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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June 2005, 23:20 GMT 00:20 UK
Football guru Sewell awarded MBE

Albert Sewell
Albert Sewell joined the BBC in 1968
Legendary football statistician Albert Sewell has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's honours list for his services to the game.

The longest-serving member of Match of the Day retired at the end of the season after 37 years with the programme.

Born in 1927, Albert left school aged 16 and started his first job as a messenger in the sports room of the Daily Sketch.

After the war he joined the Press Association as a trainee journalist and between 1949 and 1978 edited Chelsea's match-day programme.

Albert first came to the BBC in 1968 to work on the BBC's new football programmes, Match of the Day and Football Preview (the forerunner to Football Focus.)

His role involves providing notes, facts and statistics to the production and presentation teams ahead of each match.

"My role is to back up the commentators and presenters and make them even better," Albert told the Match of the Day website.

"So I closely check their scripts and pick up on any mistakes.

"I also supply notes with facts and figures about every Premiership game, team, players, managers, records and so on."

Albert's been so helpful to me, I honestly don't know how I would have managed without him...he knows about every stat in the game - he's a top man!
Match of the Day presenter, Gary Lineker

All Albert's work is done on a typewriter, and he has 30 years' worth of notes dotted around his house, shed and garage!

Throughout his career, Albert has worked with some of the biggest names in sports broadcasting, including David Coleman, Jimmy Hill and Gary Lineker.

He became known to the wider public when Des Lynam regularly referred to him as 'Our man Albert' while in the presenter's chair.

"I suppose I am responsible for making Albert as famous as he is - principally because I thought, why should I take all the blame for all the stats that go wrong?" Lynam recalls.

"But Albert's certainly helped me down the years rather more than I've helped him

"As they say in life, there are lies, damn lies, statistics... and Albert. Good on you son."

Albert's retirement brings to an end a 37-year association with the BBC.

But if Match of the Day commentator John Motson gets his way, Albert won't be free to tend to his garden just yet.

"For 30 years now, every week I've received Albert's notes - six pages of editorial gold dust.

"What am I going to do without them? I'm going to approach Albert secretly and ask him to go on doing them, just for me!

"Happy retirement Albert, but you haven't quite finished yet!"



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