Hugh McIlvanney to be honoured at the 15th Cross Sports Book Awards

May 16, 2017

One of the most celebrated and influential sports writers of our generation will be honoured at the Cross Sports Book Awards with an Outstanding Contribution to Sports Writing award.

Hugh McIlvanney OBE, former chief sports writer for The Observer and The Sunday Times, will be presented with his award at a star-studded ceremony on May 24th at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

After nearly six decades in the profession he retired as chief sports columnist for The Sunday Times in March 2016 at the age of 82, but continues to contribute occasional features.

McIlvanney began his career with The Kilmarnock Standard as a news reporter, progressing to the Scottish Daily Express and The Scotsman, where he switched to sport. After joining The Observer in 1962, he remained with the paper as chief sports writer for 30 years (apart from an interlude writing international news features for the Daily Express) before moving in 1993 to fulfil the same role for The Sunday Times until 2003. Thereafter his regular column on the back page of sports section appeared for 13 years.

He was the first – and for over 30 years, the only – sports specialist to be named journalist of the year, until his Sunday Times colleague David Walsh was similarly honoured in 2012, the first foreign boxing writer to receive the Boxing Writers’ Association of America’s award for excellence in boxing journalism and has been inducted into three Halls of Fame.

He has enjoyed enduring relationships with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and the late Sir Matt Busby, Jock Stein and Muhammad Ali, famously covering an array of Ali’s greatest fights, including the trilogy with Joe Frazier and the “Rumble in the Jungle” against George Foreman. From the 1960s to the early 2000s, he reported on all Olympic Games and World Cup finals.

The highlights of the 15th Cross Sports Book Awards will be shown on Sky Sports from 29th May.