The Rugby Football League has led the tributes to radio broadcaster David Oates, who has died after a short illness at the age of 50.
A lifelong Blackpool FC fan, Oates was a regular commentator on rugby league and football on BBC Radio and also commentated on a number of Championship rugby matches for Premier Sports. “On behalf of everyone in rugby league, I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to David’s wife Charlotte and their children at this terrible time,” RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said. “David was not just a friend to the sport, he was a friend to many people at the RFL and we are shocked and saddened by his untimely death. As a broadcaster he was the consummate professional; his commentaries were never anything other than accurate, intuitive and knowledgeable.”
Former colleagues from the BBC added their own tributes to Oates, who had recently left the corporation after more than 20 years to go freelance. Fellow TV and radio broadcaster Nicky Campbell wrote on his Twitter account: “RIP David Oates. Wonderful pro. Lovely human being.”
Former Wimbledon and Wales manager Bobby Gould also paid his respects via Twitter. He said: “Sad sad news of the death of David Oates. I will miss you RIP.”