In 1973, Julie Welch became the first female newspaper sports reporter on Fleet Street. It was an amazing achievement and her account of how she managed it reads like a Jilly Cooper novel. The story she tells here is not just one of ‘clever, attractive, determined female breaks into man’s world to do the job she loves and succeeds at it’; there’s plenty of strong period flavour too. Julie did her breaking and entering in the era of long-haired footballers with huge sideburns, terraces where people stood up, and press lounges packed with men in sheepskin coats swigging whisky in a fug of Henri Wintermans.
And that’s before we even get to the Fleet Street of the 1970s, which actually was in Fleet Street then. Its culture was so swaggeringly macho that at El Vino’s wine bar women had to go in the side entrance, sit in the back and weren’t allowed to order drinks.