Chasing Harrison Ford and watching great goalscorers: Ex-sports reporter reflects on 45-year career

A veteran of the Midlands sports beat has released a new book detailing almost half a century of anecdotes from across the region.

Retired sports reporter, Mike Couth, looks back at 45 years covering the Midlands
Retired sports reporter, Mike Couth, looks back at 45 years covering the Midlands

Former sports reporter, Dennis Coath, 75, looks back on a career spanning more than forty years as a sports reporter in the Midlands in his new book, 'Rats, Pies and Pigeon Poo'.

Dennis, who spent 45 years on TV and radio, recalls fond memories of watching prolific goalscorer Arthur Rowley join Shrewsbury Town in 1958, chasing Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart on a boating holiday on the Llangollen canal and "wonderful days" at Ludlow races.

He said: "I remember watching 'The Gunner' Arthur Rowley, who still holds the record for the most goals in the history of English league football, join Shrewsbury Town in 1958.

"He was called The Gunner because of his fantastic left foot - it was like a cannon. He scored 152 in 236 games for Shrewsbury Town... what a goalscorer. That's one of my first memories of Shrewsbury, 38 goals in his first season. Amazing."

In 2004, Dennis joined news reporters from around the country chasing down Hollywood stars Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhard, who were attempting a quiet getaway on Shropshire's canals.

"It was supposed to be a total secret, a clandestine boating holiday, but some people by the canal managed to get a selfie with the pair so I was sent to Shropshire to find them.

"I spent the whole day in this futile search, we were always about an hour behind them. We found a pub where Calista had eaten a pie, and spoke to lots of people who'd seen them but we could never quite catch up with them."

But Dennis's favourite memory from Shropshire are the days he spent at Ludlow races.

"Best day out in Britain without a doubt," he explained, "Ludlow race course is a real country racecourse. Such a wonderful throwback to the old days, beautiful scenery, old buildings, just a wonderful day.

"A big hero of mine is Tony McCoy - that man could ride donkeys home to win - he started off at the back of the field, 12 to one and majestically brought this horse through the field.

"It was so effortless, like he was lifting the horses over the jumps, it was so wonderful to watch."

Dennis was inspired to put pen to paper after helping trainee journalists with work experience.

He said: "You can't teach what it's like in a newsroom, we had a lot of students on day release and had to correct a lot of things they'd learnt in the classroom.

"I thought 'I could write a book on this!' So there's two audiences: aspiring students, and people who want a good laugh."

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News