CMJ cut his teeth in journalism at The Cricketer after leaving Cambridge. He was assistant editor from 1968–70, answering to the overlord Swanton, “a good and influential mentor”.
He then moved to the BBC, but returned to be editor from 1981–91. He devotes a chapter to The Cricketer in his autobiography, A Cricketing Life, written shortly before his death in 2013.
He decided to rejoin The Cricketer in the summer of Botham’s Ashes, weary of overseas travel and mindful that he needed to be at home with a young family. It involved a salary drop, but his TMS work continued, and he commentated on the Sunday League on BBC2.
He describes “a cosy but cramped little editorial office rented by Ben Brocklehurst in Redhill”, where he “did his best to widen The Cricketer’s influence and sharpen its topicality.
“Swanton and John Woodcock were still writing, and the genial and quietly shrewd Vic Marks joined the board that already had Sir Colin Cowdrey and John Haslewood, a friend of Swanton’s and a director of Watney-Mann brewery, on it.
“Once a year we met for a two-hour board meeting at the In and Out Club in Piccadilly, followed by a three-hour lunch. Wine flowed freely and the company could not have been more convivial. No one remembered what had been discussed at the formal board meeting: Ben Brocklehurst continued to run the company’s financial affairs precisely as he pleased.”
CMJ resumed his duties as BBC cricket correspondent in 1984, but remained ‘less-hands-on editor’ until 1991.
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