IT was the end of an era when one of the most popular Irish sports ‘commentators’ Ted Walsh stepped away from the microphone last weekend.
Presenters and pundits are 10-a-penny nowadays as the media band grows but the actual entertainment value, (and across all sports), which should not be taken lightly, seems to diminish.
Love him, leave him, or take issue with some of his comments, Ted could never be accused of being boring. (Danny Murphy figuring out that the seventh and eighth penalty takers in the FA Cup semi-final a few weeks back were likely to be those who did not want to take a penalty just about took the biscuit!)
Ted got ‘into hot water’ over his spur of the moment and often non-PC outbursts but it reminded me of a comment some time ago by Alastair Down in reference to another legendary outspoken horseman, Ginger McCain. “He means every word, but he doesn’t mean anything by it.”
In other words, he spoke his mind honestly but had no real intent to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Why is it that we can allow sports men and women to get any amount of abuse on social media but to utter “What a stupid horse to do that” or call one a “dirty rotten so and so”, when it ducked out, isn’t acceptable?
And that from someone who trained and looked after such hardy horses as Papillon and Commanche Court and could easily be caught with a tear in his eye in their reminiscing. And often you thought there was just a bit of devilment in it all.
Irish racing coverage is a bit better than some of the bland-leading-the-bland across the channel but Ted brought his own brand of knowledge and enthusiasm and he will be missed.