Mike Ingham’s career’s work recognised by SJA

Each year since 1989, the Doug Gardner Award has been presented by the SJA for services to sports journalism. In a quarter of a century, it had never been presented to someone who worked primarily in sports broadcasting. Until last night.

On an awards evening when the SJA introduced a fuller range of broadcast categories, that omission was put right, with Mike Ingham recognised for his career’s work… only for him to deny that it was a “career”, and to dedicate his award to his predecessors and mentors, Bryon Butler and Peter Jones.

Mike Ingham, centre with trophy, was for once left speechless. Almost. He is flanked, from left, by David Walker, James Lawton, Hugh McIlvanney, Jeff Powell and Patrick Collins
Mike Ingham, centre with trophy, was for once left speechless. Almost. He is flanked, from left, by David Walker, James Lawton, Hugh McIlvanney, Jeff Powell and Patrick Collins. Picture by Tom Dulat/Getty Images

The recently retired BBC football correspondent, Ingham is held in such high esteem among his sports writing, photography and broadcasting colleagues that when his name was announced at the British Sports Journalism Awards, sponsored by BT Sport, by SJA Chairman David Walker, it drew a standing ovation from the 400-or-so members and guests in the dining room at the Grand Connaught Rooms.

Flanked by an SJA “guard of honour” comprising Jeff Powell, James Lawton, Hugh McIlvanney and Patrick Collins, Walker said, “The Doug Gardner Award salutes a lifetime achievement by a SJA member. As you’ve seen tonight, the SJA is a broad church and we consider potential winners from newspaper journalists and photographers.

“But we have never before presented the Doug Gardner Award to a broadcaster.

“This year’s winner is acknowledged as one of the greats of his profession. A man whose professional success and reputation has never affected his fundamental openness and modesty.

“He’s had a long career. Just part of his remit was to cover the England football team and he had to work with 11 different England managers.

“Those of us who worked with him or travelled the world in his company felt privileged to have him as a colleague and a friend.

“Football managers who worked with this journalist all respected his professionalism, the way he went to see them before the game to gauge their ideas and tactics. And they also respected the way he constructively criticised them and their teams when performances weren’t good.

“In terms of radio broadcasting I’d suggest Mike Ingham should be rated right up there with his illustrious predecessors Bryon Butler and Peter Jones.

“The winner of the Doug Gardner Lifetime Achievement Award is Mike Ingham.”

Watch the video of the presentation, including Ingham’s acceptance speech, here:

Past winners of the SJA Doug Gardner Award

  • 2013: Jeff Powell
  • 2012: Barry Newcombe
  • 2011: John Samuel
  • 2010: Patrick Eagar
  • 2009: Hugh McIlvanney
  • 2008: Ian Cole
  • 2007: Chris Smith
  • 2006: Bill Colwill, OBE
  • 2005: David Welch
  • 2004: Morley Myers
  • 2003: Monte Fresco
  • 2002: Stewart Fraser
  • 2001: Ian Wooldridge
  • 2000: David Miller
  • 1999: John Bromley, OBE
  • 1998: Trevor Bond
  • 1997: Bill Bateson
  • 1996: Ken Jones
  • 1995: Alan Weeks
  • 1992: Tom Clarke
  • 1991: David Hunn
  • 1990: Dr Malcolm Brodie, MBE
  • 1989: Terry O’Connor
  • The SJA is the largest member organisation of sports media professionals in the world. You can become a member: Click here for more details


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