ONE of the legends of Scottish sportswriting is set to retire after more than 40 years in newspapers.
Doug Gillon, athletics correspondent with The Herald since 1977, has announced he is to stand down from the Glasgow-based broadsheet next week.
Awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s Scottish Press Awards, Gillon, who turns 64 on Monday, remains one of the most revered journalists in his field, having reported on every Commonwealth Games since they arrived in Edinburgh in 1970.
He has accepted a provisional offer to write a column and one other piece a week for The Herald, in addition to returning later this year to cover his eleventh successive games in Delhi.
Gillon, who spent nine years at The Sunday Post before joining The Herald, told allmediascotland: “Forty-two years as a hack and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I will enjoy continuing to write a couple of pieces a week.
“For most people, especially those who are fortunate enough to enjoy their work, going from full-time one week to absolutely nothing the next week is not easy.
“If you’ve got an addiction, you wean yourself off it. And I’ve been addicted to being a sports journalist for 42 years so I’m going to wean myself off it gradually, hopefully without suffering too many withdrawal symptoms.”
Gillon will file his final staff copy next weekend at the Scottish Athletics Championships before hopefully heading off to Cornwall for a relaxing break.
Adds the veteran: “As a specialist writer, the challenges and difficulties of the area I cover is that there is only one of you and so you’re basically on call all the time. I expect I will miss the hustle and bustle to a degree but I’m very much looking forward to recapturing and regaining my life.”
Among the early tributes is one from UK Athletics chair, Ed Warner.
Gillon was presented with a gift from Warner at Wednesday’s Super8 athletics meeting at Scotstoun Stadium, in Glasgow.
Said Warner: You have done outstanding coverage for our sport for a very long time. I know everyone who reads your work appreciates it.”
Fellow sports journalist, Mark Woods, added: “Although Doug knows every statistic, every winner, every face, he is one of the most generous folk in the trade at helping others out with titbits of information accumulated during his brilliant career.
“In an era in which football dominates the back pages of Scottish newspapers, he has continued to stand out from the crowd and set a standard in athletics coverage for everyone else in the UK.”