Great commentators. They add something to sport, don’t they? I still remember fondly those who fuelled my passion for various events. John Arlott and Brian Johnston made for many a pleasant day following the cricket. Harry Carpenter was boxing, just ask Henry Cooper and Frank Bruno. Brian Moore, David Vine, David Coleman, the list goes on.
Only one of the great orators of sport remains, however. He has become a bit grumpier in his advanced years, but he still finds just the right phrases at just the right moments as today’s pampered golfers thump the ball ludicrous distances around the course.
I remember a couple of years ago spending a holiday on the south coast and being invited to play a round at Ferndown, a real treat. Now if you are expecting me to say I had the good fortune to meet the great man himself then I am afraid you are to be disappointed as I was.
Having said that I did join another lone golfer on the course for the final nine holes, and naturally enough mentioned the BBC commentator who once worked for his father, Percy, who was the professional there. Astonishingly, it turned out they were once neighbours.
I was in awe. “You mean…”
“Yes”, the man said, “for twenty-four years I was living next door – to Alliss”