Writing off 'little Sutton' and how YEP's Leeds United 'Green Post' reports got Royal Family approval

Don Warters fell in love with the Green Post as a boy and received the Royal seal of approval as the man responsible for filling it with Leeds United reports.
LEGENDS - YEP reporter Don Warters, centre, with legendary Leeds United boss Don Revie, left, and captain Billy BremnerLEGENDS - YEP reporter Don Warters, centre, with legendary Leeds United boss Don Revie, left, and captain Billy Bremner
LEGENDS - YEP reporter Don Warters, centre, with legendary Leeds United boss Don Revie, left, and captain Billy Bremner

Warters was the YEP’s man in the know at Elland Road for 29 years and covered the legendary Don Revie era.

On Saturdays, his task was to report back from grounds all over the country so the people of Leeds could find out, via the Green Post, how the Whites had got on that day.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was a publication he made a connection with long before his days as a journalist began.

And, as we prepare to unveil the Green Post Rebooted supplement in tomorrow’s YEP, Warters reflects on his memories of the paper.

He said: “When I was younger and the main source of information and results was the Saturday evening sports papers, a guy used to walk around the streets shouting out ‘Green Post!’ I would be sat on a Saturday night with my father, then I would go out with a few coppers to buy a copy. I took a fancy to it, but I never thought then I’d eventually be writing for it, maybe that sowed a seed.”

Warters’ Saturday afternoons weren’t simple.

He had to call from the press box, via a hired landline at away grounds, and update his copytaker in the office every 10 to 15 minutes, before filing the full-time score

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The second half reports weren’t quite as long as the first half because the pressure was on to get the thing as printed as quickly as possible," he said.

“It was hot metal then, so the copytaker passed it to the sub editor, they had to sub it, send it downstairs to be set in hot metal and it was quite an involved job.”

Warters wasn’t the only one amazed by the speed of the operation, as he discovered when the YEP had a special visitor.

“We had a royal visit to the office, [Katharine], the Duchess of Kent, who was a Yorkshire lass.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The deputy editor walked smartly to my desk and said ‘get ready she wants a word with you.’

“I wasn’t really expecting that but we were told how to address her and everything.

“She came to me and said she was interested in the Green Post reports and how we managed to get them in and out so quickly.

“She obviously had some connection or interest in Leeds.

“I explained as much as I could and she said ‘ that's marvellous’ and walked off.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The operation didn't always go entirely according to plan and sometimes Warters had to improvise.

"One of the things that was always on your mind was getting there on time, especially if you were playing in London," he said.

"The only time I was late was when I was told to travel with one of our photographers to Crystal Palace, an awkward place to get to.

"It was 3.20pm when we got there. I kept telling him we need to be off, I knew how difficult the drive was. We got to the ground, I told him to find some parking and to drop me off. I dashed in and the local freelance had put the teams over for me, I got on the phone straight away and kept an open line for the remainder of the first half. Someone filled me in - I hadn't missed any goals and I think by half-time there were three scored so I had plenty to write about."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And others, even youngsters, had to be drawn into the plan if the most precious of tools - the telephone - was not readily available.

"There was a time they were playing at Sutton in the FA Cup and I was sat on a box in the stand, so I had to write my report out fully each 10 minutes and pass it down the row of fans," said Warters.

"We had a schoolboy waiting at the end of the stand, he took it, dashed out of the ground to a private house where someone was waiting to phone it through. You always think, is everyone going to pass it down the line to the lad? I paid him about seven and sixpence in old money. That was pressure.

"I got to the end of the match and he needed to be on the phone as soon as he possibly could with my copy, so bearing in mind Leeds were 6-0 up, I wrote something about 'little Sutton have had their day' and a woman sat behind me, who had been quite vociferous all the match, read what I'd written, stood up in the stand and shouted out 'he's written us off already, there's two minutes to go.'"

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But even with the stress, the pressure and the deadlines, the YEP man relished his task of filling the famous pages of the city's Saturday evening special.

"It was a worry, everyone waiting at the other end for the report," he said.

“The pressure was always on.

"But I enjoyed the experience, I enjoyed writing and having to do it off the cuff."

Related topics: