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MONDAY 4 MARCH 2024

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Ian Cole of Express Sport dies at 75

Ian Cole (centre) and his two friends, Ken Dyer (left) and Jeff Ives in front of the historic Adelaide scoreboard, to watch The Ashes in 2010

By JEFF IVES

Ian Cole, the former Express Sports desk night news editor, has died after a short illness aged 75. 


Ian provided a much-needed calming influence on the desk during his 15 years at the Express between 1982-97, a constant source of knowledge, information and humour, delivered in his inimitable ‘Mr Cool’ style.

His knowledge on all sports was second to none, always responsive to desperate calls from down table: “How long was so-and-so out with that knee injury?”


Instant reply: “Three months, left knee, scored twice in 3-1 comeback home win against whoever on whatever date.”  

You always got more than you ever thought possible from Coley, especially if it involved his beloved Essex cricket or West Ham United.


Above all, Ian, pictured, was totally supportive of all those around him from the star names and perhaps even more so, to any newcomer desperate to emerge from the shift with a clean sheet.


Away from Fleet Street, Ian also found time to play a leading role in his local amateur dramatics society, possessing a fine singing voice. That was never better displayed than the night a former sports editor, full of his usual closing time wisdom, returned to the office, put on his overcoat and announced that he had just left the job, before slamming the door on his way out.


The office was stunned into a long silence when Ian, so often the target for such late night venom, suddenly burst into song with the most heart-rending rendition of Michael Jackson’s hit song, changed appropriately to, ‘He’s out of my Life’.  


As usual with Ian, perfect words, perfect timing!


Ian spent over 40 years in sports journalism, 27 years on the general committee of the SJA with two spells as chairman, being awarded the 2009 Doug Gardner Award for contribution to sports journalism and the Association. 


We send our condolences to Ian’s wife Norah, son Matthew and daughter Susannah along with their family and friends. 


Pictures courtesy of the Sports Journalists’ Association