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Tributes paid to Manchester City title-winner-turned MEN sports correspondent Paul Hince

Manchester City title-winner Paul Hince, who became the Manchester Evening News’ City correspondent after retiring from football, has died aged 78.

Hince became an English champion with Manchester City in 1968, although he later claimed he was “conned” into a professional football career after turning down a trial with boyhood club City to become a trainee for the Ashton Reporter when he left school.

Hince revealed in a 2007 interview with Hold the Front Page that he grudgingly agreed to help out the reserves at the request of a determined scout who had spotted his potential as they were “short of players.” He soon learned that he would be “helping out” against Manchester United and scored two goals on his debut.

Following that novel introduction, manager Joe Mercer convinced Hince to sign up professionally in 1966 and Hince would enjoy a successful career that, as well winning the title with City, took in spells at Bury, Crewe and Macclesfield, as well as a stint down South at Charlton Athletic.

On retiring from the game in 1972, Hince returned to journalism at the MEN, initally as City correspondent before eventually rising to chief sportswriter, a position he held until his retirement from journalism in 2006.

Hince also wrote the irreverent autobiography Memories of a Failed Footballer and a Crap Journalist, published in 2009 with foreword and introductions from former City bosses Joe Royle and Brian Horton

Hince had been suffering with dementia for some time and died at home over the weekend, where his wife and stepson had been caring for him.

Manchester City said in a statement: “Manchester City are saddened to learn of the passing of former player Paul Hince, who later went on to carve out a memorable career as a sports journalist and City correspondent with the Manchester Evening News.

Born in Manchester in 1945, and a lifelong City fan, Paul represented the Club between 1966 and 1968, making 11 appearances in total, scoring four goals.

He was also part of our 1967/68 Division One title winning squad under Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison and was one of four players from that side to retrospectively receive a winner’s medal for his endeavours back in October 2021.

“Paul along with Stan Horne, Bobby Kennedy and the late Harry Dowd did not receive medals at the time due to a smaller allocation being awarded by the Football League when City secured the league title in May 1968.”

Current MEN chief reporter Neal Keeling told the paper: “Paul was the old school kind of journalist I aspired to be when I joined the M.E.N. Sleeves rolled up, cigarette on the go, typing furiously. He had a presence in the newsroom, sharp witted, fearless, very knowledgeable and passionate about his craft.

“He wished me luck after being dispatched to Old Trafford to get the reaction of United fans to the takeover by the Glazers. Once at the ground stewards were trying to keep me off the forecourt as I spoke to fans.

“I thought what would Paul Hince do… I stuck at it and got the quotes from angry fans. I got back to the office and he was first to ask how I had got on, smiling broadly when I told him about the ruck with United’s security. Paul was a terrific writer – provocative and often bloody funny too.”

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