Caledonia clubs join forces in recognition of a true champion for club rugby

Jack Nixon, the highly respected rugby correspondent for the Press and Journal (and The Offside Line), celebrates his 80th birthday today

Jim Rae presents Jack Nixon with his 80th birthday card. Image: John McIntosh
Jim Rae presents Jack Nixon with his 80th birthday card. Image: John McIntosh

JACK NIXON, the highly respected and admired rugby correspondent for the Press and Journal during the last 24 years, and who has more recently championed rugby in the North/North-East of Scotland for The Offside Line, celebrates his 80th birthday today.

The occasion was marked with a surprise presentation of an engraved wine decanter and a custom-made birthday card from the many rugby clubs in the Caledonia area he has touched during his years promoting the game in the region.

“In the current C-19 context, it would not be possible to convene a presentation dinner, nor gathering of any sort, so we devised an alternative celebration,” explained Gordon Thomson, Chairman and Director of Rugby at Aberdeen Grammar.


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“What can you say about Jack? He is stalwart supporter and promoter of the club game in Scotland. Over some 24 years as the P&J’s ‘rugby man’ he has visited more than 50 grounds to report on matches and he still gets asked back!

“From the players, coaches and administrators at Aberdeen Grammar Rugby and all the other Caley District clubs, we extend very best wishes on reaching 80. Thanks for your service to the game. You are a legend in our area.”

The sentiment was echoed by clubs including Aberdeenshire RFC, Garioch, Caithness, Highland, Mackie Academy FP, Lochaber and Fraserburgh.

“When we made it to the Bowl Final in 2018, Jack thought he could maybe have done more to cover our journey to Murrayfield, so he offered to make up for it by donating a trophy for our player of the match (of course he had to choose who won!),” said John A Scott, President of Ross Sutherland. “Just with the way things went on the day we weren’t able to do the presentation so kept it secret and awarded it at our end of season dinner. The recipient was thoroughly chuffed with the recognition and quite humbled by the fact it came from someone who has watched and reported on rugby for so many years.  It speaks volumes for how much Jack loves the game and the high regard that he is held in.” 

“Jack’s name will not be forgotten at Deeside Rugby, he kindly donated a trophy to us a couple of years ago after he had been at the club a couple of times during one season, that he came and presented for the first time in person,” said Ian Finlayson, President of Deeside Rugby. “He has left it in perpetuity to be handed out at the president’s decision to the club member that has added most to the development of the Club in that year.”

“We attest to how impressive and appreciated all of Jack’s efforts to spread the word of the game in the area are,” said Jeremie Juan, President of Aberdeen Medics RFC. “He has a fantastic way with words and has always been brilliant to speak with at the sidelines. His commitment to cover games from all levels of Caledonia rugby from North 4 all the way to the Premiership is fantastic and it definitely brings a lot of excitement for players and rugby fans alike.”

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The presentation was made – with social distancing requirements observed – by long-standing friend Jim Rae, the immediate past-President of Aberdeen Grammar. 

“Jack’s dedication and support for the club game is a beacon in an era when professional rugby, marketing and money have come to dominate,” he said. “Week after week he travels to games in the region from Caithness to Dundee. He is a familiar figure trudging across the pitch at final whistle to grab a coach or player to get some insightful quotes to add to his already comprehensive match report. Then, after his call round on Sunday, when we open our [P&J] paper on Monday, there are the match reports and scores from all over the circulation area. Big thanks to you, Jack. It has been an honour to bring the Caley Clubs together, as one, to celebrate this memorable milestone. A 25th season?”

From The Offside Line’s perspective, Jack has been a huge influence in our mission to cover rugby at all levels across the whole of Scotland, not just through his insightful match reports and club features, but with his generous words of encouragement and wisdom. 
 
In a previous life, Jack was youth officer for West Lothian County Council and played a key role in the formation of Livingston Rugby Football Club in 1968. He has been threatening to hang up his notebook and pen for several years, but has always been tempted back. Long may that continue.
 
 
 

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David Barnes
About David Barnes 1860 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

6 Comments

  1. Thank you to all those Caledonia clubs who made my 80th birthday a very special occasion.
    It has been a wonderful journey, but one that is not yet completed. I look forward to catching up with clubs throughout Scotland when the new season gets underway.

  2. Delighted to see the clubs honouring Jack – a richly-deserved tribute.

    Mind you, I am jealous – I’ve been covering Ayrshire Rugby for even-longer, and all I get is abuse.

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  3. David, thanks so much for honouring Jack with this article. He epitomises the club rugby ethos and provides great coverage of Caley rugby. On behalf of all our clubs, thanks!

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