first_imgShare via Email From the Vault: Requiem for the heavyweights Sport paul webster (@paulfwebster)Hugh McIlvanney was a giant among journalists, a powerful and beautiful writer whose coverage of some of the great sporting events of his era is still talked about today. The Observer is saddened by his death, and proud of his legacyJanuary 25, 2019 He also had the nous to visit Muhammad Ali’s villa just hours after he had beaten George Foreman in Zaire and was rewarded when Ali gave him the lowdown on how he had beaten the fearsome champion by sitting on the ropes and letting Foreman punch himself out. “Truth is, I could have killed myself dancin’ against him,” Ali admitted, while eating two steaks, eight scrambled eggs and several pints of orange juice.Paul Webster, editor of the Observer, echoed the sentiments of many, calling McIlvanney a “giant among journalists, a powerful and beautiful writer whose coverage of some of the great sporting events of his era is still talked about today”. “The Observer is saddened by his death and proud of his legacy,” he added. The BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker said “his gravelly Scottish voice will be missed as much as his wonderful copy” while the former Manchester United player Brian McClair recalled a time when he entered the United coach’s room and had everyone “roaring with laughter”. McIlvanney, who also wrote a number of books on football, boxing and horse racing, was awarded an OBE in 1996 and named the Sports Journalists’ Association’s writer of the year six times. Share on LinkedIn … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. 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Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. From the Vault: Hurst’s hat-trick wins the World Cup Read more The Football Writers’ Association, of which McIlvanney was a life member, called him “one of the true greats of sports writing”.The former Mail on Sunday chief sportswriter Patrick Collins, who is the president of the Sports Journalists Association, said: “When his countless admirers speak of Hugh’s writing, they recall the rolling phrases, the astute insights, the dramatic sense of occasion. But those who worked with him — and especially the heroic subs who placed paragraph marks on his copy — will tell of the tireless perfectionist, the man whose Sunday would be spoiled by a misplaced comma or a wayward colon.” news Reuse this content Read more Jonathan Legard (@legardj)Hugh McIlvanney had the magnificent ability to find the right words and express them in a spellbinding flow. Here’s a prime example 25, 2019 Share on Facebook Danny Kelly (@dannykellywords)RIP Hugh McIlvanney, Britain’s greatest sports writer, and my chum. We argued like cat and dog, but always made up. And when you were having a proper barney with Hugh, his use of language (he spoke as elegantly as he wrote) made you secretly glad you were fighting. #genius 25, 2019 David Walsh (@DavidWalshST)One of the greatest ever sportswriters Hugh McIlvanney died last night. He was an inspiring colleague at The Sunday Times and a wonderful companion. Great memories. Deepest sympathy to Hugh’s wife Caroline and to his family.January 25, 2019 Since you’re here… Support The Guardian Few writers could match the Scot’s way with words, his eye for detail, or his contacts book. McIlvanney was close with some of the most well-known figures in sport, such as former Manchester United managers Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson; Bill Shankly who managed Liverpool; and Jock Stein, the former Celtic and Scotland manager. Topics Share on Pinterest Hugh McIlvanney has been the master craftsman of our magnificent triviality Share on Messenger McIlvanney was arguably never more moving than when writing about the Welsh boxer Johnny Owen slipping into a coma from which he would never recover after a world title fight against Lupe Pintor in 1980. “Our reactions are bound to be complicated by the knowledge that it was boxing that gave Johnny Owen his one positive means of self-expression,” he wrote. “Outside the ring he was an inaudible and almost invisible personality. Inside, he became astonishingly positive and self-assured. He seemed to be more at home there than anywhere else. It is his tragedy that he found himself articulate in such a dangerous language.”Some of the writer’s most memorable pieces for the Observer covered Ali’s boxing career. The former heavyweight boxing champion paid tribute to McIlvanney in 2016, saying: “His words were a window to the lives, the courage, the struggles and the triumphs of the great champions of his time. He has contributed richly to the fabric of our sport.” Six of the best of McIlvanney in the ObserverThe Rumble in the Jungle: In 1974, a matter of hours after Muhammad Ali beat George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle, McIlvanney headed to Ali’s villa and was granted an extraordinary two-hour audience with the world champion.The Thriller in Manila: McIlvanney’s 1975 dispatch from Quezon City in the Philippines after Ali’s triumph over Joe Frazier.1966 World Cup final: McIlvanney was the Observer’s man at Wembley.Celtic win the 1967 European Cup: McIlvanney on the remarkable scenes in Lisbon as the Glasgow side won the biggest club prize.Matt Busby retires: McIlvanney’s assessment of the legendary Manchester United manager after he stepped down in 1969.Johnny Owen’s tragic last fight: In 1980 McIlvanney reported from Los Angeles on the tragic end to Johnny Owen’s challenge for the world bantamweight title. Share on Twitter Read more Share on WhatsApp Hugh McIlvanney, whose prose and insight lit up the Observer’s sports pages for three decades and brought him a string of awards, has been hailed as “a giant of journalism” after his death at the age of 84.McIlvanney, who also worked for the Sunday Times for 23 years before retiring in 2016, had a ringside seat for many of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century including the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974 and England’s World Cup triumph in 1966. But being there was one thing; continually captivating his readers quite another. Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker)Very sorry to hear that Hugh McIlvanney has died. Truly one of the greatest sports’ writers of all time. His gravelly Scottish voice will be missed almost as much as his wonderful copy. #RIPHughJanuary 25, 2019last_img


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