SJA recruits ‘Pit bull’, Alexander and Flatman

The Sports Journalists’ Association’s rapidly growing influence in sports media, as well as the wide-ranging benefits offered to members, has received further endorsement with the latest batch of colleagues signing up, who include a former pit bull of the England rugby front-row, top correspondents from the Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph, the Olympics reporter for London’s evening newspaper, and the man who when he was sports editor at The Sun helped to come up with the “Turnip” back page.

Brian Alexander is the former sports editor at the Mail on Sunday and The Sun, from the time of Graham Taylor’s morphing into a root vegetable, who is now an acclaimed broadcaster on BBC Radio 5Live (his latest questioning of London 2012’s Lord Coe went out last week). He joins the SJA this month, together with Brian Moore, the former England and Lions prop forward whose outspoken views now not only divide opinion among BBC television viewers, but also in two columns a week at the Telegraph.

It took Moore just two weeks before he used the phrase “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”, having opened his account in typical forthright style by declaring war on former sports stars who step into broadcasting, with not a pause for references to pots or kettles.

Matthew Beard, who has a busy few years ahead as the Evening Standard‘s Olympic correspondent, decided to join after he missed the SJA’s lunch with cycling chief Dave Brailsford that announced plans for a British Tour de France team from 2010. Beard will assuredly be at the next SJA lunch, with British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan (click here for more details and how to book).

Brendan Gallagher, the Telegraph‘s versatile reporter, did make it to the Brailsford lunch and was able to command some decent space in his newspaper the following morning. Before setting off to cover the Tour de France, he signed up for the SJA and so reduced his next expenses claim by a fiver (we charge £25 to non-members to attend our headline-making lunches; SJA members pay just £20).

Barry Flatman, rugby and tennis writer with the Sunday Times, managed to complete his membership papers during his busiest two weeks of the year at Wimbledon (albeit with our chairman, Barry Newcombe, standing at his shoulder, as he signed the form. Click here to download a membership form yourself if you are not already a member).

Others whose membership applications have been accepted this month include:
Tony Husband, BBC World Service
Paul Kelso, of The Guardian, shortlisted last year for the SJA’s Sports Diarist of the Year award
Richard Lee, photographer based in Newcastle
Patrick McCann, photographer
Andrew Robinson, a freelance from Essex
Andrew Rose, a photographer from Cumbria

“It is very encouraging to have so many high profile colleagues joining the SJA,” Steven Downes, the SJA’s Hon Secretary, said. Last month, Sky Sport’s Jeff Stelling and award-winning author Duncan Hamilton both joined the SJA.

“In our 60th year, we are keen to make the Association more active and relevant to as many sports journalists as possible – and to do that, we need the support and input of as many of our high-profile colleagues as possible.”

SJA MEMBERS: Make sure your profile details are up to date in the 2009 SJA Yearbook by clicking here