This weekend, every professional football match will be live on radio.
But it was on January 22, 1927, that the BBC broadcast a league match “live” for the first time ever.
Formed the previous year, the Beeb received its Royal Charter to become a Public Corporation and with it, the right to broadcast coverage of major sporting events.
The first game was between Arsenal and Sheffield United at Highbury, and the commentary position was a wooden hut.
The honour of being the first commentator fell to a gentleman called Henry Blythe Thornhill Wakelam known as Teddy who was a former rugby player with Harlequins.
The producer of the programme, Lance Sieveking, devised a plan of the pitch divided into numbered squares which was published in the Radio Times to help listeners at home.
Square one was the area nearest a team’s goalkeeper and it’s claimed that the phrase “back to square one” originates from this first-ever commentary.
Charlie Buchan, Arsenal’s skipper, scored the first “live” goal in a 1-1 draw.
By 1931, the BBC were covering over 100 football matches a season, and Arsenal themselves provided the first regular match commentator.
George Allison had been a trained journalist before becoming a club director and secretary.
He was behind the microphone for the 1927 FA Cup Final when Arsenal lost 1-0 to Cardiff City at Wembley.
Four years after radio commentaries began, however, the Football League decided that the extensive coverage was contributing to falling attendances, and they were banned until the war broke out.
Allison, though, had plenty on his plate.
With the sudden death of Herbert Chapman in 1934, he was appointed manager and led his side to two league titles as well as an FA Cup.
When the television age dawned, Arsenal were part of an experimental 15-minute broadcast which saw Allison introduce his team and take part in a practice match.
The first football match televised live was the England v Scotland fixture in 1938 and Allison’s radio commentary provided the sound.
The following season, the BBC decided to use a separate commentary for TV broadcasts and George got the gig.
He did radio commentaries on wartime internationals and resumed his role as Arsenal manager after hostilities ended, but retired from football in 1947.
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