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A woman is to read radio football results


charlotte green football 5 liveFormer Radio Four newsreader Charlotte Green becomes first woman in prestigious 5 Live role.

I fear I hear a chorus of “So what?” from those who have no interest in football.

But actually it’s quite a significant moment for women in sport.

Slowly but surely, women are starting to break down the traditionally male bastions, especially in broadcasting, and are making their mark.

Obviously, we would like to get the point where this isn’t news, but while it is, let’s celebrate it.

Charlotte Green, 57, had had a distinguished 34-year career with the BBC when it was announced that she and fellow broadcaster, Harriet Cass, were to take voluntary redundancy in 2012.

The news brought country-wide consternation from listeners and colleagues alike.

But more importantly, it called into question the BBC’s policy with regard to featuring older women both on the radio and television.

It also sparked a wider debate over the role of older women in society as a whole.

Green, whose voice has often been described as the vocal equivalent of honey, is clearly excited about her new role.

Needless to say some sceptics, who I suspect are not Radio 4 listeners, and therefore have not heard Green’s soothing tones, have already voiced their disquiet. What could a woman possibly know about football results? Will she grasp the importance of the role? Can she lend sufficient gravitas?

The answer to the last of these questions is beyond obvious. Charlotte Green would lend gravitas to reading out a shopping list.

However, what is less well known is that Green knows her football. She is a life-long Tottenham fan, and in a recent interview with the BBC she said, “As a six-year-old I used to sit reading the football scores out loud so this is a dream come true.”

She has big shoes to fill.

James Alexander Gordon was the voice of the football results for over 40 years. He retired in July after being diagnosed with cancer. There is no doubt he will be greatly missed. He had a way of conveying the weekly triumph and tragedy equally without mocking the 9-0s or being bored by the no-score draws.

“We are delighted to welcome Charlotte to 5 live and we are really looking forward to hearing her distinctive voice reading the classifieds, made so famous by James Alexander Gordon,” said Richard Burgess, head of BBC Radio Sport.

“She is a broadcaster of true calibre and I know she will bring clarity and warmth to the role.”

And so say all of us.

Listening to the Sports Report football results on a Saturday is a tradition the length and breadth of the country. Charlotte Green will become a very different, but valuable part of that tradition.

Tune in to 5 Live or the World Service at 5pm on Saturday 28 September, to hear her first broadcast.

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