Blackpool and England legend Jimmy Armfield has paid a moving tribute to James Alexander Gordon, the BBC broadcaster who turned reading the classified football results on the radio into an art form.
Armfield, the former England and Seasiders’ captain turned BBC pundit, described his former colleague, who had been battling cancer, as “a consummate pro”.
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.
“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.
“The thing about him was altogether, he’s actually become synonymous with it. Over those three decades we had together I always thought he really was something special.
“He was a consummate pro, he really was.”