The Gold Coast Bulletin
MAN OF WORDS
WIMBLEDON hero John Newcombe was revered for his exploits in a golden age for Australian tennis.
Seven Grand Slam singles titles, five Davis Cups and a No 1 ranking.
But he told the Gold Coast Bulletin that some of his best memories were on a handball court in a secluded Sydney office building with Brian Mossop, one of Australia’s most respected and loved sports journalists, who died on Wednesday, aged 82.
Mr Mossop worked on Australian cricket tours, the international tennis circuit and covered Australia’s first appearance at the soccer World Cup in West Germany in 1974, where he would be ushered through the back door at games by other journalists, officials and team members because he did not hold accreditation.
He remained close friends with Rale Rasic, the coach of that side, until the day he died.
Mr Newcombe said he knew Mr Mossop for 40 years. They would travel the world together, sharing a beer and stories of the tennis world.
“We had a handball court in one of the buildings I owned in which Brian had an office and we had some very interesting games out there. I met him when he was a reporter at The Daily Telegraph and he was assigned to work with me on a column. He came with me to Wimbledon and suffice to say we had a wonderful time and a heck of a lot of laughs.
“But while there are a lot of stories about our experiences, I can’t tell any of them because what happens on tour stays on tour,” he joked.
Mr Mossop, a journalist and author of more than 40 years, died at 7.30am on Wednesday surrounded by family, after a long illness.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia, and sons John, Paul and Mark.
Mr Newcombe led a stream of tributes to the writer, who was known for his love of sport, wine and his incredible generosity.
All of them remembered his brilliance with a word, kindness and that booming voice and laugh.
John Mossop said his father was a “gentle soul”.
“He was a fantastic father and the whole family remained close to the last day,” he said. “We even shared a beer with him on his last night.
“He was a gentleman and a gentle soul and it is comforting to hear so many good things have been said by those who knew him.”
Mr Mossop was born in East London, South Africa, on August 9, 1938 but left as a teenager in the 1950s “to seek adventure”.
He never returned.
He settled in Sydney, raised his family and worked for a number of newspapers including the Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph.
In 1989, he wrote the autobiography of netball great Anne Sargeant.
In 1991, the Mossop family moved to the Gold Coast. He served at the Bulletin for nearly two decades, spending many years as the paper’s food critic before retiring and moving to Kingscliff.
Close friend Michael Jacobson was among many colleagues who visited Mr Mossop in his last days and said he was universally respected.
“Brian loved journalism and was one of the kindest souls I have ever met,” he said. “He had an enthusiastic love of life and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. He was a consummate professional and lived an amazing life and will be missed deeply.”
Long-time friend Eddy Sarroff remembered Mr Mossop as a “true gentleman, a brother, father, mentor and a great friend”.
“I knew Brian going back to the early 1990s and he had the most beautiful personality which left an impression on everyone he knew,” he said. “He had a gentle nature, was a wealth of knowledge and was always there for people.”