Posted: October 19th, 2015
Former Mirror Group journalist and later media consultant JOHN MADDOCK died in hospital on September 3 (2015) from cancer. He was 73.
When he was diagnosed with cancer six years ago, John opted to take part in an experimental drugs trial at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, regularly attending medical conferences and symposiums for young doctors talking about his treatment and how it was helping keep his illness at bay.
In a career spanning nearly 60 years, John held senior executive positions on a number of national newspapers, and offered advice and guidance to many high-profile sporting figures, most notably Clive Lloyd, Fred Trueman, Sir Alex Ferguson, and Tommy Docherty.
In 1971 he set up Maddock Enterprises, acting as media consultant and commercial adviser to a host of sportsmen and women, to football and rugby clubs and to the Professional Footballers’ Association. He also ran a successful after-dinner speaking service for many years.
In 1978 John made footballing history when he set up the first shirt sponsorship deal of any English football club, negotiating for Liverpool to carry the Hitachi logo. Other commercial deals were later arranged through Maddock Enterprises for Manchester United, Manchester City and others.
John Malcolm Maddock was born in Warrington on July 30, 1942. He started his journalistic career on his local paper, the Warrington Guardian, after leaving Penketh High School at the age of 15. Four years later he switched to the Daily Express in Manchester as a sub-editor on the sports desk.
In the mid-1960s he was persuaded to cross the city and join the Sunday People newspaper, owned then by IPC, as deputy northern sports editor. Later he became the paper’s northern sports editor and then combined the role with that of deputy northern editor. He later transferred to London as a special adviser to Robert Maxwell, who, in 1984, bought Mirror Group Newspapers which owned the Sunday People title.
A man of strong principles, John became disenchanted with the way Maxwell was running MGN, and in 1990, he quit newspapers to become deputy director of the initial, unsuccessful, bid by Manchester for the 1996 summer Olympic Games, alongside Bob Scott. John worked on the Olympic bid proposals for three years. His role ended in 1993 and he joined Manchester City as general manager, staying in the job for less than a year.
He went back to running his media consultancy full time, producing a number of football club magazines, including those for Northern and Shell run by Richard Desmond. When Desmond bought Express Newspapers in 2000, John returned to national newspapers as the London-based managing editor of the group. One of his first tasks was tackling the cost-base of the then loss-making group. He was also instrumental in setting up a northern printing centre at Broughton, near Preston.
Despite his illness, John remained active in the media world. One of his final ventures was daily visits to Chethams’ Library in Manchester to co-edit scores of volumes of war diaries and hundreds of letters written by a Manchester doctor during the First World War.
John, who lived in Sale, Cheshire, for most of his life, died peacefully in Wythenshaw Hospital, Manchester. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, with whom he would have celebrated his golden wedding anniversary in December, son Julian, daughter Heather and grandchildren, Christian, Lydia, Joshua and Kitty.