Only the journalists, many shockingly underpaid given their talent, actually seemed interested in getting the paper out. Morale among the foot soldiers seemed decidedly low, albeit tempered by the presence of the legendary Bill Deedes, who had an increasingly impossible job as editor.
I discovered over a pint or two that one of the most experienced, if occasionally volatile, subs in the sport department - a lovely, melancholic and somewhat cynical man called Colin Hook, sadly no longer with us - was on about £16,000 a year. "Hooky" was reputed to have left the Sun after defenestrating a typewriter at its old Bouverie Street office.
This walking encyclopaedia of, among other things, boxing was rewarded with about two thirds of the salary of a drunken, rather dim, messenger who only had to pick up bits of paper from the chief sub's trays and put them somewhere else, but often failed.
Hot metal was dying in Fleet Street. Wapping, the "new technology" diaspora and the loss of thousands of typesetting and composing jobs were imminent.
In hindsight, the experience I gained at the Telegraph then was invaluable. And I was able to witness Deedes coming into the sports room on the night of May 25, 1985, and calmly inquiring in his distinctive voice: "Who have we got in Brusshels?"
The Heysel Stadium disaster that night killed 39 football fans. Donald Saunders*, the football correspondent, whose copy was always a joy to sub, filed magnificently.
The Telegraph's sports coverage continues to shine. Paul Hayward has truly followed the fine Saunders tradition. I am a West Ham supporter, albeit of the armchair variety; Bobby Moore remains one of my heroes; and I look forward to reading my former Times colleague Matt Dickinson's account of the flawed World Cup-winning England captain in full.
So it's appreciation almost all round. I just can't understand how the modern Telegraph team can allow "apprectiate" to slip through in a standfirst above such a well-written and edited Hayward piece about the Dickinson book.
*PS I note the Saunders obituary, published in 2008, suggests the Heysel disaster happened in 1986. Oh dear.