Belfast Telegraph

Malcolm Brodie: Auld acquaintance not forgotten

By Jim Gracey

New Year's Eve on the Telegraph Sports Desk will never be the same again. For the first time in 20 years, no phone call to wish all his 'boys and gerrils' a Happy Hogmanay and a prosperous New Year.

Where has the year gone since our late, great Sports Editor, mentor, father figure and friend, Malcolm Brodie MBE, passed away on January 29 past?

It is on days like this that we miss him most.

A great traditionalist, Malcolm loved Christmas at home with his extended family. But, like all proud Scots, Hogmanay was when he came into his own.

Malcolm's enduring love affair with Northern Ireland began when he was evacuated here, to Lurgan, from his native Glasgow during the World War Two blitz, later returning to begin his journalistic career on the Portadown Times, moving on to found the Telegraph Sports Desk he quite literally looks down upon to this day.

"Hitler's gift to Ulster," he jokingly called himself.

"Out of the frying pan, into the fire, to Lurgan," I'd kid back about my own home town.

Such was his strength of character and personality, he never lost his distinctive Glaswegian accent in over 60 years among us.

And on New Year's Eve, the official birthday of all Scots, I'll swear it became even more pronounced.

A staunch member of the St Andrew's Society, Malcolm celebrate his Scottishness thrice yearly... on the patron saint's day, November 30, Burns Night on January 25 and, of course, tonight, Hogmanay.

The latter he invited his Sports Desk staff and the wider Telegraph family to share. A tradition repeated over the 40 years he reigned as our own Monarch of the Glen was enacted as the last evening edition of the year was put to bed.

As generous and hospitable a host, as he was demanding a boss, Malcolm would immediately unlock his drinks cabinet and declare open house to all comers to join him in a 'wee dram', every chink of crystal accompanied by his trademark 'Slainte mhath' (good health).

And then, in retirement, came the New Year's Eve phone calls, as clockwork as Big Ben's chimes.

Malcolm's journalistic legend has been well-documented and the department he bequeathed to us is his legacy.

But on days like this, we remember Malky the man, as his portrait looks down upon us ensuring deadlines are met and his standards maintained before a glass is raised in toast to the New Year and to him.

Here is one auld acquaintance that will never be forgotten... for Auld Lang Syne, Malcolm.

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