Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool fan Colin Murray quitting talkSPORT after owner of the Sun takes over

By Angela Rainey

Belfast-born broadcaster Colin Murray has announced that he is leaving talkSport after it was taken over by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The lifelong Liverpool FC supporter (39) said the takeover by the company that owns the Sun newspaper had made his position "unsustainable".

Fans of the Merseyside club have long boycotted the paper over its reporting of the Hillsborough disaster, which saw the publication accuse Liverpool supporters of stealing from the dead and preventing the police from helping casualties.

Murray, originally from Dundonald in east Belfast, announced his surprise resignation on Twitter, saying: "While there are parts of News Corp that aren't a problem, it is the inevitable future working relationship between talkSPORT and the Sun that has made my position unsustainable."

Murray added that he was "intensely proud" of his radio show and his achievements, including delivering "record ratings". He also said he had been offered a contract that would have kept him at the station until 2019.

Murray thanked his colleagues and co-presenters and said his last talkSPORT show would be broadcast on September 2.

He signed off with the Twitter hashtag #JFT96 - a reference to the fans who died during the disaster in 1989.

Four days after the tragedy, the Sun ran a front page story proclaiming to tell "the truth" about the incident.

The article featured claims from an anonymous policeman that some fans had "picked pockets of victims", "urinated on cops" and that others beat up a policeman as he attempted to resuscitate a casualty.

Fans who then boycotted the paper were vindicated by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which concluded that no Liverpool supporters were in any responsible for the disaster.

A spokesman for talkSPORT said: "It is with much regret that, after three years of working with us, Colin Murray has taken the decision to move on from his presenting role at talkSPORT this September.

"Colin has been a fantastic asset to the station and, while we respect his decision, we will be very sorry to lose him. We wish him all the best for the future."

Since the shock announcement, thousands have reacted to Murray's decision on Twitter.

Football pundit and former England striker Gary Lineker wrote: "A man with principles. Well played, Sir."

Since Murray's initial tweet yesterday more than 23,000 people have 'liked' it and another 16,000 have retweeted it.

It is not the first time Murray has created headlines by quitting a radio station.

In 2013, he left BBC Radio 5 Live after controversial comments on his Fighting Talk show landed him in the spotlight.

He suggested that if given "20 minutes with her, I'm pretty sure I could turn around Clare Balding". Murray subsequently said he was mocking "idiot views" on homosexuality, but later added that his comments were "over the line (and) just too much".

News Corp struck the £220m deal to buy Wireless Group, the owner of talkSPORT, last month. It will take control of the company later this year.

Belfast Telegraph


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