‘Exceptional’ Hampshire journalist Pat Symes dies aged 71

Footballers and journalists have hailed an “exceptional” sports reporter who died aged 71.

Tributes were paid to Pat Symes, who ran the Hampshire-based M&Y news agency for 40 years, mainly covering rival football clubs Portsmouth and Southampton.

Pat, pictured, also wrote a weekly column for former AFC Bournemouth player Steve Fletcher in the Daily Echo’s Sports Pink newspaper.

Mr Fletcher led the tributes on the official website of the club, which Pat had supported since 1959.

He said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pat Symes. He was an exceptional journalist and a lovely guy to deal with.

“I used to write a column in the Sports Pink with Pat and we had a good laugh, reminiscing about some of our games and some of the personalities connected with the club.

“He was a Cherries supporter and followed the fortunes of the club, both professionally and as a fan.

“He was also a great author and I remember he wrote a book about Malcolm Marshall, the Hampshire and West Indies cricketer.

“I would like to send my deepest condolences to Pat’s family and friends.

“He will be greatly missed and the world of journalism has lost one of the good guys.”

Former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, who now manages Newcastle United, added: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pat Symes.

“The South Coast has lost a true giant of journalism. He will be missed and I send my thoughts to his friends and family at this difficult time.

Pat is survived by his wife Linda, daughter Aimee, sons Paul and John and eight grandchildren.