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October 22, 2012updated 01 Nov 2012 4:16pm

Martin Samuel named top UK sports journalist in Press Gazette top 50 poll

By William Turvill

This piece first appeared in the Autumn edition of Press Gazette – Journalism Quarterly, to take out a subscription (from £20 a year) – call 0845 073 9607. Please specify if you would like your subscription to begin with the current edition.

Daily Mail columnist Martin Samuel has been voted the top sports journalist in the UK following a poll of Press Gazette’s readers.

Samuel said he was “taken aback” by the news. “I’m always surprised to win anything. I voted David Walsh top because of everything he has done on Lance Armstrong, but I could have voted for a dozen other journalists for different reasons.”

Samuel, who moved to the Mail from The Times in 2008, thanked his colleagues on the sports desk and said he felt “very, very lucky” to work where he does.

He said: “The Daily Mail has never been anything but wonderfully supportive of me. I couldn’t work for a better paper. The people I work for on a day-to-day basis are fantastic.”

Samuel has also previously worked for The Sun, the News of the World and the Daily Express. He started his career as a “tea boy” at Hayters sports agency.

Voted into second place was Samuel’s first-choice vote, sports writer and author David Walsh.

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Samuel said: “I could vote for guys as columnists, as story getters and some people that I regard as unsung heroes that do fantastic jobs for their newspapers on a limited budget.

“But when the vote came through all the Lance Armstrong stuff had come through and I just thought the work David had done on that was so exceptional.

“There was a great deal of risk involving his credibility and his finances, bearing in mind that Armstrong came after him. I thought that should be acknowledged.”

Press Gazette invited readers to take part in an online poll in the weeks following the conclusion of the London 2012 Olympics this summer.

More than 150 individuals, including some of the top names in British sports journalism, took part in the survey. Everyone who voted was invited to name their top ten sport journalists and votes were then allocated accordingly.

The top ten journalists are listed in order of votes and then the remaining 40 names are listed in first-name alphabetical order.


Martin Samuel

Samuel is a columnist for the Daily Mail. Here, he tells Press Gazette how and why he got into sports journalism, what advice he'd give to aspiring journalists and the challenges of covering the Olympics and modern-day football.


David Walsh 

Walsh was vindicated for his tireless reporting of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal this year when the seven-time Tour de France winner was stripped of his titles and given a life-time ban. The Sunday Times man was among only a handful of sports reporters who refused to be scared off the story, despite being pursued through the courts by Armstrong’s lawyers. Here, he tells Press Gazette how he helped expose the disgraced cyclist.


Henry Winter

Winter is the Daily Telegraph’s football correspondent. Formerly of The Independent, he came top of Press Gazette’s last top 50 sports journalists list in 2010.

David Conn

Conn is a sports writer at the Guardian. He also has a blog – Inside Sport – and wrote the book The Beautiful Game? Searching the Soul of Football.


Paul Kimmage

Kimmage is a cycling journalist, published author and former professional road cyclist. He worked for The Sunday Times newspaper until earlier this year.


Paul Hayward

Hayward is chief sports writer at The Daily Telegraph. The ex-Observer journalist has twice been named sports writer of the year at the British Press Awards.


Mike Atherton

Atherton is chief cricket correspondent of The Times and also works as a broadcaster. He was captain of the England cricket team between 1993 and 1998.


Simon Barnes

Barnes is chief sports writer and columinist at The Times. He has written a number of books, including A Sports writer’s Year and The meaning of sport.


Oliver Kay

Kay is a football correspondent at The Times. He has made it into Press Gazette’s top 10 sports journalists list, having finished 18th in the 2010 vote.


Des Kelly

Kelly is presenter of talkSPORT and a Daily Mail columnist. Kelly is a previous winner of the Sports Journalists’ Association columnist of the year award.


Amy Lawrence 
Deputy football correspondent of The Observer

Barney Ronay 
Senior sports writer for the

Barry Glendenning 
Deputy sports editor at The Guardian

Ben Dirs 
Sports journalist at the BBC

Charles Sale 
Sports columnist at the Daily Mail

Daniel Taylor 
Chief football writer for The Guardian and Observer

Dave Kidd 
Chief sports writer at The People

Donald McRae 
Sports interviewer for The Guardian

Gabriele Marcotti 
Italian sports journalist and writer for The Times

Gary Neville 
Sky Sports journalist and former professional footballer

Hugh McIlvanney 
Scottish sports writer and Sunday Times columnist

Jacquelin Magnay 
The Olympic Games editor

James Corrigan 
Golf correspondent for the Telegraph

James Lawton 
Chief sports writer at The Independent

Jeff Stelling 
Sports journalist and Sky Sports presenter

John Cross 
Sports writer for the Daily Mirror

Jon Colman
Sports reporter at the News & Star and Cumberland News 

Jonathan Wilson 
Writer and sports writer for The Guardian 

Kevin Garside 
Sports writer at The Independent

Kevin Mitchell 
Tennis and boxing correspondent for The Guardian and Observer

Martin Lipton 
Daily Mirror’s chief football writer

Matthew Syed 
Sports columnist at The Times and former table tennis professional

Michael Calvin 
Writer and columnist for The Independent on Sunday

Neil Fissler 
Sports journalist for the Sunday Express

Neil Harman 
Tennis correspondent for The Times

Oliver Holt 
Chief sports reporter at the Daily Mirror

Owen Gibson 
The Olympics editor of The Guardian

Owen Slot 
Chief sports reporter at The Times

Patrick Barclay 
Sports journalist at the London Evening Standard and Independent

Patrick Collins 
Daily Mail columnist

Paul Kelso 
Chief sports reporter at The Telegraph

Phil McNulty 
Chief football writer at the BBC

Richard Williams 
Chief sports reporter for The Guardian

Rory Smith 
Football reporter at The Times.

Sam Wallace 
The Independent’s chief football correspondent

Sid Lowe 
Football columnist for The Guardian based in Madrid.

Stephen Jones 
Rugby correspondent for The Sunday Times

Tom Fordyce 
Chief sports writer at the BBC

Tony Barrett 
Merseyside football writer for The Times

Tony Evans 
Football editor of The Times

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