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RIP Mel Watman

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  • Trickstat
    replied
    Originally posted by Conor Dary View Post
    The pocket size AWs were really great...was never the same in the A4 style.
    I agree and I don't think it's just nostalgia saying that as I think I was only about 19 when they changed. It coincided with a change in ownership and editorship that brought a distinct drop in quality. Things recovered a little later but never really approached the earlier era.

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  • noone
    replied
    Did he publish the Bird’s Eye books in the ‘70’s? I loved those.

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  • Vault-emort
    replied
    Sad day. The first 'overseas' T&F book little me ever bought was 'Athletics 1975' featuring Mel's work (and edited by another legend Ron Pickering).

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  • Conor Dary
    replied
    At that dinner he gave me a copy of his new newsletter Athletics International...which of course was pocket size...he also told me he was doing the odds for some bookmaker on athletics. The thing I remember most is Watman telling me, in all seriousness, that he didn’t follow the sport that much anymore. I tried not to laugh.

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  • gm
    replied
    Originally posted by Conor Dary View Post
    The pocket size AWs were really great...was never the same in the A4 style.
    I used to delight in digging through the stacks of magazines at a particular newsagent in Waterloo station because there would very occasionally be a couple back issues of AW tucked into the mass of other titles. It was like discovering gold to a teenager who was fascinated by the pocket-size magazine that covered my favorite sport. Mel was one of a kind and a superb person as well as one of the best ever at his job.

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  • Conor Dary
    replied
    The pocket size AWs were really great...was never the same in the A4 style.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trickstat
    replied
    RIP - for me the undisputed doyen of British athletics/track & field journalists/statisticians. I started to get interested in the sport when my older sister took it up, although my parents had met through the sport in the 50s (they are of a similar ago to Mel). The 1976 Olympics took my interest to another level (when I was allowed to stay up to watch it given the time difference) and I remember rushing downstairs on successive Saturday mornings so that I could read the Olympic issues of AW before anyone else got hold of it. I was 8 years old. My parents had started subscribing to it again the previous year.

    AWs coverage of the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Olympics by Mel and his colleagues remains for me the best British coverage of the sport at the Games. The same goes for their coverage of the 1978 and 1982 Europeans and Commonwealths and the 1983 Worlds. They also did great coverage of meets like the World Cup, European Cup and European Juniors plus the big domestic meets.

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  • Conor Dary
    replied
    Initially Watman wanted to be a bus conductor or a wing-half for Arsenal but a school trip to the AAA Championships at the White City in 1950 changed his life.

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  • gh
    replied
    AW story

    https://athleticsweekly.com/athletic...83-1039949759/

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  • Conor Dary
    replied
    That really sucks...I had dinner with him in London in 2002...what a great guy.

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  • TWalsh
    started a topic RIP Mel Watman

    RIP Mel Watman

    It is with great sadness that we have to acknowledge the passing of Mel Watman earlier today. To the sport of Athletics he was foremost in reporting our sport from his background as a leading international statistician whose enthusiasm was not dimmed even until the end. When speaking to him just a few days ago, when his terminal cancer had become more widely known, he commented how lucky he had been to spend his life writing about his track and field heroes and heroines and travelling the world to do so.

    The working relationship between Mel and Track & Field Tours was a long and fruitful one with his ranking data part of our recent Tokyo 2020 / 21 Supporters Information guide as it has been over many decades at all major events. The thrill of working with him, “talking track” and assisting him promote some of his more recent books to clients was an extension of reading his reports as a teenage athlete in the old pocket size “AW”: back then seeing your name in the results that Mel curated brought such joy to us novices of the sport. The magazine under Mel’s stewardship was the route into a lifetime love of a sport for so many of us and he was a very major influence – the David Attenborough of Athletics in our time perhaps?

    It is hard to believe that chatting to Mel in early August, when he was his usual lively self, will now be just a fond memory of a much valued friendship. Mel leaves his wife Pat who he had cared for so lovingly in recent years whose nieces and nephews will now take up the baton now Mel’s leg has been run.

    David Barnett
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