By Anton Rippon
Will Watt has worked his last day at The Gazette, Blackpool, and is taking up a new role as head of communications for League One club Fleetwood Town FC.
Watt is the sports journalist who called for the Football Association to take action against football clubs who try to ban newspapers from attending press conferences, interviewing players and managers, and even reporting on matches.
Watt’s plea came after Blackpool’s chairman, Karl Oysten, fell out spectacularly with the local paper he worked for.
Watt told sportsjournalists.co.uk at the time: “Karl Oyston recently went on record saying that fans should stick to the club’s official website for all the news – but that’s total nonsense. Local journalism is more important than ever in football and the industry must stand up to clubs who try to silence them.”
Watt was highly commended in the Regional Sports Journalist category at last year’s SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards.
In a farewell piece for The Gazette he wrote: “It’s ironic I’m walking away just when Pool appoint a manager who appears a dream to deal with. I spoke to Gary Bowyer the night he was appointed. We’ve shared coffees since and he seems a thoroughly good guy.
“When I told him I was leaving, he said: ‘Wait until I tell Karl. Seven managers have tried and I’ve got rid of you in three weeks!’ He was joking … I think.
“The past four years have been a crazy, bizarre, tough and ultimately disappointing spell for the club.
“The Gazette has stood-up for what was right, showed it still has huge relevance to the community and campaigned for supporters. And I was incredibly proud to report on all of it.”
If anyone fancies it, The Gazette is currently seeking Watt’s successor. Hurry, though, Applications close tomorrow.
- The SJA is the largest member organisation of sports media professionals in the world. Join us: Click here for more details
FORTHCOMING SJA EVENTS
- Thu Dec 15: SJA British Sports Awards, sponsored by The National Lottery