Fleet Street mourns passing of Monte Fresco

Monte Fresco portrait
Monte Fresco: 1936-2013

Monte Fresco, one of the world’s most celebrated sports photographers, has died. He was 77.

Matthew Fresco, one of his sons, broke the sad news to the SJA today, saying, “He was a Mirror man through and through, having spent 25 years with the paper.

“He was the first dedicated sports photographer in Fleet Street and was a almost permanent fixture on the back pages. He never worked for another newspaper. His best work was published on the back pages on an almost daily basis.

An example of Monte Fresco's work: this one was the nuts
An example of Monte Fresco’s work: this one was the nuts

“I doubt many of your readers still remember him but they will know his reputation and his photographs. In fact everyone knows his photograph of Vinnie Jones grabbing Paul Gascoigne, but there were many other award-winning photographs.

“With the Mirror to support him he was able to develop a unique, cheeky style,” Matthew Fresco said.

Indeed, Monte Fresco was the 2003 winner of the SJA’s Doug Gardner Award, the Association’s highest honour, for services to the Association and to sports journalism. Monte Fresco is one of only four photographers to be so honoured.

Monte Fresco was part of a journalism dynasty. He followed his uncle Monty Fresco, an award-winning cameraman with the Daily Mail, into sports photography. His nephew, Michael Fresco, has carried on the family tradition as a Fleet Street sports photographer.

In a career that spanned 50 years, beginning as a runner for Topical Press in the 1950s, Monte Fresco covered seven World Cups, many European championships and more than 40 FA Cup Finals and Wimbledon Championships.

Matthew Fresco said, “It is a sad day for the family and for Fleet Street, a loss to sports journalism. Its perhaps the end of an era. He left four grown boys all with families and children of their own. Grandad will be missed by us all.”