Tributes paid following death of well-known sports journalist and Worksop Town fan
Tributes have been paid to well-known Worksop Town fan and ‘hugely talented’ journalist who has passed away aged just 53.
Former BBC Sports editor Lance Hardy, who was born in Worksop and brought up in Sutton-cum-Lound, was a huge fan of Worksop Town Football Club.
The club, along with some fans, have been among those paying tribute to him following his death.
Lance worked as a journalist for the Worksop Trader and associated titles between 1985 and 1988 before becoming editor until 1990.
He played a pivotel role in securing Worksop Town’s future in 2020 when supporters completed their task of raising £30,000 to pay off outstanding debts and preserve the club’s illustrious history.
Tigers fans and the wider footballing community came together to save the club before Pete Whitehead came in as chairman and cleared the rest of the debt.
In a statement, Worksop Town FC said: “Worksop Town Football Club are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Lance Hardy.
"A kind, talented gentleman who helped the club for many years, from covering the action to helping us avoid closure with his knowledge and understanding.
"Rest in peace, Lance.”
The club’s media manager Devon Cash described Lance as a ‘true gentleman, friend, and mentor.’
“As a young journalist, Lance inspired me to focus on trying to work towards a career in the media, and he spent countless hours showing me how to improve upon certain aspects of my writing and media output to not only help progress Worksop Town’s coverage but to help me develop too,” he said.
“I was first introduced to Lance in 2018, where he came in as a media consultant, and he was instantly drawn to some of the ideas I had, and we worked on them over a period of time. We also worked closely on the club’s matchday programme as we both shared a passion for football programs.
WA memory I will always cherish was meeting him at the Showroom in Sheffield, where we had a hot drink together and discussed football, media, and Worksop Town before we met fellow journalist Alan Biggs, who had then-Tigers boss Craig Denton on his Sheffield Live sports show.
"Lance knew I was a keen watcher of the show, and he made sure to get me in there to give me that insight – this just emphasises what a gentleman he was, as he did things like this for many budding writers.
“Another memory that brings a smile to my face – and now a tear in my eye – was when Worksop won the league at Albion Sports in 2019, as we all shared joyous celebrations that before taking it back to Sandy Lane. He got involved with the chants in the stands and it was a tremendous occasion.
“Lance was also integral to saving the club in February 2020, as it was his quick thinking and ideas which helped the club raise the funds to pay off the debts created by a previous owner – Lance was somewhat of an unsung hero for that period.
“If I am to ever make a living out of reporting on football, then I am forever grateful for the guidance Lance showed me.
“Rest in peace, Lance.”
Football columnist Alan Biggs joined sporting colleagues, including star Gary Lineker, in paying tribute.
Alan said: “Lance Hardy’s untimely death last weekend was a terrible shock for the media community and a personal blow to me.
“The former BBC editor and producer has been the subject of generous and well deserved tributes from numerous colleagues and sporting luminaries including Gary Lineker.
“Lance was a sporting all-rounder, albeit specialising in football, as well as being a top level operator on cricket.
“For me, he became a friend more than a colleague after coming to my rescue in 2004 when a 16-year stint reporting football for BBC Radio 5 Live was hit by policy changes.“Lance drafted me across to BBC television’s Final Score and gave my career a new lease of life. There are many others owing similar gratitude.”
Alan added: “Considering the cut-throat nature of broadcasting at such a high level, Lance was above all a man of principle and integrity.
"He treated people fairly and with respect, besides being a hugely talented operator. As for Worksop Town, they owe in no small part their very existence to his work behind the scenes.
"Lance was also a pioneer of projecting women’s football onto our TV screens and giving it the appeal to a mass audience it has today.”
Lance was diagnosed with a terminal illness in March.
Alan added: “Typically, Lance hadn’t wanted friends and colleagues to worry about him and had opted for quality time with his nearest and dearest.
"He was a modest man, gone far too soon, who will be remembered and missed with great affection.”
Former footballer and now BBC pundit Gary Lineker tweeted: “Saddened to hear that Lance Hardy has left us way too soon.
"A hugely talented producer and editor for BBC Sport and lovely man. RIP Lance.”