Patrick Collins nominated to be next SJA President

Patrick Collins, the five-times SJA Sports Writer of the Year, was tonight nominated by Sir Michael Parkinson to be his successor as President of the Sports Journalists’ Association.

Patrick Collins: President-elect of the SJA
Patrick Collins: President-elect of the SJA

Collins had been the chief sports writer for the Mail on Sunday until his retirement earlier this year, and in addition to his Sports Writer awards, during his stellar writing career he had also collected six other SJA Sports Journalism awards.

Sir Michael made the announcement in a video message played to the packed audience at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden tonight, at the beginning of the annual Sports Journalism Awards dinner, sponsored by BT Sport and partnered by Ladbrokes and the Laureus Foundation.

Sir Michael had hoped to preside over tonight’s occasion, which was to be his final duty after a decade as SJA President. However, an urgent operation to his wife, Lady Mary, during a visit to Australia had delayed the couple’s journey back to Britain. Lady Mary is recovering satisfactorily, Sir Michael said.

Sir Michael is the SJA’s third President, following John Bromley and Chris Brasher. During his term, he has been a strong supporter of the Association’s events and helped steer the organisation through the financially tough times of the recession, using his personal contacts in business and the media to help secure important new sponsorships.

“I’m sorry I can’t be with you tonight,” Sir Michael said, explaining the circumstances of his absence.

“As I stand down after 10 great years when I have been honoured to be the SJA President, I am delighted to nominate Patrick Collins as my successor.”

The nomination of Patrick Collins – a career-long member and supporter of the Association – was discussed at a recent committee meeting, when it was agreed unanimously.

With the proposal from Sir Michael and the committee, Patrick Collins’s name will be put forward for formal election by the membership at the SJA’s annual meeting, to be held at the Cock Tavern in Fleet Street on April 22.

“Sir Michael will be a tough act to follow, of course,” Steven Downes, the SJA secretary, said tonight. “But in Patrick Collins, whose journalism is universally admired and respected and who has staunchly supported the aims and efforts of the SJA throughout his career, we are especially fortunate to have someone who can help us through the next period in our development.

“I know that our chairman, David Walker, myself and the rest of the committee are looking forward to having Patrick on-board.”

  • Further reports from tonight’s SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by BT Sport, will be published on through the evening, or you can follow proceedings on Twitter via the #SJA2014 hashtag or @SportSJA


Wed, Apr 1: BT Sport/SJA lunch with Olympic champion rower Andrew Triggs Hodge. Booking details here

Mon Apr 13: SJA Spring Golf Day, Wimbledon Park GC. Booking details here

Tue Apr 21: Young sports journalists social event, Covent Garden

Wed May 13: SJA York Races Day, sponsored by Ladbrokes, at the Dante Festival. Click here to book your places

Tue May 26: Young sports journalists social event, Covent Garden

Tue July 14: Young sports journalists social event, Covent Garden

Mon Sep 14: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill Golf Club