Broadcasting legend Crampsey dies

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Sat31March1928
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Broadcasting legend Crampsey dies

Post by Sat31March1928 » Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:42 pm

Jackson; James; Jackson; James; Jackson

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Post by The Mighty Atom » Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:13 pm

very sad news. Was just talking about him yesterday morning with my mate. Had the great fortune of hearing him at a testimonial dinner a few years back, a true authority.

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Post by Scottish » Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:16 pm

I have just heard this dreadful news. Words fail me. Another genuine giant of the Scottish game has been taken from us. RIP Bob, IMHO the best broadcaster and writer Scottish football has ever known - and possibly ever will know.

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Post by Scottish » Sun Jul 27, 2008 8:40 pm

I find it rather sad and petty-minded that the BBC have airbrushed Bob's 'Scotsport' days out of their obituary. STV's website has a tribute from Arthur Montford.

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Post by Gunboat Briggs » Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:10 pm

Very sad news indeed, Bob was a giant amongst the pygmies of our sporting media. Always a privilege to listen to someone who actually elicited a deep love and knowledge of the Scottish game.

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Post by lbb » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:06 am

Bob Crampsey was everything the modern Scottish football journalist isn't - intelligent, honest, reliable, truthful, professional, authoritative, humorous without being snide, passionate without being partisan. This is a genuine loss for Scottish broadcasting and journalism. There is no-one around to replace Bob Crampsey.

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:28 am

I leaned across the book shelves on Saturday morning past the centenary history of Queen`s Park and thought I must get Bob to autograph it for me some day. Too late. I wish Scotsport & BBC Radio Scotland had kept recorings of Bob`s input; they were just a delight from a modest. delighful man. Condolences to his family. RIP.

Sat31March1928
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Post by Sat31March1928 » Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:46 am

lbb wrote:Bob Crampsey was everything the modern Scottish football journalist isn't - intelligent, honest, reliable, truthful, professional, authoritative, humorous without being snide, passionate without being partisan. This is a genuine loss for Scottish broadcasting and journalism. There is no-one around to replace Bob Crampsey.
Whole heartedly agree. We now live in an era of the 'celebrity' pundit. Full of ex Pros who have their own agendas to follow. It is all about 'opinion' rather than 'fact'.

There was a frankly laughable part in the Scotsman article stating that Richard Gordon had now taken on part of his mantle. The site is down so I cant’ find the link.

I only met him once at a Dinner to raise money for the Contalmaison Cairn. Bob spoke authoritively about Hearts and the Great War. He described himself as the link between the carrier pigeon and the internet. I spent some time with him discussing Andy Black and footballing cricketers. Just 2 of his great loves.

There is no-one who comes close now, such is the loss.
Jackson; James; Jackson; James; Jackson

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:47 am

One of Bob`s stories concerned his brother, Frank, the Queen`s `keeper in the 50s. One gloomy, February Saturday afternoon late on in a lacklustre game (one involving Queen`s? Surely not), Frank noticed the lone spectator on the then vast East terrace slowly making his way up towards the exit. Then he turned and walked all the way back down right to the wee white boundary wall of the athletics track from where he shouted, "Crampsey, you`re quite dreadful." and then wend his weary way back up and out and, presumably, home for his hot tea. Only a Queen`s Park supporter, Bob claimed, would make such an effort to deliver such a mild rebuke. I listened to him at a dinner when he discussed Scotland`s poor showing in the 1978 World Cup Final noticing the newspaper headline, "World Rocked by Scots Loss" and imagining Papuan tribesmen 20,000 up some mountain muttering to each other, " I canae believe it, Ally`s men beaten." When he was Mr."Now You Know" in the Evening Times, he soon began to see a trend in the letters - "I can`t believe it`s true but a friend tells me Celtic once beat Rangers 7-1. Can you confirm?" a Timaloy would ask knowing full well but looking to rub the Bluenoses in it. Right on cue would come, "It scarcely beggars believe but I`m told Rangers once beat Celtic 8-1. Surely not?" signed "GERS FOR EVER". The reposte would be, "War time games dinnae count. Anyway, can you confirm who`s won the cup most often?"

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Post by upthewell » Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:28 pm

Gaun the Bob! The big man upstairs will appreciate his company.

Sad loss for us mind...

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Post by lbb » Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:50 pm

Sat31March1928 wrote: There was a frankly laughable part in the Scotsman article stating that Richard Gordon had now taken on part of his mantle.
Richly comic. The celebration of mediocrity is what happens when people come to know no better. Sportsound is now a pale shadow of its former self - the departure of Crampsey was a major factor.

I hope admin doesn't mind me posting this article from the Sunday Herald marking Bob's retirement from broadcasting on May 27, 2001 -

THERE is an almost boyish smile as he lines up a farewell handshake. "If I'd known retiring was going to make me this popular," observes Bob Crampsey, "I'd have done it years ago." He jokes he is the only surviving link from the days when pigeons were used to carry reports back to newspaper offices, and, indubitably, former Brain of Britain Crampsey has proved the most durable of sports broadcasters and writers. At the age of 70 his output remains prolific; his distinctive Glasgow south side accent is as much in demand as it has ever been; while when sports editors want an article written with the full weight of historical perspective, it is to Crampsey they turn.

Today, though, in the home he and wife Veronica share within half- a-mile of Hampden Park, Crampsey will be contemplating a quieter life. Well, that's the theory. After 44 years this former history teacher and headmaster is hanging up the headphones, but only insomuch that he will no longer be a week-to-week regular on BBC Scotland's Saturday afternoon Sportsound programme. As long as the memory remains intact, the work will continue to flow his way.

What changes Bob must have witnessed over the years, and yet, if there is an understandable nostalgia for the 1950s and 1960s, when he cut his teeth in the fledgling black and white world of television sports broadcasting, it says much for his outlook on life that he has been able to accept, and adapt to, the rapidly changing media world. Where, as a young man, he once worked for the old Glasgow Evening News alongside a veteran sports reporter called Sandy Adamson who was the last survivor of the carrier pigeon era, Crampsey has latterly sat in press boxes beside laptop-carrying writers sending their match reports electronically via mobile phones.

Despite not being fazed by modern methods, Crampsey is in agreement that he has witnessed the steady erosion of Scotland's standing in world football.

"Up until about 1957, when I started in broadcasting, you could have made some claim for Scotland being the football capital of the world and it wouldn't have been ludicrous," he points out. "Glasgow had four grounds which could take more than 60,000 people each.

"The 1960s were exceptional for Scottish football, with the famous Real Madrid versus Eintracht Frankfurt match, the international matches against England, and Celtic winning the European Cup in 1967."

Since then, despite Rangers winning the European Cup Winners-Cup in 1972 and Aberdeen emulating that feat 11 years later, it is tempting to describe Scotland's attempts on the football pitch as all downhill. Having seen the best - the Dundee side of the early 1960s which he describes as the most "classical" he has ever watched in Scotland, and Celtic, the most "exhilarating" - what on earth has kept Crampsey in television and radio studios, not to mention primitive and frequently freezing press boxes, for almost 45 years?

It is not as if the former headmaster, who retired from St Ambrose School in Coatbridge in 1986, lacks other interests. As well as his 1965 Brain of Britain title, he was a semi-finalist in Mastermind eight years later, choosing as his specialist subject the American Civil War. Crampsey is also a longstanding associate of the Royal College of Music, and is currently completing a history of Royal Troon golf club.

"I love the game, I really do," he responds to the original question. "Even if you see a lot of bad matches, it takes only one good one to rekindle your enthusiasm."

Brought up in a family of Queen's Park supporters - inevitably he wrote the centenary history - the seven-year-old Crampsey somehow persuaded his mother to allow him to attend, alone, the 1938 Scottish Cup Final replay between East Fife and Kilmarnock at Hampden, won 4- 2 by the Fifers.

The youngster's first home was even closer to the national stadium (200 yards) than his present one, but even so, surely it was an extraordinary risk to allow a seven-year-old to go alone to a match attracting an 82,000 attendance?

"The crowds were remarkably well-behaved in those days," Crampsey recalls. "I was adopted by a crowd of miners from Coaltown of Wemyss, and since that day I have had a soft spot for East Fife."

After an earlier rejection by the BBC, Crampsey began his broadcasting career with Scottish TV in 1957, when he was asked to commentate on an ice hockey game. He and another legend of black and white broadcasting, Arthur Montford, went through many a heart- stopping moment together.

"Arthur was unflappable in studio situations," remembers Crampsey with relief still in his voice. "For at least the first four or five years everything was done on the hoof; there were no recording facilities and if you got it wrong you got it wrong very publicly."

Unusually, Crampsey moved from television to radio, joining Radio Clyde in the 1970s before negotiating a transfer to Radio Scotland in 1987, a year after his retiral from teaching. Yesterday, in his final regular programme of Sportsound, he was, appropriately back at Hampden for the Tennent's Scottish Cup final.

Although an incurable enthusiast, Crampsey nevertheless cannot be optimistic about the future of football in Scotland.

"I'm a historian by trade," he says, "and I don't think anybody can understand industrial Scotland who doesn't understand the part association football played, particularly in the West of Scotland. Football was a product of industrial society, and the question is: can it survive in a post-industrial society? I don't know the answer to that one."

Crampsey fears for the survival of many clubs, both in senior and junior football. "The strength of the Scottish game doesn't depend on how many turn up at Ibrox or Parkhead," he points out. "When you get average crowds at Motherwell and Perth of under 4,000, and not much more at Dunfermline, you have to be worried.

"I'm very much a small club man - they shouldn't be allowed to dictate policy necessarily, but they should be kept in being whenever possible.

If, for the sake of argument, you shut Cowdenbeath down tomorrow all that would happen is that 300 more people would be lost to the game. It happened just down the road at Third Lanark. Between 8,000- 10,000 Thirds supporters walked away from the senior game."

As one of that unusual breed, a west coast broadcaster who does not support either Celtic or Rangers, Crampsey's overview after a lifetime of observation is that the Old Firm remain a mixed blessing.

"It has given us two clubs which, in theory at least, can compete in Europe," he says. "They're too big for the country and that's the real dilemma. Neither Celtic nor Rangers have been quick to grasp the fact that for a league to prosper you have to have competition. You have to keep it credible, and other teams will beat you from time to time.

"The result is they say they are out of their league, literally. But the Premiership doesn't appear to want them, and the so-called Atlantic League is not a favourite of mine - I'm given to referring to it as the Forth and Clyde Canal League. It would only be a second division in Europe and I'm not sure the supporters of both clubs wouldn't prefer to stay where they are."

It says much for the respect accorded to Crampsey that he can deliver this kind of analysis without having the Old Firm, and their supporters, demanding his neck.

Today, as he looks forward to following the cricket season with just as much passion, he can savour a career with a wicket-taking off- break or two still to come.

crampsey on ...

Hibs . . .

They have rightly received praise this season, but they also deserve to be censured for failing to finish second in the league. In my time we won't again see Rangers have such a stumbling run-in.

Ferguson v Stein . . .

I expect Celtic and Rangers managers to do well, so I look at what Stein did at Dunfermline and Hibs.

You have to give it to Ferguson because he did it in England and Scotland. To win the championship the number of times he has is quite exceptional.

the best Scottish sides . . .

Dundee in the early 1960s were best. Jock Stein's Celtic played with great exhilaration, but the Dens Parkers were a classical side. In the 1950s I went every year to the Hibs-Hearts derby. Hibs were prepared to lose three goals to score four. The Aberdeen side of the 1980s was tremendous and, for a while, there was Dundee United.

his favourite players . . .

Stanley Matthews was the best player I ever saw. Gordon Smith won three league winners' medals with three different clubs outwith the Old Firm. Others included Alex Hamilton of Dundee, Charlie Gallacher of Celtic, and Willie Hamilton of Hibs. Of the current crop Jorg Albertz, Lubomir Moravcik, Brian Laudrup and Henrik Larsson are excellent.

himself . . .

The one thing I regret about my inglorious sporting career is that I didn't play more cricket.

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Post by Alan Brown » Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:50 pm

I can recall writing to Bob through his Evening Times colum around 15 years ago for information on a Scottish referee with the surname Brittle. About a week later I received a phone call from him telling me that William or Bill Brittle was a master baker from the south side of Glasgow and was a friend of his! Such a knowlegable man and will be missed.

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Post by the hibLOG » Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:00 am

Just out of curiosity,, which was the fourth Glasgow ground capapble of housing 60,000 spectators that Bob refers to? The record attendances for Firhill and Shawfield were set a long time before the 1950s and didn't exceed 52,000. Wikipedia also gives Cathkin's record crowd as 45,455.

Is it just a misprint for 'Scotland'? As far as I can see, Easter Road is the only Scottish ground outside Glasgow ever to have held more than 60,000 for a football match.
Fraser

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Post by Scottish » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:00 pm

the hibLOG wrote:Just out of curiosity,, which was the fourth Glasgow ground capapble of housing 60,000 spectators that Bob refers to?
Firhill. Pre-war the capacity was as much as 70,000. The ground record is 54,723 for Scotland v Northern Ireland in 1928-29.

In 1939 total capacity at the six Glasgow league grounds was around 550,000 and the five Edinburgh grounds around 190,000. For the 34 league clubs in existence at that time the total was around 1,400,000.

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Post by problemchild » Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:43 pm

scottish wrote:
the hibLOG wrote:Just out of curiosity,, which was the fourth Glasgow ground capapble of housing 60,000 spectators that Bob refers to?
Firhill. Pre-war the capacity was as much as 70,000. The ground record is 54,723 for Scotland v Northern Ireland in 1928-29.

In 1939 total capacity at the six Glasgow league grounds was around 550,000 and the five Edinburgh grounds around 190,000. For the 34 league clubs in existence at that time the total was around 1,400,000.
Next curiosity question. What were the other 3 Edinburgh grounds in 1939?

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