A Legendary Notts Voice

For many years the voice of Notts County Football Club was almost as recognisable as those famous black and white striped shirts themselves.

Colin Slater MBE, born in Bradford on 28th February 1934, sadly passed away aged 87 today, January 10th 2022, but with that sad news of a legendary and iconic local sports figure passing, comes memories, etched in the DNA of every Notts County supporter old enough to remember top flight football, Anglo-Italian Cup finals, the origins of Charlie Palmer day, playoff finals at Wembley, MUNTO finance and Sven Goran Eriksen, the Great Escape, just about everything we remember as fans of Notts County, has been commented on by the great and unique voice of Slater, for many years working largely with BBC Radio Nottingham.

It all started as long ago as 1959, a young Colin Slater would report on Notts matches via the Football News and Football Post, joining the BBC local station in 1968.

Famously known for his superb pronunciations, emphatically rolling his tongue with an enthusiastic prolonging of footballers surnames, a West Yorkshire accent with an East Midland twist, for regular sayings like ‘high dropping ball’ and ‘defences spread eagled’ Slater’s knowledge of the game, his knowledge of Notts County, each second to none, an icon and gentleman who knew the club inside out, who loved the club inside out, and who was loved by everyone in the city of Nottingham, especially those familiar with the BBC’s local sports coverage, many regularly tuning into the voice of reason, that was always so recognisably Colin Slater MBE.

Tributes have come in from both sides of the Trent, Notts County stating “We are deeply saddened” with those in Red commenting “We join all Nottinghamshire sports fans in mourning the loss” whilst the BBC called Colin “A colossus of local sports broadcasting”.

I for one remember endlessly tuning in to Radio Nottingham on MW and FM frequency during Saturday afternoons of days gone by, hearing the oh so familiar voice running through the line-ups of Notts County and their opponents up and down the country, commenting on games from Bury to Barnet, Chelsea to Carlisle, York to Yeovil, reviewing and previewing, regularly announcing players from Steve Cherry and Gary Lund to Gary McSwegen, Kevin Bartlett, Jack Grealish and Lee Hughes.

These days it is poignant to remember Colin’s namesake, no relation, Charlie Slater, is head Notts County commentator for BBC Radio Nottingham. Charlie who worked with Colin in his final few years at the BBC tweeting “We called him ‘the great man’ for a reason. He will forever be the voice of Notts County and I will miss him as a colleague and a friend.”

Slater, the original, as important to Notts County Football Club as the likes of Sirrel, Lawton, Bradd, an icon that will be sadly missed by all. Former player and Manager Shaun Derry stating “Rest in peace Colin. You were brilliant, iconic, kind and fair. A true Notts County legend.”

The last word goes to the football club themselves who speak through Jason Turner the Chief Executive, who whole heartedly commented on the official NCFC website “Everyone at Meadow Lane is heartbroken to have lost not only an iconic figure in the club’s history, but also a great friend.

“I have been incredibly privileged to have got to know Colin well since my arrival at the club six years ago, working closely with him on many projects, travelling with him to away matches and enjoying his company at social events.

“As everyone knows, Colin was staunchly passionate about many things, not least Notts County, and he was an inspirational figure to be around.

“Naturally he will be best remembered for his commentary work, to which he dedicated such a huge part of his amazing life, but he did so many other things for the club which must never be forgotten.”

“These include playing a pivotal role in securing crucial investment for the club when it was on the verge of extinction in 1965, being instrumental in the formation of Lifeline, acting as a trustee of our Foundation and becoming chairman of our Former Players Association.

“His incredible efforts and achievements were recognised over the years with a list of well-deserved honours which include being awarded an MBE by the Queen for his service to radio and the community in Nottinghamshire, as well as Lifetime Achievement awards from both Sony Radio Academy and the club.

“Despite his deteriorating health which led to him sadly being unable to attend matches, Colin remained committed to his various roles and always took great interest in the team’s results and general affairs at the club.

“We will be remembering him and his incredible dedication with a minute’s silence at Saturday’s home match against Eastleigh.”

*Article provided by Daniel Peacock (Editor).

*Main image @BBCRNS Colin Slater a legendary voice of Notts County Football Club.

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