Malcolm Brodie Media Centre Opens at National Football Stadium
A specially commissioned interpretative display honouring the memory of the sports journalist Malcolm Brodie has been unveiled at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park, Belfast.
It was presented by Martin Lennon, managing director of O’Hare & McGovern, the Newry-based construction company, which was the main contractor for the £35m redevelopment scheme at the stadium.
The huge display on the wall of the new Malcolm Brodie Media Centre details the career of the legendary writer who died in January 2013, aged 86, after more than 50 years reporting on matches across the world, including 14 World Cup tournaments.
Former colleagues belonging to the Northern Ireland Football Writers Association, of which he was a former president, were among the guests who heard Mr Lennon reflect on the life and times of the former Belfast Telegraph sports editor whom he described as once being the elder statesman of sports journalism in Northern Ireland.
He said: “He was without question a legend of his trade, known and respected throughout the world, and he was just as happy mixing with the fans here on a cold winter’s night, as he was rubbing shoulders with the game’s great and the good at an international fixture somewhere on the far side of the globe.”
Other senior O’Hare and McGovern management members, the IFA president David Martin, the Association’s Chief Executive Patrick Nelson, the Olympic Gold medalist Dame Mary Peters, as well as members of Mr Brodie’s family, including his widow Margaret, also attended the event.
The stadium which has a capacity for 18,500 fans, was officially opened last October at the completion of a two year redevelopment scheme.
The state of the art media centre can facilitate up to 150 journalists, including photographers. Mr Brodie’s seat in the Press box was retrieved before the old South Stand was demolished.
It is believed the new media centre is the first at any major football stadium in Ireland that has been named in honour of a journalist.
Mr Lennon added: “It’s a tribute to who Malcolm was, and what he represented and a reminder of where he came from, his achievements, the journalistic heights he reached and how he was held in high regard by so many colleagues.
“He set standards which hopefully will be maintained in this room. Accuracy and integrity meant everything as he went about his business in that inimitable style of his.”
The BBC’s Jackie Fullerton, a lifelong friend and president of the Football Writers, said: “He was a colossus in the world of journalism, respected and cherished in equal measure – a beacon of wisdom and professionalism.
“The fact that the media centre is being named after him is a source of profound pride for our association.”
The IFA President said Malcolm Brodie’s contribution to sport generally, and particularly football in Northern Ireland, had been immense.
Mr Martin added: “He was a great champion for Northern Ireland football at both international level and for the local game, covering them extensively in the professional manner of a man at the top of his game.
“It is a fitting tribute to Malcolm that the new media centre bears his name, given his standing among his peers in journalism.”
Mr Nelson, the IFA Chief Executive, agreed. He said: “It’s fitting that the current generation, and future generations of football writers will be filing their copy from a centre named in his honour.”
During today’s event, the BBC’s Stephen Watson, who is chairman of the Football Writers, conducted a question and answer session with Dame Mary, another close friend of Mr Brodie who recalled the first time she met him, just before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
She said: “I walked into this vast newsroom and asked: ‘Which one of you is Malcolm Brodie?’ Everybody just erupted in laughter because they thought everyone knew Malcolm. Ever since that day we just clicked.”
Mr Brodie headed up the fundraising campaign to build the athletics track at Upper Malone, Belfast in her honour in the aftermath of her women’s pentathlon gold medal win at the 1972 Munich Olympics.