Football Supporters’ Association chair Malcolm Clarke has condemned the BBC’s “deeply regrettable” move to axe broadcasting the 5pm Saturday classified results on Radio 5 live.
The choice to end the tradition, which went back to the 1950s, was met in some quarters with ire and disbelief from supporters and stars alike, with former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson tweeting: “Can’t believe the BBC have dropped the Reading of the Classified results on Sports Report.....Talk about an OG..!!” in response.
Clarke was among those who urged the BBC to reconsider its decision.
He said: “The classified football results on the radio have been one of the great traditions of British football. Listening to the classified results has always been one of those beloved, shared routines for match-going fans.
“This feels like yet another of football’s great traditions has gone and it is a deeply regrettable decision from the BBC - I hope they will think again.”
Some supporters have even taken matters into their own hands, with a petition launched on Monday afternoon aiming to convince BBC bosses that the service is still relevant.
The petition reads: “Though scores are available online, mobile, and on the TV, there has always been the tried and trusted method of getting in the car, or listening to the radio on the move.
“If your mobile coverage fails you (as it often does in congested football grounds), there is always Sports Report to tell you how the rest of the football pyramid fared today.
“Sports Report is indeed a shortened affair these days, but as fans, we would prefer to sacrifice a manager’s interview than do away with an institution that has served us and the footballing world for decades.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “With the addition of the 5:30pm live Premier League match to our coverage, Sports Report has been condensed into a shorter programme.
“We will still offer a comprehensive goal service throughout the day on air and on the BBC Sport website as well as Final Score on BBC One. We would like to thank everyone who has read the classified football results on 5 Live over the years.”
Charlotte Green took over reading the update after James Alexander Gordon, who institutionalised the practice, stepped down after 40 years in 2013.
Gordon, who died a year later, once told the BBC his signature style, which transformed simple scorelines into a must-listen for many, came from his training as a musician.
He said: “I think music had a lot to do with the way I read them. I looked at these names and thought, unkindly, five minutes of that could be very boring for the listener. I thought it would be nice to make it a little different, with a bit of excitement.”