Wigan journalist goes off air after 47 years of reporting on politics and Latics

A journalist who spent more than four decades reporting on political matters and Latics matches has stepped back from the airwaves.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 12:30 pm
Paul Rowley interviewing Paul Cook when he was manager of Wigan Athletic

Paul Rowley , 67, finished his time at the BBC with a marathon broadcasting session, where he spoke to 30 local radio stations from the corporation’s studio at Westminster.

It marked the end of an era, as he had been working for the BBC since 1994 and was first employed as a journalist 20 years earlier.

As well as being a political correspondent, he reported on Wigan Athletic matches home and away for many years for BBC Radio Manchester.

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Paul, who was born in north Ashton and attended St John Rigby Grammar School in Orrell, remembers writing to the Wigan Observer’s Cousin Rosemary column when he was just seven years old.

Paul said: “I was probably destined to be a journalist.”

His first job was with the Southport Visiter at the age of 19 in 1974.

Three months later Radio City went on air and he had a non-league spot from the first week.

His first football match on the radio was Wigan Athletic versus Mansfield City in the second round of the FA Cup on December 14, 1974. He had supported Latics since he was 13, after his cousin Derek Floyd played for them.

Paul moved to Radio City full-time three years later as a news reporter/newsreader while also covering sport.

He also worked on Granada’s Match Night from 1980 to 1983, with his first game on national television ending Wigan Athletic 0 Chelsea 5 in the FA Cup third round replay.

Paul moved to IRN as political correspondent in 1987 and also covered top-flight games, until leaving in early 1994 to join the BBC as the national political correspondent for local radio.

He continued covering football matches, mostly in London, for stations such as BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Manchester and BBC Radio Sheffield.

When Wigan reached the Premier League in 2005, BBC Radio Manchester asked him to report on Wigan’s away games, and in 2007 he started doing both home and away matches.

Well-known names from journalism and sport have paid tribute to Paul on his retirement, including Jeremy Vine and Martha Kearney.

Paul said: “At the minute I’m spending all my time replying to people who have sent lovely messages to me.”

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