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BRACKLEY BLOG: ROLE OF A COMMENTATOR

8 July 2016

The legendary commentator gives us more anecdotes from the gantry.


In his latest Brackley blog, former radio and TV man Peter Brackley, a lifelong Albion fan born and bred in Brighton, covers the thorny topic of his old job that so divides opinion, the role of the football commentator! 
 
I've been contributing lately to a commentators’ appreciation [or otherwise!] society forum, on which lots of football followers with curious and anonymous [apart from me!] user names come on to give their passionate, but usually well-reasoned opinions on commentators past and present.
 
It's a lot of fun with my posts often involving answering points they ask me about on various aspects of commentary work, and just about the only thing they all agree with each other on is that they will never all agree with each other!
 
For every poster who likes one particular commentator, you can bet there will always be others who don't!
 
Just about every man on the mic used by the various UK channels invariably polarises opinion, and, rather like the studio pundits, it's hard to think of one who is actually highly-rated and liked by everybody.
 
Whenever someone told me over the years there was a particularly nice compliment about me on a website or twitter page somewhere, I'd maybe sneak a look sometimes, but I also knew there was every chance there'd be a nasty one lurking further down the page. Therefore, it was best not to look at all, which became the motto for quite a few of us!

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In terms of co-commentators, [the experts alongside the main commentator], I do have a few personal favourites I've enjoyed working with.
 
Big Ron Atkinson was great fun and a terrific analyst, while Ian St John, Jim Beglin and David Pleat were among others at ITV I had particular affection for, and, of course, as I've said on this blog previously, there was the incomparable Ray "My Word!" Wilkins, my main sidekick in the early days of Channel Four's Football Italia back in the nineties golden era.
 
For me, the key ingredient for co-commentators is to remember they're not just talking to players and coaches, most of the audience have never played football at any significant level, and don't need to hear dull, deadpan quotes from the coaching manuals!
 
Ray Wilkins never minded a bit of ribbing either!
 
One week, during a live commentary, I reminded him that Cafu, that wonderful Brazilian defender who played for Milan and Roma, had such pace and power, he was known by the fans as "Il Pendolino", which in Italian meant "The super-fast express train."
 
"Whereas you, Ray, "I said, "When you played in Italy, you were known as "Il stoppa di Napoli, the stopping service to Naples!"
 
"Yes, well that's just where you're wrong," scoffed Ray into his microphone," because I happen to know that particular service didn't run on a matchday."
 
"No," I replied," but then neither did you!"
 
Happy memories, and if you'd be keen to watch a commentator in action [even a crotchety veteran!], I'll be doing the PA for Sunday's charity match at Worthing FC's Woodside road ground between a Brighton Invitation Xl and a Portsmouth Legends team, that includes Guy Butters and hopefully the likes of Paul Walsh and Alan Knight.
 
Ex-Albion favourites Kerry Mayo, Adam Hinshelwood and Peter Smith will be in the Brighton side managed by former player and manager Chris Cattlin, as will TV star Dan Osborne from T.O.W.I.E and X-Factor finalist Che Chesterman.
 
Kick off is at 2pm on Sunday [10th July], and if you want to come over and say hi, feel free to do so! 

Tweets by @OfficialBHAFC


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