Gerald Sinstadt, former BBC and ITV football commentator, dies at the age of 91 | Football

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Olympic Games | The Guardian

Gerald Sinstadt, one of the most famous sports voices on television as a commentator for the BBC and ITV for more than 40 years, has died at the age of 91.

The eclectic broadcaster, which covered both golf and the Olympic Games, will be remembered for its football commentary, first for Granada TV in the Northwest in the 1970s and also for the BBC, where it was known to be their reporter on the sidelines in 1989 was the day of the Hillsborough disaster.

Sinstadt was one of the first commentators to criticize the racial abuse of black players, including in West Bromwich Albion’s 5-3 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford in 1978, when Cyrille Regis and Laurie Cunningham scored the decisive goals.

His path to broadcasting might not have happened had it not been for a cruel turn of fate with his parents. Sinstadt, born in 1930, was the only child of shopkeepers in Folkestone and was evacuated during World War II. When he later pondered the couple’s tragic death in a German air raid, he said: “I can still remember my teacher taking me from class to bring me the news. I was wondering what would have happened if my parents had survived. Who knows, maybe I followed my father and became a shop owner. “

The young Sinstadt made his first live commentary in 1949 after being called up for military service and was rewarded with a 7: 6 cup game between an English and a Scottish regiment.

Gerald Sinstadt commented on Hull versus Bristol City for the Game of the Week program.Gerald Sinstadt commented on Hull versus Bristol City for the Game of the Week program. Photo: ITV / Shutterstock

“The game made my work easy and I thought, ‘Wait a minute, I can do it,’” recalls Sinstadt. “Unfortunately, I quickly realized that you can’t just show up that day and hope for the best. If you don’t do your research properly, the listener will soon catch you. “

After a stint on BBC radio and Anglia Television, Sinstadt’s informed but distinctively dry style became a feature of Granada TV’s kick-off previews and highlights on ITV from 1969 to 1981 when he became the station’s full-time football commentator. Sinstadt described the iconic moment when Denis Law scored a cheeky backheel goal for Manchester City when his former club Manchester United were relegated to what was then the second division.

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A cultured man with a passion for opera, he worked on programs covering the art form and as a golf commentator for Channel 4 when he left Granada TV before returning to the BBC in the mid-1980s for regular matches. to become of the day, soccer focus and final score until his retirement.

Sinstadt settled in the Potteries after retiring and wrote a weekly column for the Stoke Sentinel through 2019.

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