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Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Football host Wilson retires
Bob Wilson
Wilson kept goal in Arsenal's 1971 double-winning side
Veteran sports presenter Bob Wilson is to retire from television at the end of the month after 28 years.

Wilson, who as a goalkeeper won football's League and FA Cup double with Arsenal in 1971, has fronted sports shows for both BBC and ITV.

Most recently, Wilson could be seen on ITV, where he presented the most popular football programme in British TV history, England's ill-fated game with Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, which attracted 26 million viewers.

Terry Venables and Bob Wilson
Wilson (right, with Terry Venables) at work for ITV
From 1974 to 1994, he was one of the leading presenters on BBC Sport, where he presented Grandstand, Sportsnight and Match of the Day.

One of the first sports personalities to cross into television, he also recently retired from his post as goalkeeping coach at Arsenal.

At the time, it was reported he would be spending more time with wife Megs as well as working for the Willow Foundation, the charity they founded after the death of their 31-year-old daughter Anna.

Wilson said: "I retired this year from coaching with Arsenal and I have now just worked on my ninth World Cup on television.

"A lot of young TV presenters are coming through and doing well. I just think it's time. I've been so lucky."

Wilson joined ITV to front its coverage of Champions League games.

In 1999 he led the network's team which covered Manchester United's dramatic Champions League final win over Bayern Munich, which was watched by 19 million viewers.

Michael Owen tackles Juan Sebastian Veron
England's titanic 1998 clash with Argentina was a highlight
Although slightly eclipsed by the defection of Des Lynam from the BBC in 1999 and the rise of new talent such as Gabby Logan, Wilson continued to front highlights shows as well as some matches.

Most recently, he presented some World Cup games for ITV1 and ITV2, regional highlights on Carlton in London, and pay-per-view Premiership games for the now-defunct ITV Sport Channel.

ITV controller of sport Brian Barwick said: "Bob has done a tremendous job for ITV.

"A true broadcast professional with a genuine instinct and love of football, he leaves with the total respect of all his friends and colleagues."

A spokesman for BBC Sport said: "Bob Wilson was a valued member of the BBC Sport team for many years and we wish him the very best in his retirement."

See also:

30 May 02 | Entertainment
18 Nov 01 | Entertainment
11 May 02 | Sports Talk
02 Oct 00 | Wembley
01 Sep 01 | Football
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