Bring Me the Sports Jacket of Arthur Montford: An Adventure Through Scottish Football
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Thanks to his friend, Douglas Rae, at whose house Montford’s second marriage took place with Rae as best man, Montford was appointed director of Morton FC, and latterly became honorary vice-president. Montford was raised in Greenock and was a lifelong supporter of local football club Greenock Morton. Then, at the age of 28, he was signed-up as an announcer with the new commercial broadcaster Scottish Television ahead of its launch on 31 August 1957. Yet it is precisely Montford’s verbal style that he is loved for and his erudite expressions could enliven the most trying of sporting events.
Montford told the Academy rector, a Mr William Dewar, that he would become a journalist and after national service in the army, he joined the News as an office boy, before making the graduation through the ranks to reporter, working for the News, then the Daily Record before joining the sports desk of the Evening Times.He tackled the controversy quietly, preferring to show by example that a Christian need not take sides.
Voted in as Rector of Glasgow University in 1974, Montford had a tough act to follow in Jimmy Reid, the Clydeside shipyard union leader whose rectorial address in 1971 is one of the greatest Scottish speeches of all time. The world of Scottish football can be a divisive place at times, but news of the death of Arthur Montford at the age of 85 in November 2014 was met with sadness and tributes from all parts of the game there. He attended Greenock Academy, where he was one of a band of rebels who tried — unsuccessfully — to introduce soccer to the rugby-playing school. A packed Bearsden Cross Church, near Glasgow, heard how Arthur, who died last week aged 85, had still been writing his golfing column for Bunkered magazine until the final weeks of his life. Throughout a long and hectic career, He interviewed all the greats from Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player to name amongst a few famous sport players whom Montford had the pleasure of meeting over time.He came up to me in his checked jacket and said ours was the only game on in Scotland and he’d be reporting on it. Montford was President and captain of Glasgow Golf Club, and was Rector of the University of Glasgow, 1974-1977. Whilst at school he was one of a band of rebels who tried — unsuccessfully — to introduce soccer to the rugby-playing school. In a moving tribute his daughter Vivienne, 58, told how her dad would read her bedtime stories which were largely made up and involved a cast of characters including her teddies. This was an early highlight in a career that would take in half a dozen World Cups, 380 domestic and European games as commentator including 38 Old Firm matches, and some of the most memorable moments in Scottish football – in 1973, he really did say “disaster for Scotland” when goalkeeper Ally Hunter let a shot from Zdenek Nehoda of Czechoslovakia through his hands at Hampden on an unforgettable night when Scotland came from behind to qualify for the 1974 World Cup.
His recollections of some of golf's greatest players, moments, and tournaments were popular with the magazine's readers and he was the title's longest-serving regular contributor. He also presented Radio Clyde’s version of Desert Island Discs (billed as Montford's Meeting Place) where he interviewed many famous people who dropped by for a chat with the STV legend that was an unmissable sample of Clyde's weekend schedule in the 1970s and 1980s as well as writing the Scotsport Annual among other books. Arthur Montford (1929–2014) was a Scottish broadcaster, best-known for his 32-year tenure as the presenter of Scottish Television's Scotsport.
He would often read the evening Scottish news bulletin, announce the evening programmes and, on Wednesdays, present the midweek magazine programme, Scotsport. A couple of weeks later I thought no more about it, but he invited me back to the Theatre Royal: really to make the numbers up for someone whom they had in mind, but at the last minute he decided he didn't want the job.
Montford's first audition in Maryhill Burgh Hall was dismal, but he was given another chance at the Theatre Royal and more than passed muster. Montford spent 32 years as the presenter of Scottish Television’s Scotsport programme where he was best known for his football coverage, although he was also covered a range of other sports, especially golf. In May 2010, Montford received the SPFA Special Merit award for his services to football broadcasting and journalism alongside fellow broadcaster Archie Macpherson. It was a golden era in Scottish football, and Montford was at the heart of it from the late 1950s through the glory days of the 1970s to the late 1980s, always finding something positive to say about the game – even in Argentina in 1978.These went well as a radio broadcaster, and, when BBC sports editor John Wilson joined Scottish Television in 1957, he asked Montford to join him in the new commercial visual age. He had no need for gimmicks but was famed for his check jacket – it was of a houndstooth pattern that he later donated to charity – and his unique turn of phrase, as well as his passionate support of the Scottish national team.