Manchester Evening News journalist David Meek.

David Meek - Obituary for a gentleman journalist

Staff at Manchester United were deeply saddened to hear that football journalist David Meek, a dear friend of the club, has passed away at the age of 88.

David was the Manchester Evening News' correspondent on United for 37 years, taking up the post in 1958 in the worst possible circumstances - by succeeding the great Tom Jackson, who tragically lost his life in the Munich Air Disaster. There is no doubt whatsoever that David would have preferred to take his turn as the newspaper's ‘Man at Old Trafford’ when Jackson decided that it was time to hand over the reins, but fate changed all that.

David's appointment was the start of a long and distinguished career covering the highs and lows, and the successes and failures at Old Trafford. Totally trusted, respected and generous, he was always honest in his appraisal of the team’s performances, whether it was a resounding victory or a disappointing defeat.

Like Jackson, he was recruited as a United Review columnist and over the years, he interviewed every manager from Sir Matt Busby to Sir Alex Ferguson and compiled their notes for the official match programme. He became more than just a football reporter, acquiring special responsibility for covering events at United and being accepted into the fold as a member of the club’s wider family.

David wrote, or co-wrote, several books about the club and its players, managers and personalities, and he was regularly called upon by radio and television to give his insight and opinion when big news broke at Old Trafford. He was also the editor and main contributor of the Manchester United Football Book which was published annually for many years, charting the course of the previous season in words and pictures.

For many years after he retired from the Evening News in 1995, David remained a familiar face at Old Trafford on matchdays, as a freelance journalist, consultant and contributor to club media, and at our training grounds, where he continued to keep a regular early-morning appointment with Sir Alex for his programme notes until the legendary manager stepped down in 2013.

The passing of anyone linked with the club is always a cause for extreme sadness and this latest departure is no different.

The thoughts of everyone at the club are with David's wife Liz, his family and many friends at this difficult time. They can be assured that his memory will live on as long as the football club and the Manchester Evening News exist. 

A PERSONAL NOTE

It was with huge personal sadness that I learned of David Meek’s passing. He was one of the truly great gentlemen journalists of his day.

When I became United Review editor, in the late-1980s, I was honoured and privileged to have David in my team as one of the publication’s writers.

He was a delight to work with and was always available if his help and expertise was sought. 

David Meek is inextricably linked with Manchester United’s history and we will always remember him fondly as ‘one of ours'.

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