James Alexander Gordon was, by all accounts, a popular man.
He read out the football results on the radio every Saturday afternoon for 40 years, in a gentle, soothing Scottish accent that drew us all in and had us all trying to predict a game’s outcome based on wherever his intonation seemed to be leading us.
It’s safe to say that whoever reads the football results from now on, two generations of British football fans will forever hear them in Gordon’s voice.
And now he’s dead.
There you have it: an obituary that might be rather sparse but which nevertheless covers all the pertinent details. We’re not talking the composer of heart-rending symphonies here, after all, or mourning the first man on Mars.
We’re talking football results. Read from a script that he didn’t even have to memorise. Talk to Gordon’s family and friends and they can probably each recall 10 things that spring more readily to mind about him than his Saturday job.
A point apparently lost on the Daily Telegraph this week, as it declared that the “Scot’s lilting tones and perfect delivery elevated the classified football results from the mundane into an art form”.
“To do something seemingly so simple so expertly, time after time, and to make so many people feel happy and safe while you did it: what a beautiful contribution to our national life.”
You’re sounding dangerously like a luvvie, Alan Tyers. Oh, hang on a minute…
“Several years ago, I wrote and performed a pilot for a radio comedy sketch show about football.”
“It went to a swift and deserved demise on the BBC Commissioning killing floor…”
Right. Shame the Telegraph’s sports editor isn’t quite as discerning.
I don’t know what prompts this modern tendency to over-inflate people’s achievements beyond what they actually amount to, but it is maudlin, cloying and fast becoming something of a national malaise.