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Gerald Sinstadt dead: Former BBC and ITV sports commentator dies aged 91

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Former BBC and ITV sports commentator Gerald Sinstadt dies aged 91 with tributes to broadcaster being described as ‘best word maker’

  • British sports commentator Gerald Sinstadt dies at age 91
  • Sinstadt has worked for the BBC and ITV, covering some of sport’s greatest moments
  • He competed in four World Cups, the 1972 Olympics and was in Hillsborough in 1989
  • A former Match of the Day editor described Sinstadt as the ‘best word maker’

British sports commentator Gerald Sinstadt has died aged 91.

The broadcaster was one of the iconic voices in football for over 40 years, working for the BBC and ITV during his career.

He did four World Cups between Mexico 1970 and Spain 1982 – commenting on the controversial semi-final between France and West Germany in the latter – while also covering the 1980 European Championships in Italy.

Sinstadt was also the BBC’s on-field reporter for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 97 Liverpool fans lost their lives in the football tragedy.

A statement from ITV Sport said on Wednesday: ‘At ITV Sport we are deeply saddened by the passing of Gerald Sinstadt, who was a brilliant announcer, as well as an influential and supportive figure for young people joining the broadcaster.’

British sports commentator Gerald Sinstadt dies at age 91

Sinstadt (right with fellow commentator John Motson) was one of the iconic sports voices

Sinstadt (right with fellow commentator John Motson) was one of the iconic sports voices

Former Match of the Day editor Paul Armstrong tweeted about Sinstadt’s passing: “Very sad news. An excellent commentator and journalist, and the best word builder with edited features and summaries I’ve ever come across. And a nice man too.’

Born in Kent in 1930, Sinstadt began his journalism career with the British Forces Broadcasting Service before joining BBC Radio in the 1950s and 1960s where he became Deputy Head of Sport.

Sinstadt transitioned to TV at Anglia Television in the mid-1960s before becoming the principal football commentator for Granada Television in the North West, regularly playing matches involving the two clubs Merseyside and Manchester.

The broadcaster was ITV’s third-choice commentator behind Brian Moore and Hugh Johns, but also got into other sports besides football – including the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Sinstadt covered many sporting events for the BBC and ITV, including four World Cups and the 1972 Olympics

Sinstadt covered many sporting events for the BBC and ITV, including four World Cups and the 1972 Olympics

For ITV he hosted the Friday night show ‘Kick Off’ and occasionally appeared for Dickie Davies on the ‘World of Sport’ programme. He also commentated golf for Channel 4 and covered the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race for Barry Davies.

Sinstadt had a remarkable impact on fellow BBC icon Davies, getting the announcer at the BBC after meeting him as a young lieutenant on his national service. Sinstadt then took Davies’ position as commentator in northwestern Granada.

In the 1990s, Sinstadt did matches for Match of the Day, dubbed ‘Gerry’ by former presenter Des Lynam, and continued to cover games for the BBC’s Final Score show well into the 21st century.

He remained involved in football even into the final years of his life in Stoke-on-Trent, serving as a Staffordshire member of the FA Council and vice-chairman of the North Staffordshire Youth League.

Sinstadt (left) raided Match of the Day and continued to work into the 21st century

Sinstadt (left) raided Match of the Day and continued to work into the 21st century

The commentator’s voice has been heard at several iconic moments in sports history. Not only was he the voice for the controversial 1982 World Cup semi-final with West Germany, but he also covered Diego Maradona’s last goal at the 1994 World Cup before the Argentine was banned from the tournament.

Sinstadt was praised for uttering racial slurs against the late Cyrille Regis, the third black player to ever play for England, during West Brom’s 5-3 win over Manchester United in 1978.

Members of the broadcasting and sports media industry paid tribute to Sinstadt after hearing of his passing on Wednesday.

Members of the broadcasting community paid tribute to Sinstadt after his death

Members of the broadcasting community paid tribute to Sinstadt after his death

Sky Sports commentator Gary Taphouse tweeted: “RIP Gerald Sinstadt, who has passed away at the age of 91: an instantly recognizable voice and known for many great goalscoring goals over so many years.”

Match of the Day commentator Steve Wilson wrote: “When I was a kid, I got Gerald Sinstadt’s autograph; when I was growing up I got his advice. “Supersub strikes again” was one of the great lines of commentary – so simple, so apt, so well delivered. Sad news.’

Fellow commentator Nigel Adderley added: “Gerald Sinstadt was the football voice of my childhood growing up in the North West. A great commentator and journalist. ‘Kick Off’ was a brilliant program – Friday’s 6.30am only meant one thing.’

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