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Home: All Other Football Interests: Obituaries and Remembrances:
David Meek (Journalist)

 



John Treleven
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Nov 4, 2018, 12:52 PM

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David Meek (Journalist) Can't Post or Reply Privately

MEEK, David
died Tuesday 30th October 2018, aged 88

Guardian

Quiet yet authoritative, David Meek was part of the Old Trafford furniture. The long serving Manchester Evening News reporter, who has died at the age of 88, was a gentle and courteous man who earned the unwavering trust of Sir Alex Ferguson

There is something about Manchester United that seems to attract loyalty and longevity. If you can make a name for yourself there you will find little need to look anywhere else, and that is certainly true of David Meek, the long serving Manchester Evening News reporter who has died at the age of 88.

Put simply, none of the present generation of sportswriters on the Manchester scene will be able to remember a time when Meek was not part of the Old Trafford furniture. A stirring writer yet gentle and courteous man, Meek had been covering United for 28 years before Sir Alex Ferguson arrived, and spent the next 26 seasons ghosting the programme notes of the club’s most successful ever manager. That represents over half a century of service, almost unheard of in modern football, and though Meek’s association with the Evening News came to an end in 1996 his relationship with Ferguson endured because it was built on trust.

Partly that was because Meek took over as United correspondent in the dire circumstances immediately following the Munich air disaster of 1958, filling with some distinction the breach left by veteran reporter Tom Jackson, who lost his life in the crash. Partly it was because Meek brought his experience and judgment to bear early in Ferguson’s Old Trafford career when his editor wanted the newspaper to join the chorus calling for the manager to be sacked on the basis of a specially commissioned poll of fans’ opinions.

Meek not only felt the fans ought to give Ferguson more time, he believed the numbers had been skewed by mischief makers of a Manchester City persuasion, and said as much in a reasoned article that must have disappointed anyone hoping for a sensational slant. Ferguson and Meek survived as a partnership, and went on to mutually enjoy the club’s greatest period of sustained success.

Quiet yet authoritative, Meek may never have become a football reporter at all but for Munich. At the time of the tragedy, though excited like everyone else in Manchester by Matt Busby’s young team and its progress in Europe, he was a political journalist and leader writer for the Manchester Evening News.

When it became clear that a new United correspondent was needed to satisfy a global interest in the club’s recovery, editor Tom Henry asked his most capable writer to switch from news to sport. “It was not something I had previously considered, but in an emergency you do whatever you can to help,” Meek said some years later. “Over time I got to quite like the job. I did it for 37 years.”

In that time he encouraged countless young sports reporters with friendly words of advice and support as well as following United’s fortunes through the highs of the successful European Cup campaign under Busby in 1968 to the low of relegation just six years later.

His favourite memory from all the glory games he witnessed – George Best’s mesmeric performance against Benfica in the Stadium of Light in 1966 – also gives an impression of his prose style. “I can still see him, slim, boyish, dark hair shining in the floodlights as he scythed through the Benfica defence,” Meek said in the weeks following Best’s death. “George’s second goal was the finest I saw in 37 years reporting on Manchester United. I can still remember leaping to my feet, against all press box etiquette, so stunning was the fluid movement from a boy of 19.”

Not every M.E.N. dispatch could be as thrilling or memorable as being in at the birth of El Beatle, but like all good sportswriters Meek enjoyed the challenge of deadlines and the immediacy of the task, particularly when covering games for the old Saturday football pink. “It wasn’t exactly an exercise in quality writing but for me it was the most exciting part of the week,” he said.

Though he undoubtedly lived and worked through extraordinary times Meek was never one for boasting or banging on about the good old days. On the contrary, the quality most admired in Meek, within his own profession at least, was his generosity and friendliness towards those who came afterwards and sometimes found modern football a less than welcoming workplace.


R.S.Cavendish
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Nov 4, 2018, 6:41 PM

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Re: [John Treleven] David Meek (Journalist) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Another absolute gentleman has now passed on. He was one of the most helpful of men in the Old Trafford press room, unlike some of his successors.


Karb
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Nov 4, 2018, 11:22 PM

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Post #3 of 4 (10940 views)
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Re: [R.S.Cavendish] David Meek (Journalist) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I remember his columns in the United programmes of the early 80s. Though no fan of United, I did enjoy his writing style.



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Feversham Lens
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Nov 13, 2018, 2:32 PM

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Re: [John Treleven] David Meek (Journalist) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

David Meek's funeral is in Manchester on November 21:

https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/...ndary-york-reporter/

 
 


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