A BBC radio reporter who has covered more than 2,500 Notts County matches over seven decades is retiring from commentary.
Colin Slater, 83, worked on his first Notts game in 1959 as a local newspaper journalist, making his BBC Radio Nottingham bow in 1968. He will remain the station’s Magpies correspondent.
The Sony Radio Academy award winner was made an MBE in 2001.
“Now is the right time to have made this decision,” he said.
Colin’s last commentary for BBC Radio Nottingham will be the Magpies’ trip to Newport County on 6 May – almost 50 years after he was first heard on the airwaves.
“I left newspapers just as Radio Nottingham was starting,” he said.
“I got a telephone call from the first manager of the station, Gerald Nethercott, who asked me to be their Notts County correspondent.
“The first game I did on radio was in August 1968. Notts County lost 5-0 at Lincoln.”
Colin, whose input helped save the club from going out of business in 1965, was behind the microphone at Wembley on several occasions during the 1990s, as Notts County twice won promotion and beat Ascoli to win the Anglo-Italian Cup.
Other memorable matches included a 2-0 win over Chelsea in 1981, the year the Magpies won promotion to top flight, a victory over Leyton Orient in 1998 which saw them promoted as champions of Division Three and the 5-0 thrashing of Darlington in 2010 that saw them win League Two.
He will continue to report on the club’s fortunes but has given up match commentary to limit his travelling.
He said: “I will still be at home matches and I will travel to a selection of away matches, but I won’t be commentating.
“Rather than doing 50 games a season, which has been my norm for years, I think that I’ll be doing something between 30 and 35 games a season.
County moment: “The final whistle at Wembley in a play-off final against Brighton and the knowledge that Notts were going back to the old First Division.”
County manager: “Jimmy Sirrel, by some distance, was the most successful manager not just of my time with Notts County, but in their entire history.”
County player: “Don Masson. The finest passer of the ball that I’ve seen in Notts County’s colours. Magical moments – splitting defences with one pass. Outstanding.
Ground to visit: “The Emirates Stadium. I’ve been a guest there but not worked there. I think it’s just wonderful and better than the new Wembley.”
Tributes – ‘What a voice’
BBC Radio Nottingham’s Matchtalk presenter David Jackson: “He seems to know everyone and takes a keen interest in each and every one of them. It’s incredible.
“I grew up listening to Colin’s voice on BBC Radio Nottingham and I’ll never forget the feeling of pride I got when I first shared a commentary with him. It was at Field Mill in 2002, Notts County were playing Mansfield Town.
“Colin was his typically generous self even though I stepped over my allocated time to continue commentating as Mansfield went 3-0 up.
“And then there’s that voice. What a voice. Any broadcaster would give their right arm for a voice as distinctive. The airwaves each Saturday afternoon will be all the poorer for not having Colin’s voice gracing them.”
BBC Radio Nottingham sport producer Colin Fray: “It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside Colin, and it will continue to be so in the future.
“His knowledge of Notts County and his contacts book are second to none, and I’m delighted that he’ll be carrying on as the station’s Notts correspondent, still attending many of the club’s matches on behalf of the BBC.
“Colin’s decision to hang up his commentary microphone leaves his replacement with a hard act to follow.”
Timeline of Slater’s career
1959: Covered first Notts County match, a 2-1 win over Chester for Nottingham Evening News and Football News.
1963: Notts County correspondent for Nottingham Evening Post and Guardian Journal.
1968: Covered first Notts County match for BBC Radio Nottingham, a 5-0 defeat at Lincoln City.
1989: 4 February, covered 1,000th match.
1998: 21 February, covered 1,500th match.
2001: Made an MBE
2007: 13 October, covered 2,000th match
2009: Celebrated 50th anniversary as Notts County correspondent by accepting Lifetime Achievement Award by Sony Radio Academy.
2014: Given Special Award by the Football League and inducted into the Notts County Hall of Fame.
2016: Given Pride of Nottingham Award at Nottingham Sports Awards.