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Southern Soccer

Southern Football Highlights 1966-1981
Southern Television began broadcasting an ITV service to the Hampshire area in August 1958. Local football highlights first appeared on Sunday 6th November 1966 (2:45-3:30pm), by which time Southern had added the South East corner of England to their coverage area, indeed the 2nd game they recorded was Gillingham 1 Swindon Town 0 on 12th November 1966 (See the matchday programme article here). The station continued to turn up at a match on a weekly basis for the rest of the decade, but coverage was severely cut for 1970/71, Southern viewers then saw London Weekend's The Big Match when their local service was not covering a match of their own. For 1973/74 Southern appear to have dropped Southern Soccer altogether and merely contributed the odd local game for LWT to screen as the 2nd feature on The Big Match. Following a trickle of local programmes thereafter, Brighton's promotion in 1979 meant that the region now had two top flight clubs and this encouraged Southern to revamp their local highlights as The Southern Big Match.

Southern commentators
November 1966 - ?December 1968?
Maurice Edelston - A former Reading centre forward (70 goals in 202 appearances 1946-52) who had also played in the infamous Berlin Olympics at the age of 18. By 1960 he was commentating for BBC radio and in 1968, towards the end of his spell with Southern, he commentated for Match of the Day whilst David Coleman was covering the Olympics. Edelston was still part of BBC Radio's team when he died in January 1976 having also covered Tennis.
?January 1969 - 1970?
Simon Smith - A BBC radio football and boxing commentator for many years, he died in the mid-2000's.
*Smith may have first commentated for Southern on 26/Oct/1968 when Edelston did a one off for Match of the Day.
Gerry Williams - A West London born Crystal Palace fan who also covered football for the Daily Mail, he later became better known nationally as a BBC Tennis commentator before retiring circa 2005. He died in 2016.
*Fred Dineage was photographed commentating on 27/Jan/1973 Bournemouth v York City
December 1974 - October 1976
Martin Tyler - First commentated for Southern on 28/Dec/1974 when Williams was unavailable, he was then asked back and may have become Southern's first choice commentator with Williams remaining with the station until 1978. Tyler commentated for Southern for the final time on 02/Oct/1976 before leaving for Yorkshire Television and going on to become the voice of football in the Granada region and ultimately Sky Sports.
?November 1976 - April 1977?
Dave Lanning - From Poole, Lanning was a darts and speedway commentator on ITV's World of Sport but also commentated on at least one football match for Southern. He went on to cover darts for Sky Sports before announcing his retirement in 2011, he died aged 78 in October 2016.
*Lanning also commentated on the Yorkshire TV series "The Indoor League"
?October 1977 - Early 1978?
Nigel King - His main ITV job was as a commentator on stock car racing (and other motor sports) for World Of Sport but he also voiced a number of football matches for Southern.
?Early 1978? - December 1981
David Bobin - Joined Southern TV in 1975 having worked for local newspapers and radio in Oxford, he was also among the original employees of Southern's successors TVS, but he was replaced by Gerald Sinstadt in the football commentary box. Bobin also worked for Meridian before joining Sky. Died in May 2017.

*Note:- It has been suggested that Tony Gubba was 2nd choice commentator for Southern in the early days, but apparently he only presented at the time (he left Southern for BBC Sport in 1973).

The Southern region's league teams 1966-1981
Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton & Hove Albion*, Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic, Reading, Gillingham, Aldershot and Southend United**.
*LWT cameras also occasionally turned up at Brighton, whilst Reading and Aldershot may also have been considered LWT clubs before Southern added a TV mast in that area in 1971.
**Coverage of Southend United was shared with Anglia.

AldershotBournemouthBrighton and Hove AlbionGillinghamPortsmouthReadingSouthampton

What matches were shown
The following season links detail all known Saturday matches recorded by Southern cameras for local highlights, the re-edits of other region's matches are not included here (see the other region's pages for those here). Given dates are for when the fixture was played (not the broadcast). For midweek games (which were networked) go here, for full details of networked Wembley Cup finals go here and for European finals see here. Given dates are for when the fixture was played (not the broadcast). Non-South based matches are in italics.

1966/67  |  1967/68

1968/69  |  1969/70  |  1970/71

1971/72  |  1972/73  |  1973/74

1974/75  |  1975/76  |  1976/77

1977/78  |  1978/79  |  1979/80

1980/81  |  1981/82

Southern continuity caption shown after the end of
"World of Sport" on 22nd March 1980

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Sunday Sportshow
The Saturday Match

TVS Football Highlights 1982-1983
TVS [TeleVision South] ran the South of England ITV service from 1st January 1982 having won the franchise at the expense of Southern Television, a change that many believed to be an injustice. The switch did at least offer an improved service as far as local sport was concerned, TVS would produce a Sunday afternoon highlights show each weekend (Southern, more often than not, had merely relayed London Weekend's The Big Match) and though a local home match could not always be guaranteed, there was now a stronger emphasis on the South in terms of the news round-up and the choice of matches taken from other region's. As the title suggested, Sunday Sportshow was not exclusively concerned with football, but it was the priority*. The programme was launched on 3rd January 1982, the first local match was covered two weeks later (Brighton & Hove Albion v West Ham United). For season 1982/83 it was the turn of the ITV region's to show highlights on a Saturday night and this saw TVS introduce The Saturday Match.

*There was also a regular Friday preview show (6:30-7:00pm) called The Friday Sportshow.

Presenter and commentator
Fred Dineage had presented Yorkshire Television's Sunday football highlights throughout the 1970's, but he was well known to viewers in the South having worked on various Southern TV programmes long before he took on the role of presenting weekend sport on TVS. By 1983, Dineage was being joined in the studio by George Best (now playing for Bournemouth) who provided analysis. The TVS football commentator was Gerald Sinstadt, locally born in Folkestone, he had been one of ITV's top commentators in the 1970's voicing matches for Granada as well as the Olympics and many high profile mid-week matches, Sinstadt left Granada at the end of the 1980/81 season and moved back to his home region in order to produce televised opera which formed a part of TVS's early commitment to upmarket ITV's programming.

The TVS region's league teams 1982-1983
In terms of prospects for regional football success, TVS took over from Southern at a good time. Top flight Southampton, with Kevin Keegan in their ranks, were in 2nd position at the time whilst Brighton were not far behind in 9th. The Seagulls went on to reach the FA Cup final in 1983 and were unfortunate not to emulate the Saints feat of 1976 in beating Manchester United at the final hurdle. Portsmouth, the South's traditional super power, had faded badly in the 1970's to the point of spending time in the 4th Division, but they were now well on the road to recovery and Pompey would win the 3rd tier championship in 1983. Bournemouth were another success story, winning promotion from the 4th tier in 1982.
The 1st January 1982 re-allocation of the UHF transmitter at Bluebell Hill to the South ITV region meant that 3rd tier clubs Gillingham and Southend United were now more widely recognised as bona-fide South region clubs*, Southend achieved their highest finish since the 1950's in 1982 and Gillingham also registered one of their then best ever final positions that same year. The two TVS clubs in the North of the region, Reading and Aldershot, were less conspicuous, Reading were relegated in 1983 to join the struggling Shots in the 4th Division.

*The transmitter on Bluebell Hill had previously relayed London Weekend Television and Thames. Coverage of Southend continued to be shared with Anglia Television as many viewers in that area received their TV signals from the Sudbury mast.

1981/82  |  1982/83

Fred Dineage hosting the 2nd April 1983
edition of "The Saturday Match".

Regular TVS football highlights proved to be short lived due to ITV Sport's decision to introduce live league games on Sunday afternoon's during the course of the 1983/84 season. TVS did however produce their own programme for the 14/Apr/1984 FA Cup Semi-final clash between Southampton and Everton, this was billed in the Times as "Sunday Sportsclub" (other region's saw the game as part of The Big Match).

ITV football 1983-1988
The Network Years
1983/84 - 1987/88



Cup FinalsHome PageEuropean finals

Southern football links
Voice Piece by David Bobin
from Brighton matchday programme, 25th October 1980
a database of matches includes Portsmouth line-ups
Royals Record
Reading stats
Simon Smith obituary

Southern Television stuff
TV Ark - Southern section

TVS football links
23/Apr/1983 - Brighton programme article
inlcudes a section on ITV's FA Cup SF coverage
Gillingham FC Scrapbook

TVS stuff
TV Ark - TVS section

ITV football 1955-1968