Senior writer Clive Gammon was fishing from a boat on Delaware Bay, disappointed that the spring run had delivered only a couple of weakfish, when he decided to pack it in. From the dock, Gammon phoned his wife, Juliette, to tell her he would be back at their Chestertown, Md. house in a short while. "Just get down here as fast as you can," she replied, relaying a message from our editors. "You've got to get the Concorde out of New York."
Thus began, on May 30, a whirlwind 10-day visit to England during which the Welsh-born Gammon wrote three stories for the magazine. The first was on the soccer riot in the stands of Belgium's Heysel Stadium that killed 38 people. Gammon has been our man on the soccer beat for 11 years and had already made two visits to England in recent weeks to work on a story on the Liverpool club, whose supporters were largely responsible for the riot.
"I dashed to New York and flew to London," Gammon says. "At Heathrow Airport, [SI London correspondent] Lavinia Scott Elliot met the Concorde with a great sheaf of clips and videocassettes of the tragedy. I rushed across the airport and caught another flight to Liverpool." The next day, Gammon hired a cab and "revisited many people I'd talked to earlier and met witnesses to the riot. I came in about 10 that night—don't know exactly where my body clock was at that point—had two or three hours' sleep, then got up and started writing (A Day Of Horror And Shame, June 10). I became quite a connoisseur of room service that day. I'd say the toasted cheese sandwich of the St. George's Hotel in Liverpool is in the top 20 percent of cheese sandwiches anywhere."
That story behind him, Gammon left for London for last Saturday's Eusebio Pedroza-Barry McGuigan featherweight championship fight, which he'd been previously assigned to cover. "It wasn't going to be too harsh a story on me because I knew both of the fighters," he said. But the leisurely week envisioned by Gammon just wasn't meant to be. Three days before the fight, Steve Cauthen won the Epsom Derby and the versatile—and fortuitously situated—Gammon got the call to do yet another story.
Gammon diligently reported on the Derby, interviewing Cauthen in the process, and finished the piece (page 38) on Friday.
That mission accomplished, Gammon was able to concentrate on the upcoming bout. "The fight came back to the front burner," he says. McGuigan won, and Gammon rose to the occasion once more (page 52).
And now? Gammon plans to return this week to the calm of Delaware Bay, where he hopes the weakfish are still running.