Smart
Tue 16 January 2007

Back to square one...

Forgive me if you've heard this one - but there is a point.

Picture with me, if you will, the scene. Its 1927 (thats almost half seven nowadays), and your beloved team are playing, and you're not there. So what do you do? Of course, theres no TV (and no SKY Sports Saturation - which in itself sounds idyllic), and so its on with the radio.

But no matter how much you stare at the speaker, you dont always know where about the current phase of play is on the pitch.

That is until the Radio Times devised the 'grid' idea.

On January 15th, 1927, England played Wales in an International Rugby match at Twickenham. This was the first ever live running sports commentary. That week, the Radio Times printed a picture of the pitch, split into two rows of four and numbered them 1 to 8.

As the commentator described the action, every so often his assistant would call out the number of the 'square' the ball was in. When the ball returned to the keeper at one end, the commentator would say "Back to square one" - now an everday phrase.

And the point of all this? Well, almost 80 years to the day, Radio Five have resurrected the idea. The commentator will have an assistant, calling out the number of the square the ball is in, and listeners will be able to use grid printed in this weeks Radio Times. Live commentary is from the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal take on Manchester United.

Or you could watch it on Sky... ;-)

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