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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
1966 World Cup commentator dies
Hugh Johns
The 1966 England-Germany World Cup final was the first on ITV
Football commentator Hugh Johns, best known as "the other voice" of the 1966 World Cup final, has died, aged 84.

In a TV career spanning four decades, the Cardiff broadcaster covered an estimated 1,000 games, including four World Cup finals for ITV.

He was a regular on The Big Match and Star Soccer in the 1970s but also commentated on boxing, bowls, snooker and darts.

Ex-colleague Barry Davies called him "a great guy and a fine commentator".

Mr Johns, who lived in Cardiff, became active in the Freemasons in his retirement.

He was the "voice of Midlands football", as commentator for Star Soccer, the Sunday highlights programme with ATV and Central for 13 years until the early 1980s.

Mr Johns was presented with a "Golden Microphone," a lifetime achievement award, for his services to football in the region by former Nottingham Forest and Derby County manager Brian Clough in 2002.

Fellow commentator Barry Davies told BBC Radio Wales: "He was the leading pioneer as far as ITV were concerned because when the 1966 World Cup came around, [it was] the first time ITV could go head-to-head against the BBC and they had to find new commentators.

Hugh Johns
Here's Hurst, he might make it three. He has! He has... so that's it. That is IT!
Hugh Johns' 1966 World Cup ITV commentary as England's Geoff Hurst scored his hat-trick

"I was standing behind him at the back of the commentary box. It was clear the audience for the BBC was higher than of ITV, but he did a very good job and went on to do several other World Cup finals.

Honours

"[His] was a lovely voice and it was backed up by a good deal of knowledge about the game.

"Sometimes there was just a little clipped line or three or four short sentences which just made the point. He didn't go in for monologues."

Some of the best-known lines of sporting commentary were uttered on the BBC by Mr Johns' opposite number, Kenneth Wolstenholme, during the 1966 England-West Germany final.

As England's Geoff Hurst closed in during the game's dying moments for his third goal - and England's fourth - Wolstenholme exclaimed: "Some people are on the pitch... they think it's all over... it is now!"

At the same moment, Mr Johns was concentrating more on the striker's hat-trick as he told ITV viewers: "Here's Hurst, he might make it three. He has! He has... so that's it. That is IT!"

Interviewed a few years ago, Mr Johns admitted he was not a fan of modern football and only occasionally watched it on TV, but said he had made many friends in the game and through television.

"People say I have a distinctive voice and people on the phone will say: 'Aren't you the guy who used to commentatate on the box? I grew up listening to you!'"

Mr Johns was a member of the United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of England, Province of South Wales Eastern Division.

A tribute to him posted on its website said that in 2002 he was made past provincial senior grand warden, one of the highest honours within the provincial lodge.

Mr Johns' wife, Joan, died in November 2003. They had been married for 53 years.




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"It was a lovely voice"



SEE ALSO
Motson tribute to Wolstenholme
26 Mar 02 |  Football
BBC's Wolstenholme dies
26 Mar 02 |  Football
Masters of the microphone
23 Jan 02 |  BBC Pundits
China soccer bias forces apology
28 Jun 06 |  Asia-Pacific

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