, and its sports journalists, in the summer of 1966:
“The expectancy was incredible. Walking up Wembley Way to the final, you knew this was a very special day. I remember a little band of old men on the road who were busking, and they were playing There Will Always Be An England. I thought that was wonderful, it seemed so patriotic yet innocent in a way. Everyone was caught up in it. It was like the word cynical hadnâ€™t been invented â€“ now itâ€™s all about money. The guys who won the World Cup received a Â£22,000 bonus for the squad, and so they got Â£1,000 each, which was then taxed. Alan Ball said the tax was so much he vowed never to vote Labour again.
“After the World Cup final I went down to the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington where the England team were having their banquet and it was just gridlocked outside. No one was going anywhere â€“ people trying to get into London, people stopping off to have a look when the players came out on to the balcony. It was the talk of everywhere for the next few days and weeks â€“ it was heavily celebrated.
“I celebrated too. When they came out of the banquet most of the rest of the players went to Danny La Rueâ€™s club, but Jack Charlton suggested going out on the town. So we went to the Astor Club where a band were playing, and everyone recognised Jack immediately so bottles of champagne and whisky were coming over. We got invited to a party in Walthamstow and ended up sleeping on various sofas. I really canâ€™t imagine any young reporter going out solo with an England player now.”
Mossop said that he will long remember the tribute paid to him at the end of the day at Augusta National.
“I was extremely touched on the last day of the US Masters when the golf writers presented me with a framed picture of the Augusta National clubhouse and a splendid Masters clock. Above all, the emotions ran high when I was leaving the Media Centre, being applauded out by Brits and Americans alike, as in the old ‘banging out’ tradition of newspapers.”
Mossop began his career 50 years ago at the North West Evening Mail in Barrow in Furness and saw him have spells in the Daily Mail‘s Manchester office and at the Sunday Express before joining the Sunday Telegraph, as well as finding time to write books with the likes of World Cup-winner Alan Ball and the voice of golf, Peter Alliss. “I could slide into retirement,” Mossop said, “working on my golf handicap, establishing myself in a corner of the bar at my local, a la Norm in Cheers and enjoy my Cheshire garden and the surrounding countryside.
“But I am not quite ready for that. I may tackle a book or two and I am available to any newspaper or magazine editor who thinks I may be able to make a useful contribution from time to time.”
James’s contact details remain as per the 2008 SJA Handbook: 7 The Coppice, Hale Barns, Cheshire WA15 0DU. Phone: 0161 980 2663/07710 908362. Fax: 0161 980 2089
with the notable change that his email address is now: JMossop@compuserve.com.
Click here to access an archive of Mossop’s Telegraph work
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