Mike Lockley reveals his “footballing” secrets

With the conclusion of the TV mini-series about footballer Bobby Moore, England’s World Cup winning captain, Trinity Mirror journalist Mike Lockley – a double-winner at last year’s Midlands Media Awards – has recalled the time he spent as the “double” for England’s World Cup winning captain. Not on the pitch – but as his ghost-writer for columns in Sunday Sport during the 1980s.

Mike Lockley is pictured receiving the Columnist of the Year award from Matt Walker at the 2016 Midlands Media Awards

Mike Lockley is pictured receiving the Columnist of the Year award from Matt Walker at the 2016 Midlands Media Awards

Mike, who writes for the Birmingham Mail and Sunday Mercury, told readers in his column for the Mercury:  “I was Bobby Moore. Seriously, I was Bobby Moore or rather the England captain’s alter-ego. And I was well-paid to impersonate one of the greatest footballers this nation has ever seen.

“Not that I possessed Bobby’s dashing looks, sublime soccer skills or wealth. But I was a better writer than the Hammers’ hero – and that earned me the plum job of being Bobby Moore, the sports reporter, not the England captain."

Mike also ghost wrote for other footballers, including Arsenal’s Charlie George and Liverpool’s Tommy Smith.

He added: “A number simply failed to ‘ring in’ after partaking of half-time libations. One famously engaged in a violent altercation while giving his assessment of the action. But gradually, I was elevated to the lofty status of being Bobby, a man given the impressive status of Sunday Sport sports editor.

“The World Cup hero – the subject of three-part ITV drama,  Tina And Bobby – was polite, punctual but, at times, a little less than animated. Squeezing out enough detail to fill a tabloid page could be hard work, even if the pitch action was thrilling.

“‘Sounds like it’s all kicking off at Stamford Bridge,’ I’d bellow down the phone, desperate for info. ‘Yeah,’ he’d reply in clipped, Cockney tones, ‘not a bad game.’"

Read more here: www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/sunday-mercury-writer-looks-back-12517254