Former TV commentator Gerald Sinstadt has died aged 91.
Sinstadt’s work for the BBC and ITV made him one of the most recognizable voices in broadcast football in the 1970s after starting Granada Television.
From 1970 to 1982 he covered four World Cups for ITV and then worked on the Olympics for the BBC.
“He was a craftsman, a very good commentator and just a lovely man,” said Andrew Clement, who worked with Sinstadt at the BBC for about 30 years.
While racist patio taunts in the 1970s were often overlooked by football commentators, Sinstadt was one of the first to speak out about the abuse in his commentary, such as in West Brom’s 5-3 win at Manchester United in 1978.
He has commented on many other iconic games of this period, including Denis Law’s goal for Manchester City against United in 1974 and Liverpool’s comeback victory in the European Cup quarter-finals against St Etienne in 1977.
He also covered West Germany’s victory over France in their controversial 1982 World Cup semi-final and Diego Maradona’s goal in the 1994 World Cup before his expulsion from the tournament.
After joining the BBC in the 1980s, Sinstadt was the pitchside reporter on the day of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and appeared in Jimmy McGovern’s 1996 televised docu-drama about the tragedy.
He also covered rower Sir Steve Redgrave winning the first four of his five Olympic gold medals and the boat race for the BBC.
Sinstadt was a regular at Football Focus, Match of the Day and Final Score until his retirement. Towards the end of his career, he was often called upon to write and sing obituaries with Clément.
“He taught me a lot,” BBC Sport executive producer Clement said. “He was very generous with his time and was a wonderful mentor to many of us when we first started on TV.
“He was a fantastic blacksmith, especially when paying homage to some of the game’s greats in obituaries.
“His use of language was second to none and he was brilliant at putting words into pictures. He used to sit on the mount, which was rare at the time. If I produced a photo for him, he would bring it to life with a perfectly chosen phrase or image. He designed his pieces. “
Born in Folkestone, Kent, Sinstadt began his career in 1949 with the British Forces Broadcasting Service, where he met Barry Davies.
Upon their return to the UK, Sinstadt helped Davies join him on BBC Radio, where the former worked in the 1950s and 1960s, and both became two of sports broadcasting’s most recognizable voices in the 1970s. .
Sinstadt also commented on golf for Channel 4 and, in 1987, was the first to voice the long-running Trans World Sport program. Apart from sports, he has also produced television programs on his other great passion, opera.
After settling in pottery, after his retirement, Sinstadt continued to write a weekly column for the Stoke Sentinel until 2019.