Pioneer Arthur

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The real legacy of Arthur 
Montford as sports presenter was that ability to adapt to the new technologies while still retaining that common touch that so appealed to viewers.

Martin Hannan rightly drew attention to the wide span of his career from the canned film of games in the 1950s to modern satellite transmissions (Obituaries, 28 November). He helped bring football coverage, in particular, into the parts the post-war BBC could not or would not reach.

Imagine erecting a temporary scaffold, with Montford perched on top with the cameras and 
microphone, near the north-west corner flag at Cowdenbeath’s Central Park in September 1958 for a game against Celtic.

That’s the sort of thing STV did in that era.

It proved widely popular at a time when football was perhaps the main source of entertainment for most men (and a few women). Often twice a week, football supporters could rush home for the novelty of seeing Scotsport coverage of matches they had just witnessed.

He could be a witty debater too. I remember he came to a Strathclyde University debate in the 1970s, when he was rector of Glasgow University, to lampoon the whole extravagance of Christmas celebrations.

That irreverence was matched by a generosity of spirit. His calm assurance, attention to detail, and ready wit set a standard for television sports coverage. In an age when there are multiple television channels in almost every home, these are values all broadcasters should cherish.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court