To a younger generation the spate of tributes to Malcolm Brodie, for a lifetime the sports editor of the Belfast Telegraph, may be a bit of a puzzle. “One of the greats,” a legend “ and so on may not be descriptions that you would easily associate with someone who gloried in the minutiae of Irish League football even in the heyday of Ireland’s Saturday Night. Malcolm pulled it off because he was three things. As a news journalist he was as sharp as a tack. A football romantic on a grand scale he added enthusiasm, dignity and heroism to local sport, often though not always against the odds (including cricket by the way). And most endearingly of all, he stayed loyal and locally rooted, although his contacts and knowledge ranged worldwide.
One of the tributes I don’t recognise is “typically modest.” But Malcolm’s self-regard was well earned; always at the service of the game and the Belfast Telegraph which he loved with passion, and he was kind and helpful to his colleagues young and old. Malcolm could work his way into any circle by the force of his charm and expertise with a unique brand of flattery that honoured both parties: “See you ,see me- sheer professionals!”
Malcolm Brodie’s talent matured in an age before live TV commentary, when words alone had to convey the action and emotion of the game. He was entirely conscious of the effect of his own magnificent hype, so exuberant that it rose above satire. He really did use the intro “Magnifico, Magnifico Magnifico”. His commitment as a born Scot to the Northern Ireland community and its affairs throughout his long life was free of cynicism and wholly admirable. It shines out as an inspiration for our present and future.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London