BBC axes classified football results on Radio 5 Live

·3 min read
BBC axes classified football results on Radio 5 Live
BBC axes classified football results on Radio 5 Live

The long-standing tradition of the classified football results on Radio 5 Live has been axed by BBC in the latest scheduling reshuffle.

Dulcet tones of James Alexander Gordon, and more recently Charlotte Green, have been a key part of Sports Report, one of the longest-running programmes on UK radio, for decades.

However, BBC bosses say there is no longer room for the full results service due to the addition of 5.30pm coverage for the Premier League evening kick-offs. Classified results have been read out after the familiar theme music Out of the Blue at 5pm on Saturdays since 1948. First broadcast on the BBC Light Programme, the show was on Radio 2 for many years before switching to Radio 5 Live in 1994.

Gordon read the football scores from 1974 to 2013 (watch video below), when he was replaced by Green, the former BBC Radio 4 newsreader.

But fans returning to their cars after games to tune in to Sports Report were surprised on Saturday to discover there were no traditional results read out.

Amid a growing backlash, Football Supporters Association chair Malcolm Clarke said it was a "disappointing decision and a sad day for football."

"The classified football results on the radio have been one of the great traditions of British football," he said. "I think it is deeply regrettable that the BBC has done this and I hope they will think again."

Mark Lawrenson, the former Liverpool defender who retired as a regular BBC pundit at the end of last season, was among those to express dismay at what he described as an own goal by the corporation. "Can’t believe the BBC have dropped the Reading of the Classified results on Sports Report," he tweeted. "Talk about an OG...!! WTF..."

Axing the tradition is the latest modernising move by Radio 5 Live, which in 2020 presided over a strategic cull which led to Cornelius Lysaght, its voice of racing, to leave along with fellow staffer and host Jonathan Overend. Mark Pougatch – another respected anchor – was also told there was no regular work.

A BBC statement 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."

Niall Couper, chief executive of the football charity Fair Game, said the BBC should have more focus on the lower tiers. "It’s always nice for football fans to have awareness about how much football is going on throughout the pyramid," he told Telegraph Sport. "After all football is part of the culture of our towns and communities across the country and isn’t limited just to the Premier League."

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you agree with the BBC's decision to end the classified football results on Radio 5 Live?