Tributes to football fanatic who ghost-wrote Bobby Moore's column

Hugh Southon has passed away at his home in Torquay
Hugh Southon has passed away at his home in Torquay -Credit:Claret & Hugh

A football fanatic journalist who ghost-wrote the late Bobby Moore's newspaper column has passed away following a long illness. Hugh Southon, who retired to Torquay, is also renowned for having set up fan website Claret & Hugh for Moore’s former club, West Ham United.

The 79-year-old died peacefully at home in Torquay on March 23, after suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for many years. His funeral took place on May 3. He leaves a daughter, and several grandchildren.

West Ham owner David Sullivan is among those who have paid tribute to Hugh following his passing. He said: “He was a really nice man who I knew for over 40 years when he ghosted Bobby Moore’s column in the Sunday Sport.

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“He invented and ran one of Britain’s best fan sites in Claret and Hugh, a must for West Ham United fans down the years. He’ll be missed by everybody at West Ham, where he was a supporter and season ticket holder.”

During his career, he wrote for almost every national newspaper, mostly for sports sections of the tabloids. During the 1980s he ghost-wrote World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore’s column. He then established Claret & Hugh.

The site started out as a blog but has gone on to be regarded as West Ham’s daily online newspaper. Quickly gaining a weekly audience of more than 100,000, Claret & Hugh is now a business employing other journalists.

A painting of Hugh Southon by artist Canning Town Len
A painting of Hugh Southon by artist Canning Town Len -Credit:Canning Town Len

Hugh was a regular churchgoer and passionate Christian. He served as director of Son Christian Media Ltd, publishers of Sorted magazine, and helped launch The Son evangelical tabloid newspaper.

He had a love for family, football, film, cricket, and music, particularly The Rolling Stones.

Tabloid colleague and fellow SCM director Duncan Williams said: "Hugh and I spent many years living and working in Devon. We often engaged in amusing conversations about life, politics, and God.

"Hugh cherished his involvement with Christian media in his later years, much like his love for West Ham football club and the Rolling Stones. Despite his paradoxical nature, Hugh was truly an old-school journalist with ink in his blood.

"I always admired how he managed to quit drinking one day, although unfortunately, he struggled to do the same with cigarettes."

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