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Ray French retires from Commentary

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He's taken us through some great highs and shattering lows over the decades. So I'd just like to say thanks for the memories, Ray!

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"Men will be proud to say 'I am a European'. We hope to see a day when men of every country will think as much of being a European as of being from their native land." (Winston Churchill)

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For me personally I'll always remember him as the voice of Rugby League growing up in the 80's watching Grandstand on the BBC.

Enjoy your retirement Ray. 

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Unmistakable voice. Great passion and a fantastic commentator in his heyday, the soundtrack to a challenge cup tie the bbc...more recently, listening to him on bbc Merseyside covering widnes and the like has become a bit more comical, listening to him slightly past his best shall we say, being politely reminded of the players names and leaving the mic switched on live at half time and after the game

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I would endorse all the above.  By all accounts Ray is also a very erudite and intelligent man.  He taught (English and/or English Literature, I think) at what was then called Cowley School.  I seem to recall once reading that the RFU stopped him coaching rugby union at the school, but I could be wrong on that; however, if I am right, then their loss was certainly our gain.

I also saw him play a time or two, including in Wigan's memorable 2nd round cup victory, 7-2, at Central Park in February, 1965, when over 39,000 packed into the ground.

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He has provided some great commentary moments and catch phrases (whatever did happen to HeezaGoinForTheLine).

He hung around on TV a little too long, on Radio Merseyside he has been comically embarrassing (his side kick Rooney didn't help) for a few years and somebody should really have said it was time for the pipe and slippers.

His greatest moment though was standing up to the RFU for schools teachers  coaching rugby league, and winning,  something few know much about.

 

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23 minutes ago, johnh1 said:

Yes, great memories. Just a shame he carried on for a bit too long, just like Eddie Waring before him. 

Yes he struggled with names a little over the last couple of years, but I’ll always associate his voice with the atmosphere of watching winter cup games at my grandparents’ house as a kid in the nineties...   it seemed every game was played at dusk and there would always be a freight train passing by which the cameraman would focus on!   ?

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The voice of my childhood! How will we know how much players weighed and what amateur club players played for now? Enjoy retirement Ray, you are a RL legend.

Edited by Chrispmartha
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5 hours ago, Rage said:

For me personally I'll always remember him as the voice of Rugby League ....

Enjoy your retirement Ray. 

 

1 hour ago, longboard said:

He's a true rugby man.

Well done Ray.

Thank you both.

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4 hours ago, Chrispmartha said:

The voice of my childhood! How will we know how much players weighed and what amateur club players played for now? Enjoy retirement Ray, you are a RL legend.

Plus who their father was and which club they played for.

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"Men will be proud to say 'I am a European'. We hope to see a day when men of every country will think as much of being a European as of being from their native land." (Winston Churchill)

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Have a long and happy retirement Ray.

An absolute gent, I remember how supportive he was of the RL Conference and how helpful he was when we were starting Coventry Bears. He came to our first ever game away at Worcester and I had the privilege of meeting him on numerous occasions after that.

Enjoy your retirement Ray!

 

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10 hours ago, johnh1 said:

Yes, great memories. Just a shame he carried on for a bit too long, just like Eddie Waring before him. 

Far to long, now can they retire the irritating Welshman just to Union only!

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Really thought he held our game back for a long time just like Stevo , we just looked like a backward Northern sport in my opinion 

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4 hours ago, Blotto said:

Far to long, now can they retire the irritating Welshman just to Union only!

Davis makes good comments, he usually reads the game well and points out the issues.  As just one example that sticks out in last season's CC, he instantly picked out Tierneys part in a try saving tackle... a key moment in the game. But often he can see ahead what oponents might do... as one might expect as a world class stand off.

Your comments (and you join a few others) are just prejudiced and do not serve the game well.  Why would you try to sneer at a player who played scored such a magnificent try for GB?

As for French, he was not bad and knew about the game.  Mind you so did Alex Murphy, and they were both a bit Laurel and Hardy.

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33 minutes ago, iangidds said:

Really thought he held our game back for a long time just like Stevo , we just looked like a backward Northern sport in my opinion 

I’m pretty sure he played no part in holding the game back.   The BBC chose to use him as the national commentator, he didn’t force their hand.   In later years he was more suited to local radio commentary and we started to see a less stereotyped, and more modern commentary style from the likes of Dave Woods and the excellent Jon Champion (whatever happened to him?).

I don’t have a problem with Jonathan Davies, he’s generally very knowledgable and seems to keep on top of modern techniques and play instead of making embarrassing contentious statements based on ‘the good old days’ like Schofield often does.

I’m also a fan of Carney and Wells.   Not only do they dispel the assumption that you can’t be intellectual in analysis of play, but they don’t fit the media stereotype of RL that the BBC has traditionally relied on. “Cheesy peas - for northern types” ?

Edited by Cheshire Setter

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48 minutes ago, Cheshire Setter said:

I’m pretty sure he played no part in holding the game back.   The BBC chose to use him as the national commentator, he didn’t force their hand.   In later years he was more suited to local radio commentary and we started to see a less stereotyped, and more modern commentary style from the likes of Dave Woods and the excellent Jon Champion (whatever happened to him?).

I don’t have a problem with Jonathan Davies, he’s generally very knowledgable and seems to keep on top of modern techniques and play instead of making embarrassing contentious statements based on ‘the good old days’ like Schofield often does.

I’m also a fan of Carney and Wells.   Not only do they dispel the assumption that you can’t be intellectual in analysis of play, but they don’t fit the media stereotype of RL that the BBC has traditionally relied on. “Cheesy peas - for northern types” ?

Ray may not have twisted their arm to employ him but in my opinion the game should have appeared more upto date in many aspects of the game. We fell well behind modern sporting broadcasting norms 

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