Four of British sports journalism’s best-known and colourful characters have launched themselves into online publishing ventures.
Arch story-getter Harry Harris has teamed up with former Express and Observer sports editor Bill Bradshaw to devise Zapsportz.com together with Glenn Hoddle.
Separately, in Scotland, Bryan Cooney, the former Daily Mail sports editor, and Scottish Sun’s Jim Black, have joined forces to go online with No Grey Areas, a site which combines some reflections on sport and journalism, while promoting their existing after dinner speaking business, which they offer alongside former Scotland football international Andy Ritchie.
Zapsportz.com offers unique content from Hoddle and a selection of exclusive columns, star interviews and Harris’s award-winning stock-in-trade, breaking sports news.
“Not only that,” Harris said, “Zapsportz will be making the news with a fantastic new football talent search led by Hoddle himself.”
Called Zapstarz, Hoddle’s on-going search to discover footballing talent offers a 25-week programme from which the best young players will be invited to a coaching day with Hoddle and his team of coaches under the gaze of league club scouts.
“I am passionate about Zapstarz,” Hoddle said. “It’s a chance to change a generation of footballing talent. I get frustrated at how many young players can only comfortably use one their ‘good’ foot. Let’s make this generation comfortable using both feet. We can do it.”
Harris is devoting himself to the journalism and business of the project, having left ESPN.com after nearly four years as their chief football correspondent, following the American-owned company’s loss of its television rights in English football.
With funding from investors, Zapsportz – which is set to launch today – will offer exclusive stories about Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshire; Hoddle’s preview of the Premier League season, claiming that champions Manchester United will struggle to finish in the top four by next May, with problems for new manager David Moyes “all over the pitch”; and Tony Adams reveals that he wants to be the next Arsenal manager.
North of the border, Cooney and Black say that No Grey Areas will be “an interview website aimed not only at restoring confidence in a much-maligned Fourth Estate, but also giving the public a real insight into the famous and how they conduct themselves.”
Drawing from Cooney’s recent sporting legends interview show on BBC Radio Scotland, the site will cover film, theatre, music and books. On the site’s “Breaking News” section, there was a disappointing blank space with the message “Inside news, as they happen. Coming soon”, but Cooney and Black promise fortnightly blogs.
On the site now is a piece by Black railing against sports stars’ use of Twitter which invokes Rabbie Burns (they’re based in Scotland; it must be obligatory), Ian Poulter and internet trolls. Black and Cooney are now on Twitter, @NoGreyAreasuk .
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