Bob Lethaby bids a fond, sad farewell to a man whose words would shape our week’s mood.

I don’t know what it is about me at the moment, but whenever I hear about death or demise of someone linked to my life, I become overwhelmed by irrational nostalgia and a sense loss. Maybe it is a case of getting closer to the grave that make me more emotional about such things?

So when, yesterday, I learnt of the death of BBC Radio’s classified football results reporter, James Alexander Gordon, I felt like another part of my youth had died, although it was already in intensive care after discovering match reporter, Stuart Hall was a sex offender rather than the poetic genius my peers and I once admired.

My greatest times at football were not when Reading got promoted to the Premiership (twice) or when they moved to a sanitised stadium; they were football away days in the 80′s and early 90′s to places like Blackpool, Gillingham, Rotherham and Northampton.

An integral part of those days was drink fuelled laddism that was well out of the way of girlfriends and parents who would have despaired at the reasoning of young lads who, for entertainment purposes, crammed into, and travelled hundreds of miles in a Maxi, Datsun or a Marina that was full of the stench of stale beer, dope, dodgy pies and wet camouflage jackets.

However, for a period in our lives it meant everything to us, it was a common suburban bond we shared and we didn’t care if others didn’t get it, as we were happy with football, beer, pies and the Radio 5 (or formerly Radio 2) Sports Report after the match.

The sound of the tune ‘Out of the Blue’ and voice of James Alexander Gordon was an integral part of our day and we all joined in with the tune as heaters attempted to clear windscreens of our crap cars.

Football has changed so much, in many ways for the better of course, sport and life moves on and evolves, it has to, but I can’t help thinking that it has been stolen by the middle classes, leaving the traditional supporters of yesteryear buried under the hyped up bunting of SKY TV and the Premier League.

With every new season, deluded nostalgia reminds me of happy days, muddy pitches, Class C drugs, fights, standing room only, the bleach cubes in the urinals straining to beat of the stench of piss, and players sliding through the sodden pitches to carry out a brutal assault.

That’s why we went to football, that’s where our common bond lay and as every year passes, part of my love of the beautiful game dies a bit more as the grounds fill up with those types who treat it like a trip to the cinema or the bowling alley, applauding opponents players and not giving a toss about the result.

To us, a Reading away win (a rarity of course) would always make a night in places like Nottingham more fun and a night in a sleeping bag in the boot of a car, a bit more tolerable…Winning wasn’t everything but it didn’t half help.

Those were the days that made us English, not some love of the aristocracy or our colonial history; we hated the establishment, Thatcher and the police who taunted and bullied us…But we loved Sports Report and James Alexander Gordon, a man who’s only ambition left before he died, was to say…

Forfar 5…..East Fife 4.

Read more of Bob’s ace work here