A thousand thanks for the souvenir edition of the Green’Un.
The last in any line is always special. As Paul Taylor said the Green’Un was part of South Yorkshire’s heritage. Its passing needed something special. A souvenir that captured every magical moment across 106 years. A tall order; a mighty tall order but you did it.
The heydays were all there. Keith Farnsworth’s vast memory bank; Harry Heap and his legendary cartoons; John Piper (mid-upper gunner in a Lancaster Bomber who long after he retired signed his Christmas cards ex-RBO); Hagan, Dooley, Currie, Waddle, Joe Mercer, Jack Charlton, Howard Wilkinson; the famous line-ups; Cup Finals (I was there in ‘66!); unforgettable pictures (the guy with a megaphone among the gems and my own favourite the pigeon loft!): dedicated, painstaking research.
There are only two print publications that will forever stay with me. I have both in front of me. One is the issue of The Star of 1 Jan 1070 “In 1970 this happens in Sheffield” for which we won the Campaigning Journalist of the Year award in the National Press Awards.
The second, of course, is the final edition of the Green ‘Un which captures almost every magical moment of those 106 years - no mean task given the scale of the magic. You did the paper proud and make those of us who carried the baton at one time or other feel equally proud. The guys in the wire room, comp room and machine room, telephonists, messenger boys and girls, copytakers, delivery girls and boys (including my son Garry!), Les Chew and the circulation team, newspaper sellers, van drivers, photographers (Harry Parker, Benny, Ernest Catley and all who brought those memorable pictures to us), subs and reporters.
The Green’Un was why I chose Sheffield. It was 1959. I was sports editor on the evening paper in West Hartlepool, the Northern Daily Mail. I’d taken a week’s holiday to go for five job interviews and got job offers from three evenings including Sheffield - the only paper to offer an extra 15s a week for working on the Saturday sports edition. I still have the letter from the editor (Gordon Linacre) confirming my appointment at £12 a week - plus the clincher. Fifteen bob extra for working on the Green’Un!
I edited The Star and Green’Un for ten years (1968-78). In 1968 The Star sold 210,000 and the Green ‘Un would also have been well into six figures. The combined staff to produce and deliver The Star, Green’Un and Morning Telegraph was huge - 825 in 1972! As Les Payne aptly put it. Farewell old friend.
The end of an unforgettable era was inevitable in the global world of instant access through internet, apps and mobiles. Here’s to the new online Green’Un and a return to the glory days for the Owls and Blades.
Colin Brannigan OBE, Ripon.