TRIBUTES have been paid to lifelong Blackpool fan and BBC commentator David Oates, who died suddenly yesterday morning aged 50.
An avid Seasiders fan, Oates died after a short illness.
He was best known as one of the voices of BBC Radio 5 Live’s football coverage, and he “never hid” his passion for Blackpool FC.
In a statement, the club said: “Blackpool FC would like to pass on its condolences to the family of BBC Radio 5 Live broadcaster David Oates. Big Pool fan, will be sorely missed.”
And, as fans took to Twitter and messageboards to post their tributes, Fiona Martin, vice-chairman of Blackpool Supporters Association told The Gazette: “All Blackpool fans have been shocked and saddened by David’s death.
“He was well liked, respected and known among fans for his love of the club, and we would like to take this opportunity to pass on sincere condolences to his family and friends.”
A former pupil at Blackpool’s Arnold School (now AKS), Oates joined the BBC in 1986 as sports editor on BBC Radio Manchester before moving on to become a commentator.
His colleagues at the BBC described his death as “devastating news”.
Fellow Radio 5 Live commentator Alan Green said: “David Oates so loved Blackpool and he never hid that love.
“I didn’t even know he was ill until today, and he was such a great guy and a fabulous member of the BBC Radio 5 Live sports team. It is absolutely devastating news.”
On Twitter, colleague Phil McNulty said: “David Oates was a great supportive professional and colleague. Never forget his elation when his beloved Blackpool reached Premier League.”
Fellow commentator Jacqui Oatley added: “Stunned by the death of David Oates, 5 Live commentator for many years, Blackpool fan for life.”
Mr Oates leaves his wife, Charlotte, and two daughters.