Neil Allen


Article 1 - Dion Donohue (Nov 20, 2021)

In a heartbreaking exclusive, ex-Pompey defender Dion Donohue reveals how he escaped being sent to prison - before giving up his Football League career in 2021 to be with his dying niece. Donohue had persistently refused to speak publicly over the details behind his shock walking away from the professional game aged 27. However, he trusted me from his Pompey days. More than a year later, this emotionally-charged interview remains the only one he has given on the issue. It’s a complex, yet tragic story centred around Donohue's terminally ill five-year-old niece and the importance of family over football. Article 2 - Fred DInenage (Two stories across two-page spread) Everyone thinks they know TV legend Fred Dinenage MBE, the man who has occupied our screens since 1956 through How 2, Meridian Tonight, ITV’s World of Sport and much more. Ahead of his 80th birthday, I sat down for an exclusive chat with the great man, taking a very different path from the usual interview to lift the lid on a life few know anything about. Dreams of a football career dashed after a spectacular own goal during an Aston Villa trial, writing the Krays’ autobiography which prompted sinister threats from the criminal underworld and demands from a national newspaper for his dismissal from TV, ticked off by the head of ITV Sport for appearing on Tiswas and getting a flan in the face, and life as a director of Portsmouth Football Club challenged with officiating Harry Redknapp’s combustible arguments with his volatile chairman. It’s an interview packed full of anecdotes from the charismatic Dinenage. Article 3 - Dan Gifford An exclusive with Pompey player Dan Gifford - a sports story elevated into a front page splash. In the summer of 2021, Pompey made international news when three of their Academy posted racist messages on Instagram. These were aimed at black England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka following penalty misses in the Euro Championship final defeat to Italy. Legally, the Pompey youngsters, who were subsequently sacked, could not be named. In the absence of such information, the 17-year-old Gifford was mistakenly outed by social media as one of the culprits - simply because he shared the same first name. Speaking to The News on the one-year anniversary, in his first interview on the subject he revealed how he received hundreds of death threats from a baying social media mob and was confronted in the street. His parents and even older sister at Bath University were also targeted, with police instructing Gifford to remain shut away at home for two weeks for his own safety, thereby taking an enforced break from football. The club didn’t want Gifford speaking about what occurred, not wishing to dredge up a damaging episode they believed had been put to bed. Nonetheless, the teenager was keen to finally tell his powerful story, highlighting with great eloquence and bravery the dangers of social media and rumours.