Everton on the radio in the 1960s

by   |   07/10/2020  32 Comments  [Jump to last]

I have recently been asked about radio commentaries of domestic and European Everton home fixtures in the early to mid 1960s (in the days before Radio Merseyside and Radio City).

Do any of our more senior ToffeeWeb readers recall if they listened at home or work to radio commentaries from Goodison and, if so, what channel(s) were they on?

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Reader Comments (32)

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John Raftery
1 Posted 07/10/2020 at 23:51:05
Rob, before the advent of local radio stations, I think the only local commentary of matches would have been on hospital radio which covered both Everton and Liverpool home games for many decades and possibly still does?

On national radio, second-half commentary of one league game, usually from Division One, was broadcast on the Light Programme, which was the forerunner of the modern-day Radio Two. Listeners were not told which game was being covered until 3:45 pm, on the stroke of half-time. Given that only one game was selected each week, a supporter could expect their team to be featured on no more than a handful of occasions each season. It was quite a treat when your team was selected.

The main commentators were the legendary Raymond Glendenning and Maurice Edelston, who shared the 45 minutes, each taking the microphone for 22/23 minutes.

Most of the Everton matches I can recall being covered seemed to be away from home. Possibly the club adopted the same hostile attitude to national radio commentary as they most certainly did in respect of television coverage.

The first Everton game I remember listening to at the age of eight was a 3-0 defeat at the Hawthorns in March 1961. I have not checked but I think we were already 3-0 down at half-time.

The following season, 1961-62, our FA Cup 5th Round tie at Burnley was featured, another defeat by 3-1; likewise in 1962-63 our infamous 5th Round 1-0 defeat at West Ham.

The only Goodison game I can remember listening to was the visit of reigning champions Manchester United on 19 August 1967. This was the last season for which I did not have a season ticket. The match was all-ticket, unusual for a game other than the derby, and I had missed the ticket sales. Of course, we won 3-1, the commentators waxed lyrical about the quality of our players, Ball, Kendall and Harvey plus young Joe Royle.

In October 1967, the BBC revamped their national stations with the Light Programme rebranded to Radio Two. Second-half commentary continued on the same basis as before on Radio Two for many years to come.

Bill Watson
2 Posted 07/10/2020 at 00:30:58
John

You're quite right in that there was just the one Saturday afternoon commentary on the Light Programme, usually from Division 1, and as you say, it was just the second half.

The chosen game wasn't announced until after 3pm and I think the reasoning behind this was the powers that be thought that if fans knew their team was going to be on the radio they wouldn't bother going to the match.

The only clue was in the Radio Times which always stated the geographical spread of the commentary. They preferred clubs which were far apart. For example; 'today's commentary will feature a club from the South of England versus one from the Northwest'.

So if we were away to a London side, there was a chance it could be us. Sometimes the complication was another Northwest side would also often be in London and there were plenty of them: Man City, Man Utd, Preston, Bolton, Burnley, Blackpool and Blackburn. Happily, prior to1962 there was no need to consider the RS as they were in Division 2

The easiest one to figure out was a game featuring a club from the Northeast vs one from the Northwest. So, if we were away to Newcastle it was bound to be us as Sunderland would also be away on that day.

I'm sure the 8-2 Newcastle game, in the early 1960s, was a commentary game but the 10-4 Spurs game wasn't... but I stand to be corrected.

Stan Schofield
3 Posted 08/10/2020 at 15:37:47
John@1: I recall that in the late 60s and early 70s, the first few home games of the season were all-ticket, which seems to explain why the Man Utd game was all-ticket.
Chris Williams
4 Posted 09/10/2020 at 09:18:44
Rob,

Like the others, I can only recall matches on BBC Light Programme, usually in the afternoon. It may be that evening matches were featured too, but I never listened to one.

Possibly something for British Forces overseas?

I only ever heard away matches featured. This may be because I would be at the home matches, living as I did, 5 minutes from the ground.

One I do recall was in the early 60s, and it was Tottenham away. I remember because I was ill in bed. I think we won 4-2 and Vernon scored 2. Maurice Edelston said something along the lines of “I've often heard people raving about how good Vernon is, but I've not seen it myself. Today, I can see what they mean. He's run the show.” It stuck in my mind.

There was another programme on Saturday lunchtime, where they previewed the matches. The signature tune was a piece of brass band music. A guy called Bill Bothwell used to talk about Everton games. I think he was a fan of the football we played, always fair, which was fairly unusual in those days. It was a great appetiser for the match in those innocent pre-pub days.

To my young ears, all the commentators sounded ancient, and Edelston seemed out of breath. Probably doing them an injustice.

Christine Foster
5 Posted 09/10/2020 at 10:27:57
Gosh this is going back, I remember being fascinated by radio as a child, do remember the first car radios and the light service and listening in the car, only to be thrown out by Dad who said it would ruin the battery..
I seem to remember that I could get football on the BFPO on shortwave too (Germany?)
Barry Rathbone
6 Posted 09/10/2020 at 13:51:39
Hate Radio commentary.

Elton Welsby screeching "Another goal at Anfield" during the '70s as the shite did their Lazarus act was a consistent theme for years and scarred me for life. Actually I won't watch/listen to Everton or Liverpool live at all these days on the excellent premise that ignorance is bliss.

Dick Fearon
7 Posted 10/10/2020 at 09:29:20
Happy memory times indeed Christine.
BBCs post match 'Grandstand' anchored by Eamon Andrews and the "Abbey" packed to the rafters with home grown pundits.
Len Hawkins
8 Posted 10/10/2020 at 09:52:04
I can remember my Dad listening to the results with his Pools Coupon and his fixed odds coupon in front of him no doubt longing to be able to write his resignation letter to British Railways.
Andy Riley
9 Posted 10/10/2020 at 10:07:27
I can’t recall radio commentaries before the advent of local radio. However radio was a strange thing before television - I recall my mother telling me about radio ventriloquists who the whole family sat round listening to avidly during World War 2!
Dave Abrahams
10 Posted 10/10/2020 at 10:14:06
Bill (2) That 8-2 game you refer to, I think quite a lot of Evertonians would have been at Anfield that day. while Everton were being marmalised at Newcastle. Davie Hickson was making his debut for Liverpool and scoring two, in a 2-1 victory over his old club Aston Villa, adding fuel to the argument that he shouldn’t have been sold to THEM.

Likewise Chris (4), that 4-2 win at Spurs in which I think Alex Young also scored, was the Saturday before we signed Fred Pickering, don’t know if Alex was dropped for the Notts Forest game the next week. when Fred made his debut and scored a hat trick in a 6-1 win.

By the way I never listened to the radio, when I was young, I always preferred the “ wireless” much better!!

Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 10/10/2020 at 10:20:03
Andy (9) that ventriloquist “ Archie Andrews “ was still going on the wireless well into the 1950’s and unbelievable was a top star,more famous than the man who worked him, can’t remember his name but I can picture him.
Dave Abrahams
12 Posted 10/10/2020 at 10:22:42
The ventriloquist might have been David Nixon, just came to me, I know you couldn’t wait for the answer!!!
John Otway
13 Posted 10/10/2020 at 10:27:24
Dave. It was Peter Brough. David Nixon was a magician.
Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 10/10/2020 at 10:39:12
John (13)yes Peter Brough, David Nixon was a posher version of Tommy Cooper.
George McKane
15 Posted 10/10/2020 at 10:59:58
Remember 5.00 clock - - my Dad at the kitchen table - - pencil and Pools ready for the Football Results - - twiddling to get the station - - remember the old joke - - what was always the first team announced on Football results - - Durham - - the theme tune - - durham durham durham - - doesn't work in text - - has to be sung - - I listened to the 1958 World Cup on Radio - - then went out and played on the "ola" - - wanted to be Gento/Didi/Vava or Pele - - I used to get up in the middle of the night to listen to boxing with my dad - - not that interested nowadays - - best cosmic wishes to all Blues.
Chris Williams
16 Posted 10/10/2020 at 11:20:48
Dave,

I was at Anfield, on the Kop to see Davy make his debut, with my mate Barry. I’ve read that Shankly absolutely loved Dave Hickson. Not surprised at all.

Peter Brough was a ventriloquist made for wireless! The TV killed him because his lips moved unbelievably. He looked like he was holding a conversation with himself while he was holding a dummy for some reason

Chris Williams
17 Posted 10/10/2020 at 11:33:09
Dave,

Alex Young was dropped for Fred, I assume, because he was missing in that match, according to Everton Results. I was at that match too, and Fred could have had 6!

Brian Harrison
18 Posted 10/10/2020 at 11:57:06
Its funny looking back as to how things were back in the day, I like many used to go regularly to watch Liverpool with my mate and he came to watch Everton, thats just the way it was. The nastiness between the 2 sets of fans nowadays was not how it used to be. As many have commented the only football commentary was on the light programme and only the second half.

I don't think many of the youngsters are aware that it was only in 1962 that MOTD started and that was only highlights of 1 game, no highlights or goals from other games were shown. Back then at halftime we used to wait in anticipation to see the halftime scores being put up against letters on the wall in front of the main stand. The only games that were always shown was the England Internationals, usually on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.
Back then unlike now we may have signed players who you had never seen, I can always remember the excitement if we were playing someone at Goodison who was an England international. Sadly Mathews always seemed to be injured when Blackpool came to play at Goodison. Nowadays when you sign a player even from the other side of the world everybody has seen them play for their clubs or their countries.

I actually think the expeirience of watching games back then was a whole lot more enjoyable, and opposing fans used to mix and at half time the conversations between the sets of fans was how well such and such a player had played and not about who was winning the game. Now we never get to talk to opposing fans during or after the game and now it has become more tribalistic so wouldnt have the same enjoyment as it did back then

Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 10/10/2020 at 12:13:07
Chris (16), at the Cathredral for Dave Hickson’s funeral, Derek Temple gave one of eulogies and he mentioned that Davie was that good, Shankly signed him twice, in fact, I don’t think he ever signed. Shankly was assistant manager of Huddersfield, Andy Beattie was manager and Davie signed for Liverpool just before Shankly joined them.

Not surprised that Shankly loved Davie, didn’t everyone!!

Ray Robinson
20 Posted 10/10/2020 at 12:40:30
I was in Germany in 1974 and between 1977 and 1979 and bought a radio with Short Wave in order to listen to the football. It was so annoying having to try and decipher what was going on while the radio reception swirled in and out as if carried off by the wind.

The alternatives to catching the commentaries / results in this way were to a) go to Frankfurt main Railway Station on the Sunday afternoon to buy a newspaper, b) ring home to get the result (expensive phone call) or c) wait for my delivery of the football pink - usually arriving about Thursday.

As for midweek matches in 1974, well Radio Luxembourg used to give the results at about 10:30pm after the news bulletin - again, if you were lucky to get decent reception.

Thank God for mobile phones and the internet!

Chris Williams
21 Posted 10/10/2020 at 12:45:29
Dave,

Yes he was popular wasn’t he?

If Davy goes we all go, on that sign.

His answering machine had the message: I can’t answer right now, I’m upstairs combing my quiff.

That was when he was really knocking on, and his quiff remained very impressive. I think he kept playing football until late in life.

When he went into hospital with his heart trouble, I was in one of the lounges on the Saturday, on a freebie. Duncan McKenzie was going round telling everybody that Dave had a stent put in, and he was going to be ok. He had a worried face and so did those he was telling, young and old. He was stopped umpteen times as he crossed the room, such was the concern.

I took my son Andy to the cup semi final at Elland Road in 95. Davy came out of the players entrance onto the car park, well before kick off.. I introduced Andy to him. He made such a fuss of him, and spent a fair bit of time talking to him and telling him how important the Cup was always to the club. He still talks about it 25 years on.

Len Hawkins
22 Posted 10/10/2020 at 15:07:24
Dave ahhh the Wireless yes radio is a later posh version. as a kid I used to have to walk to a nearby bike shop with the dud accumulator (battery) and pick up a charged one. No plug in radio then we still had gas lights I remember when the landlord had it wired there was one socket upstairs and one downstairs with miles of that plaited material covered flex from the socket to whatever electric appliance we had. I think Dickens used our house as an example for Hard Times.
Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 10/10/2020 at 16:13:30
Chris (21), great the way Davie always had time for the fans, met him a few times on the No. 3 bus, I used to get on in St. Anne St, going to Goodison and Davie would talk and listen and laugh with all us young kids, one of the reasons he was well liked, a real wild hand full on the field, a gentleman off it, Davie wasn’t the best but was my favourite Everton player, always will be.
Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 10/10/2020 at 16:18:28
Len (22), oh those accumulators, used to take my auntie’s on the bus, now and again a jobsworth of a conductor wouldn’t let you on if he saw it, full of acid, and I would have to walk, a decent walk as well, bleedin’ conductors, always a Liverpudlian!!
Chris Williams
25 Posted 10/10/2020 at 17:29:16
Rod,

I’ve done a bit of rudimentary digging, and it seems that Bill Bothwell was also Tranmere Rovers’ Chairman.

I didn’t know that.

Brian Wilkinson
26 Posted 11/10/2020 at 01:09:05
Bit later than the sixties so apologies beforehand, but I remember it’s out of the Blue by Herbert somebody or other for the classified results on the radio, in the seventies, think it was around 5pm.

Made it back to your coach, everyone talking about the game, until that bit of music kicked in, then silence as the scores were given out, with an almighty roar or groan, depending how our neighbours got on.

Paul Birmingham
27 Posted 11/10/2020 at 01:15:53
Everton, the Squad, hopefully can by this time next week, still be leaders of the pack.

Good fortune and the 1983, buzz, who knows, what can happen this season.

Kieran Kinsella
28 Posted 11/10/2020 at 02:00:46
I wasn't alive then and from what I've heard the sixties weren't real. It was a hoax filmed at Pinewood. Life began in 1977 when the reptilians won the first real European Cup.
Chris Williams
29 Posted 11/10/2020 at 08:22:29
Kieran,

No wonder I can’t remember the 60s!

Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 11/10/2020 at 09:23:22
I think you will find it was 1985, that never happened Kieran. They won three European cups in five years, Forest won it twice, in between, and although they mock us about our European pedigree, mentioning Heysel is totally taboo, because if you do, you are nothing but a bitter blue!

Be a good boy, stay quiet, don’t upset them and take the stick. Evertonians having a laugh is killing them, but only some of them...If you know what I mean!

Keith Dempsey
31 Posted 11/10/2020 at 20:05:12
Before Sky and all games kicked off at 3pm on Saturday.

I can remember the first indication of how we had done was on a teleprinter on Grandstand. Even then, I used to turn the sound down on the TV in case we lost and the same with the other lot in case they won.

Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 13/10/2020 at 21:42:56
John (1) just noticed you recalling the WBA away game n 1961 and it struck a cord with me,but I was remembering the season before 1960 also in March. Was working in Cammal Lairds at the time, and coming out I bought the half time Echo with the scores in the stop press, we were winning 2-1, that’ll do me I thought. When I got home and put the TV on for the scores it had finished 6-2 to them, I think Derek Kevin, the English international, had scored five, this was one of Jimmy Gabriel’s early games for the Blues.

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