Sadness as Ozzie Osman dies.
OZZIE OSMAN, a greyhound journalist, broadcaster and commentator for 30 years, died on Monday, writes Phil Donaldson.
Osman, 49, had been suffering with several health issues and was recently admitted into Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield, where sadly he suffered heart failure on Monday night.
Bob Betts, former greyhound editor of the Sporting Life which Osman joined in the early 1990s from the Greyhound Owner publication, said yesterday: "This is terrible news. Ozzie was a character for sure, but he was a reliable member of the team at the Life.
"He was a good worker, did really well when covering what was then a thriving independent scene, but above all he was a lovely fellow to be around.
"He was a real jack of all trades and would turn his hand to anything."
Those thoughts were echoed yesterday by another former colleague Mark Sullivan, who said: "Oz had been in touch recently and I knew he was struggling, but I was gutted to hear the news on Monday.
"Anyone who knew him, and particularly those who worked with him, will testify he was a great guy whose passion for the sport shone through.
"He loved the greyhounds themselves and always said he was grateful to be able to work in an industry he loved.
"He was a gambler too and won a lot and lost a lot, but was generous to a fault and great company - he even lodged with us for a time when he was at the Life. It's such a shame."
After leaving the Sporting Life, Osman enjoyed a career in broadcasting and was one of the faces of L!VE TV, a channel launched by the Mirror Newspaper Group on cable TV in 1995.
He was later part of the broadcasting team at Go Barking Mad and also worked as a track and studio commentator and pundit for several major bookmaker firms, most recently for Manchester-based Betfred.
Jonathan Hobbs, chairman of the Greyhound Writers' Association, said: "On behalf of all members of the GWA, our sincere condolences go to Ozzie's family. Ozzie was 'one of our own', a greyhound journalist passionate about the game who grafted for his family.
"His commentaries were unique - a popular broadcaster with a great choice of words. There was no flannel, he told listeners what they wanted and needed to hear - winners!
"More importantly for many of us, especially those who worked for the Sporting Life and Greyhound Owner, he was a much liked colleague and friend."
A just giving page to raise funds for Osman had recently been set up by Darrell Williams, who explained: "Ozzie had been in touch and explained he was struggling with costs incurred getting to hospital and back from the home he shared with partner Rachel.
"I was happy to help, he was a fantastic guy and such great fun to work with. It's such sad news as the latest text I had from him suggested he felt things were picking up. One thing's for certain, he'll be missed by many people in the sport."
Anyone wishing to contribute to the crowd funding page set up for Osman can do so at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ darrell-williams.