It is with tremendous sadness that I pay tribute to Hugh McIlvanney following his untimely passing. Hugh’s contribution to the field of sports writing, and in particular, football writing, was immeasurable.
His writing was a consistently perfect blend of flair and accuracy and he blazed a trail for a generation of sports writers. Where he led, others followed. In the short time since his passing, innumerable tributes have been published. That so many of those from today’s crop of sports journalists carry the recurring theme of Hugh having inspired them to join the profession goes some way to doing justice to the impact he had on the field.
His reporting on Scottish football saw him develop close personal relationships with some of our game’s most important figures, including Sir Alex Ferguson and Jock Stein. His impact was rightfully recognised with induction into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Hugh was a giant of the game and a true pioneer, in a world where that term is often used far too liberally. On behalf of everyone at the Scottish FA, I would like to extend my condolences to his family.