After National Service in the RAF, Philip Osborn joined the Kidderminster Times as a junior reporter in 1953, before joining Birmingham Gazette & Evening Despatch and later the Daily Sketch , also Birmingham based.
In 1957, he co-founded the Walsall Press Service Agency.
In 1967, he and his family moved to East Anglia when he joined the Cambridge Evening News as district reporter at Newmarket. It was there that he developed his interest in local government, serving as an independent councillor on Newmarket UDC and later as Conservative member on Forest Heath District Council. One of his notable achievements was in saving Newmarket outdoor swimming pool, later redeveloped into an indoor pool and still in use today.
In 1969, Phil joined the staff of Football Pictorial Magazine and was involved in a management takeover in 1972. He worked at the Daily Express from 1978 to 1995, initially as a sports sub-editor and eventually as sports news editor. He was known as “The Banker” and wrote a weekly football pools column.
Phil joined the Daily Mail in 1997 as sports columnist and pools expert, where he wrote the successfulWhistleblower column that reached under the fingernails of the men employed to keep the peace in football.
Phil was also a renowned photographer and travelled the world during football close season as press and public relations officer for major cruise lines. His writing was not restricted to newsprint -his books have included topics such as horse racing, football pools and fiction. Most recently he founded the first Newmarket-based racing paper, Newmarket Extra .
In his spare time Phil loved golf, tennis, bridge and sailing.
He continued to work on a freelance basis for the Daily Star reporting on football until he entered Papworth Hospital, where he died peacefully in his sleep on 24 September.
Phil leaves behind his wifeCharlotteThelma, also a journalist, and children Sally, Mark, Simon and Elisabeth.
Christopher Hilton, who worked with Phil for 10 years on the Daily Express, said: “He was an old-school, all round journalist with an adolescent enthusiasm for the present and the future. In a profession notorious for angles, he constantly saw all of them.
“He could write news stories or features, sub them and lay them out with equal facility. He even brought his enthusiasm to computers, which he understood, early on, were A Very Good Thing.
“He was liberal with the laws of golf, hit a tennis ball hard, played snooker hard, asked questions at press conferences hard. Sometimes irascible, always irrepressible, he was – always -a bad weather friend.”