newspress

Who is the real motormouth?

I started my career working for the Macclesfield Advertiser after leaving college-aged 18. Eventually, after a spell as a court reporter, I became Sports Editor and that kicked off my lifetime love affair with Macclesfield Town, travelling to every away match, usually on the team bus.

It was a bit different to continually being picked out as a defendant. Often people in court were asked ‘and do you see that man before you’ then they’d point to me because reporters sat next to the dock. At first it was scary but eventually I got used to it. Covering the football was a bit different. People actually stopped trying to get me jailed!

I left the Advertiser to work for Raymonds News Agency in Stoke-on-Trent, where I found myself covering top-flight football with Stoke City and lower league football with Port Vale, along with news stories, including the famous Black Panther murder trial of Donald Neilson. Eventually, I moved to the Lincolnshire Echo as a sports sub-editor. When the Sports Editor was on holiday I’d find myself covering Lincoln City where the manager, Graham Taylor was having remarkable success before going on to eventually become England manager.

He was an incredible man. It was almost as if he had a photographic memory. After around two years I got itchy feet again and moved to the Sheffield Star as a news sub-editor. I loved Sheffield. The best part of it was getting lots of free tickets to see the world snooker championship at The Crucible. Every year I was everybody’s best friend for a couple of weeks.

The Daily Star is born

Then one day I got a phone call from the Daily Express in Manchester and was told that they’d heard I was a good sub-editor. I told them, “Well, I can hold a pencil,” and it wasn’t long before I was working full time on the Express. A month after I joined the Express, the Daily Star was born and I moved desks. I got an extra £30 a week for doing that, which was a lot of money in 1978.

Express Newspapers moved the Daily Star to Fleet Street and I went with them. It was such an exciting place to work and everybody knew and understood each other. There will never be anything like it again.

The invention of Motormouth

As the newspapers moved out of Fleet Street I moved too, this time across the River Thames to Blackfriars, and not long after that Motormouth was born when I found myself going home on the train with nothing to read, so instead invented Motormouth.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. People were no longer buying cars for reasons of speed or reliability. They were buying them to make a statement about themselves. It was all about the looks, the image. My Motormouth column first hit the streets after the then Daily Star editor, Phil Walker, asked me, while I was still editing the Express owned paper Truckstop News if I could produce a 16-page pullout for the Motorshow. In those days this was held at the NEC in Birmingham.

Yes, Britain actually had its own Motor Show. I had already tested a few cars by then with the intention of getting a column of my own, and seeing my chance, I put my column in the pullout. It was about a yellow Ford Escort which I called The Banana. Phil loved it and gave me a column immediately. that column grew from half a page to a page, a double page spread and, for 10 years, three pages before going back to two pages. Now, following The Mirror’s takeover of Express Newspapers Motormouth has gone, along with all the other Express Newspaper’s motoring writers and a lot of the staff. Times change, but Motormouth lives on with the start of my new column, the Real Motormouth. Enjoy …