Peter Hayter, cricket correspondent at the Mail on Sunday for the past 25 years, is among the first big names to emerge as casualties of the merger of the Daily Mail, Mail Online and Sunday title’s sports desks, which was reported last week.
Hayter announced his departure on social media, opening with the words from a Jule Styne song: “The party’s over… it’s time to etc.”
Sport and the papers’ and website’s foreign desks are the first to be merged in a shift towards a 24/7 operation in which online is believed to be given greater, global prominence. The news of the merger came barely a week after the Daily Mail had been named sports newspaper of the year and Mail Online as the sports website of the year at the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards.
Daily Mail head of sport Lee Clayton is in charge of the new integrated sport operation with Daily Mail sports editor Les Snowdon and Mail on Sunday sports editor Alison Kervin working to him.
SJA member Hayter’s Fleet Street career goes back more than 30 years, to the days of the world-famous sports news agency run by his father, Reg. After leaving Hayters, Peter Hayter worked for a variety of newspaper sports desks until he was made cricket correspondent of the Mail on Sunday in 1989. Since then he has collaborated with and ghost-written for Ian Botham, Phil Tufnelland, in 2005, the entire Ashes-winning England men’s cricket team. His 2008 book with Marcus Trescothick won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize.
Hayter described himself as being “streamlined” off the paper’s roster of sports writers. He is one of a number of Mail and MoS sports regulars who were facing meetings this week to discuss their futures. “It’s not just casuals and those on contracts on the Sunday,” one Derry Street source said. “People working on the Daily’s sports desk have been getting called in, too.”
Writing on his Facebook page this afternoon, Hayter said, “The paper graciously offered me some freelance work (not guaranteed) but will not be renewing my contract (contrary to earlier indications).
“So, after 25 years as cricket correspondent, the time felt right to make a clean break, without ill-feeling or a backward glance and I have written my last for the MoS, for which relief the reader will be offering much thanks.
“When the paper made me redundant two years ago they did so on the basis that they no longer needed or could afford a full-time cricket correspondent, then promptly gave me the job back on a freelance contract and now they have decided they were right all along. That’s showbiz,” Hayter said.
“The paper has been very supportive during some difficult times, less so in others, paid for me to see parts of the world I would never have visited otherwise and I’ll always have The Pelican,” Hayter wrote, referring fondly to a particular favourite watering hole for cricket writers when covering Caribbean tours.
He joked: “Will now be claiming my unclaimed daily tea allowance (£1.43) backdated to March 1 1989, which comes to £13,105.95p, but I’ll knock off the 5p as a goodwill gesture.
“Will be cracking on with The Cricket Paper (out every Friday, order your copy now) and enjoying something other people know as a ‘weekend’ for the first time in a quarter of a century. Much worse outcomes than mine for other very good guys who will need looking after. Good night and good luck.”
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