IAN DARKE has paid tribute to ‘brilliant’ sports broadcaster Peter Brackley.
Brackley, who died aged 67 on Sunday, possessed an instantly recognisable voice to football fans.
A year ago tomorrow, he co-hosted Life and Chimes – the Pompey Story along with Darke at a packed Kings Theatre.
The popular event provided a wonderful evening of nostalgia, also involving in excess of 20 former Blues players.
That proved to be Brackley’s last large-scale event and soon after doctors advised him to wind down commitments due to ill-health.
Darke had visited his long-time friend in Worthing Hospital after watching Pompey win 2-1 at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
And he is full of admiration for the voice of Channel 4’s Football Italia and an ITV presence at four World Cups.
Darke said: ‘We went back to the early 1980s working on BBC radio together and I am struggling to think of anyone in our commentary and broadcasting business who is more liked or loved than Brackley.
‘He was a brilliant bloke with razor-sharp wit. He kind of wanted to be a bit of a performer, a writer and a commentator.
‘The commentator he most admired was Brian Moore and once told me: “I always remember something Brian Moore said – be a good guest in somebody’s living room”. He was certainly that.
‘That Kings Theatre show was his last big performance, he didn’t do much else after that. He did some small things and one of those was when he had another episode. His doctor said he couldn’t do it anymore.
‘We had a vague plan we were going to do the show again, suddenly that won’t be the case.
‘But he loved that evening, he was very proud of it and the fact so many players came and joined the fun, getting into the spirit of it.
‘It’s a shame we can’t do it all again.’
Since Brackley’s passing, Darke has been contacted by the likes of Paul Walsh, Rodney Marsh and Michael Owen sending their condolences.
Darke added: ‘Peter was a perfectionist. He could write comedy and could have written sitcoms, easily.
‘I remember once doing a dinner with him and Steve McManaman and the guy introducing the evening said: “And also in the audience tonight we have what we believe to be Britain’s first blind football manager”.
‘Quick as a flash, Peter shouted out “What about Arsene Wenger?”. It brought the house down.’