Stephen Bierley, a Guardian sports desk stalwart since 1979, is the latest announced to be leaving the newspaper, as part of wide ranging redundancies to try to stem the business’s £100,000 per day losses.
Bierley and several other journalists from throughout the news room were named today among 40 voluntary redundancies. Ben Clissitt, the head of sport for the Guardian, Observer and their websites, has already left the paper.
It was also announced today that Guardian News and Media is selling the Manchester Evening News to Trinity Mirror in a £45 million deal that ends a 130-year association between the Guardian and the evening paper. Trinity will take charge of another 31 regional titles as part of the deal, which is due to be completed next month.
Bierley, to his amusement described today by his own newspaper as its “veteran tennis correspondent”, says he has no immediate plans. “The Guardian had a voluntary redundancy scheme, which I had a look at last year, and this year I decided to take,” he said. “It’s as simple and as complicated as that.”
Bierley, 62, had started his career on the news desk of the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, where Tom Taylor, father of Graham Taylor, the Watford, Aston Villa and eventually England football manager, was sports editor. Bierley also worked on the Grimsby Evening Telegraph and Kentish Times before joining Reuters in 1975, where he worked alongside Matthew Engel, who would become The Guardian‘s cricket correspondent.
After a dozen years on the Guardian‘s sports desk as a sub and writer, Bierley was made athletics correspondent in 1993, succeeding John Rodda, finding himself covering both athletics and tennis during the Olympic year of 1996. “At one point in Atlanta, I had a back-page lead about a Peruvian 20-kilometre race walker.
“By the end of the night, it was down to one par.”
The clash of sports saw Bierley concentrate on tennis thereafter, although when he did not travel to Melbourne last month to follow Andy Murray’s progress to the final of the Australian Open, it was apparent that he was probably among the latest tranche of staff to be leaving The Guardian.
He says he has no immediate employment plans.
The Guardian, meantime, will be using freelance Simon Cambers for its tennis coverage, with Kevin Mitchell covering the Grand Slam tournaments, as he did from Melbourne.