Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

James Alexander Gordon: Tributes as voice of football results dies at 78

Illness: James Alexander Gordon

Former England captain Jimmy Armfield led the tributes to James Alexander Gordon after the BBC broadcaster, whose voice was synonymous with the classified football results on the radio, died at the age of 78.

Armfield, now a BBC pundit, described his former colleague, who retired last year after four decades with the corporation and had been battling cancer, as "something special".

Edinburgh-born Gordon, popularly known by his initials as JAG, joined the BBC in 1972 and went on to become one of the most recognisable voices on radio, reading the results first on Radio 2 and then Radio 5 Live.

His delivery made it possible to predict, during Sports Report at 5pm each Saturday, whether the result had been a home win, away win or draw simply from the inflection.

Gordon retired in July 2013 after having his larynx removed to treat throat cancer, which meant his voice was no longer strong enough to broadcast. He was replaced by former Radio 4 newsreader Charlotte Green.

"I think 5 Live and the football results have lost a friend today," Armfield said on Radio 5 Live.

"Before he came into it, I can remember before I joined the BBC, the style was more regimented. He came in and he put a slightly different slant on it. He knew when to go up with the voice, down with the voice and he just seemed to pitch it just right. And he did it all with perfect annunciation.

"That lovely voice, with the little trace of Scot in it, had the highs and lows just right."

Many tributes were quick to flood in following the announcement of his death, with Match Of The Day host and former England striker Gary Lineker saying on Twitter: "A voice we all know, the voice of the football results, James Alexander Gordon has died. Tottenham Hotspur 1. Newcastle United 1. RIP."

England goalkeeper Ben Foster tweeted: "RIP James Alexander Gordon. Saturday afternoons checking Teletext and listening to the footy scores was the best."

Gordon was married to Julia, with a son, David, and two grandchildren, Molly and Martha. He began reading the results in 1974.

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