Bring Me the Sports Jacket of Arthur Montford: An Adventure Through Scottish Football

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Bring Me the Sports Jacket of Arthur Montford: An Adventure Through Scottish Football

Bring Me the Sports Jacket of Arthur Montford: An Adventure Through Scottish Football

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On his retirement at the age of 60 in 1989, he concentrated on playing golf at Glasgow Golf Club at Killermont. Montford also commentated or presented items on many other sports, particularly ice hockey – a favourite of his – and golf, where his work for ITV brought him to the notice of a wider public. But inspired as we all are by all these memories of Arthur, we fall far short of telling the whole story of the life of this most remarkable man. It was a golden era in Scottish football, and Montford was at the heart of it from the late 1950s through the glory days of the 1960s, the 1970s and all the way through to the late 1980s, always finding something positive to say about the game – even in Argentina in 1978. The Maryhill Burgh Hall is an unlikely place to start your television career, but I was invited up there to do an audition because I was working at the Evening Times on the sports desk at the time.

Born the son of a journalist, Sid, who spent a long career at the Glasgow Evening News and Daily Record, Montford was educated at Greenock Academy after the family moved there from Glasgow. Arthur Montford (1929–2014) was a Scottish broadcaster, best-known for his 32-year tenure as the presenter of Scottish Television's Scotsport. Scottish PFA chief Tony Higgins, who played in Arthur’s commentary heyday, said: “He was a giant of his time. Montford remembers “very often we went to air on a Wednesday night while the film was still being processed. Born in Glasgow, Montford was raised in Greenock where he acquired a lifelong love for the local football team, Morton.A couple of weeks later I thought no more about it, but he invited me back to the Theatre Royal: really to make the numbers up for someone whom they had in mind, but at the last minute he decided he didn't want the job. Montford's first audition in Maryhill Burgh Hall was dismal, but he was given another chance at the Theatre Royal and more than passed muster. You lived for these TV highlights, and the sometimes high-octane commentaries of Arthur or Archie Macpherson. He also presented Radio Clyde’s version of Desert Island Discs (billed as Montford's Meeting Place) where he interviewed many famous people who dropped by for a chat with the STV legend that was an unmissable sample of Clyde's weekend schedule in the 1970s and 1980s as well as writing the Scotsport Annual among other books. During his time on Scotsport, Montford became famous for his trademark checkered pattern sports jackets, and some classic lines of football commentary, including What a Stramash!

She said she had had a “wonderful” father whose only cross word with her had been to tell her it was cold outside as she stepped out as a teenage wearing a mini skirt and platform shoes. He would often read the evening Scottish news bulletin, announce the evening programmes and, on Wednesdays, present the midweek magazine programme, Scotsport. Greenock and the academy gave him a lifelong love of the town's club Morton FC and his friend from schooldays, Douglas Rae, owned the club later on in Montford's life. A diligent rector, he was reckoned by students to be on their side, and at the height of his fame he helped all forms of charity no matter their background, lending his name to good causes such as the Simon Community and Talbot Association.I met him on 2 January many years ago when I played junior football for Downfield Juniors in Dundee. After retiring from television at the age of 60, Montford left STV and continued to comment on Scottish football, both in the national press and in the matchday programme at Morton, he also concentrated on playing golf at Glasgow Golf Club at Killermont. Montford’s audition in Maryhill Burgh Hall was dismal, but he was given another chance at the Theatre Royal and more than passed muster.

Arthur Montford died at his home on 26 November 2014 at the age 85, after battling illness intermittently over a couple of years. A packed Bearsden Cross Church, near Glasgow, heard how Arthur, who died last week aged 85, had still been writing his golfing column for Bunkered magazine until the final weeks of his life. With his pleasant, distinctive voice a singular asset, he joined Scottish Television in August 1957 as a continuity announcer and sports reporter, where Montford shared the opening night announcing duties with Jimmy Nairn, [4] He was then chosen to present STV's new sports programme, Scotsport (originally Sports Desk), where he remained as anchorman for 32 years.In a moving tribute his daughter Vivienne, 58, told how her dad would read her bedtime stories which were largely made up and involved a cast of characters including her teddies. He interviewed all the greats from Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan to Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. Montford may have been an ITV man rather than a BBC man, but for many he was the voice of Scottish football for more than three decades, both as a commentator and as the presenter of Scottish Television’s weekly highlights show Scotsport. Greenock and the Academy gave him a lifelong love of the town’s club Morton FC, and his friend from schooldays, Douglas Rae, now owns the club.

He remained as anchorman for 32 years, hosting more than 2,000 editions of Scotsport, during which time he became famous for his trademark checkered pattern sports jackets, and some classic lines of football commentary, including "What a Stramash! He also presented Radio Clyde’s version of Desert Island Discs as well as writing the Scotsport Annual among other books. STV were told by rivals BBC that there was no room for their cameras in the gantry in Hampden’s South Stand. These went well, and when BBC sports editor John Wilson joined Scottish Television in 1957, he asked Montford to join him in the new commercial visual age. He chose a hymn - The Day Thou Gavest Lord, is Ended - because it was played at his mother Peggy’s funeral in 1977.Yet it is precisely Montford’s verbal style that he is loved for and his erudite expressions could enliven the most trying of sporting events. Montford told the academy rector, Mr William Dewar, that he would become a journalist and, after national service in the army, he joined the News as an office boy, before making the graduation through the ranks to reporter, working for the News, then the Daily Record before joining the sports desk of the Evening Times. He came up to me in his checked jacket and said ours was the only game on in Scotland and he’d be reporting on it. I just went up, did my ad-lib, did my wee bit to camera, did an interview and I thought no more about it.



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