Saturday, August 02, 2008


It’s approx. 50 Yrs. Ago and I’m back in Glenburn, it’s a Saturday night and the living room is in darkness as the Kelly family settle down to watch TV, ma. and da. get a chair each and me, Arthur and Hugh (the 3 oldest) get a couch seat, Gerald, Francis, Brendan, Daniel and Paul (the 5 Youngest) sit on the floor in a semi circle around the black and white set. Ma. will snooze (no wonder) and da. will give a commentary on the show shored up by a few beers, because this, is the holy hour, we are about to watch Scotsport.

Arthur Montford and Bob (bools) Crampsey were constants in the lives of the Kelly brothers, ’bools’ alas has just passed away and as Joni Mitchell once sang “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” we and our peers affectionately called him ’bools’ because we fancied that he spoke rather quickly and sounded like he had a few marbles in his mouth, we all tried to impersonate him. If you scored a goal down the park you immediately spun away to the imaginary crowd arms on high and launched into Bob Crampsey as you described your wonder goal.

You just never think of him not being there, it seems that just recently he was popping up on radio and the press and grabbing our attention with an iron grip which seemed effortless, I will leave it to others to explain where the respect/reverence came from but he had it in spades.

His style of broadcasting was based on explaining and describing what was happening, he helped us to understand the sometimes complex aspects of football, what was offside ? why was it a penalty etc. perhaps that was the teacher in him, an oasis of calm when things were going wrong because, he could talk for Scotland on any sport or indeed any subject. He was the first sports commentator who ever managed to get me to accept that cricket was in fact a great game and not an English ritual rain dance, I’m an avid follower to this day thanks to ’bools’

A man of great intelligence and modesty, the real deal, to have been in the limelight for so long and never to have been involved in anything unsavoury, the saying “no-one ever said a bad word about him” could have been coined for him, the people who do his job today don’t seem to measure up to him but, maybe I’m getting nostalgic, Chick Young ? Charlie Nicholas ? John Motson ? Tam Cowan ? Stewart Cosgrove ? you decide.

When ever I hear that distinctive voice I am always back in Glenburn
jockeying for a seat and telling the old man to pipe down because 'bools' is commentating on the 'fitba' We are all better off for knowing him even if it was only on the screen, I am once again reminded that I am getting on a bit. R.I.P. 'bools'

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