Former Athletics Weekly editor Mel Watman has written a tribute about our former member Neil Allen, who died last Friday.
NEIL ALLEN (14.11.1932-13.9.2019)
It is with deep regret that I report the death, at the age of 86, of my good friend Neil Allen. Of all the athletics writers I have worked alongside since the 1950s, Neil ranks as among the most knowledgeable, compassionate and stylish. He was deservedly a sports journalism award winner and was both a friend and mentor to generations of Britain's leading athletes.
Neil, a modestly talented middle distance runner who joined Woodford Green AC in 1950, began his journalistic career in the best possible way, learning his trade on a local newspaper – the Stratford Express in East London – and in 1952 he became an editorial assistant to Norris and Ross McWhirter on their marvellous, ground-breaking monthly publication Athletics World. His assignments included being present at Iffley Road on May 6 1954 for a certain mile race. That year he started a lively gossip column in Athletics Weekly entitled "News Commentary" which later, for contractual reasons when he became athletics correspondent of The Times in 1955, was transformed into "On My Travels" by "Roamer".