January 08, 2020
George Sephton has been on the mic at Anfield for 49 years and Peter Gilham has been doing the job even longer for Brentford
The stadium announcers who have soundtracked English football
By Richard Foster for the Guardian Sport Network
His booming voice will be familiar to all those who visit Anfield. It is a voice that has accompanied all of the magical European nights Liverpool have enjoyed over the last five decades as well as nearly every domestic match for the last 48 years. George Sephton’s debut as the stadium announcer on 14 August 1971 was somewhat overshadowed by another debutant who had been brought in by Bill Shankly from Scunthorpe United over the summer. Kevin Keegan only took 12 minutes to get on to the scoresheet as Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners over Nottingham Forest. Keegan went on to score 100 goals in his six years for the club, with Sephton there to witness the vast majority of them from his precarious perch on the television gantry.
Keegan remains one of Sephton’s favourite players. “He was certainly one of the greatest,” Sephton says. “His whole attitude to football, to life, his unbelievable work rate, he was the full package. I remember somebody came in, looked over my shoulder and commented: ‘That new kid’s a bit of a tiger isn’t he.’ That summed him up really.” Sephton has only missed a handful of games and he can explain them all, going back to his first absence in 1973. “I was best man at a wedding so I got the guy who was the DJ at Tommy Smith’s nightclub to deputise.”
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