August 29, 2003


My old boss Mark Day remembers Australian football legend Jack Dyer, a longtime columnist at the paper where I first worked, and a famously clumsy radio commentator:

It was unrehearsed and unconscious. And it was endearingly funny, although some folk in radio felt his rough edges should be knocked off. A voice tutor was hired to give him elocution lessons, which he rejected because "my full back got killed doing that". His former team-mate's day job was as an electrician.

Jack was never one to remember names. In 20 years of knowing him, I never made it past "son". If memory lapses made life a trifle difficult as a football caller, it was minor compared with the time Dyer was hauled into the witness box in a libel trial.

Truth also published an anonymous sporting column called The Count a repository for all the goss no self-respecting reporter would put his (exclusively male in those days) name to. At issue in the court was the name of the author of The Count. Dyer, a former copper, took to the witness box and swore himself in, whereupon the plaintiff's QC cut straight to the point: "Mr Dyer, who is The Count?"

"Er, I dunno."

"How long have you worked at Truth?"

"Ten years."

"Well, you must know the people you work with."

"Yeah, well, there's the Pig, there's Mother, there's Mopsy, there's Bluey."

"Step down, Mr Dyer."

What a place to work. When I first joined the paper, in 88, many of the staff were banned at several local bars. For brawling. Amongst themselves.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 29, 2003 03:34 AM

Ahhh the Truth. Actually it was a pretty crap paper Tim. The way I remember it - towards the end of its life more than half of it was the form guide.

Posted by: Alex Hidell at August 29, 2003 at 11:24 AM

Man's greatest achievement: getting The Sporting Globe (in the pink) and The Herald onto the streets by 7pm on a Saturday night, each with last race result, final football scores AND magnificent black and white action shots.

That's scores collated, pics developed, stories written, papers printed and delivered.

Copies in the middle of the bundle would still be hot.

Posted by: ilibcc at August 29, 2003 at 02:01 PM

The last-race Herald was a thing of beauty, especially when the three-quarter time football scores (the latest the paper could run) were too close for a final result to be called. Remember headlines like: "FEATHERS FLY AS HAWKS, PIES CLASH"?

Posted by: tim at August 29, 2003 at 02:20 PM

We really need more papers like that. There's a place for a paper that is proud to print trash.

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at August 29, 2003 at 02:23 PM

The afternoon Herald - now you're talking. Melbourne streets haven't been the same since they stopped echoing with the paper-sellers' plaintive call, "Heeeaarld".

Mind you I could have done without the ink all over me.

Posted by: Alex Hidell at August 29, 2003 at 04:41 PM