Thirty years of banter, laughs and lambastes earn Scoreboard a place in history, writes Hugh MacDonald

THE world may have turned on and tuned in during the sixties. Scots, with typical perversity, waited until at least 1974 and then decided to do the same, mainlining on our drug of choice: football.

It is 30 years since Radio Clyde started broadcasting and, therefore, 30 years since Richard Park in that mid-Atlantic accent introduced us to Scoreboard. The rest is hysterics.

It is hard to quantify the impact of the Radio Clyde approach to football. Previously, fans did not take the radio to matches, on the perfectly sane grounds that carrying your mother's radiogram to a match would have left a sizeable hole in the living-room.

Radio Clyde's magical alchemy was to marry the advent of the portable tranny with a fresh way of presenting football.

''I had listened to American sports programmes,'' says Park, then head of music and sport at the station and now a media consultant, ''and I thought there were ways to produce a football programme that had never been looked at.

''For example, we brought in the football phone-in, we played music as a background to goals and commentary on highlight clips and we encouraged comment. All these elements were later picked up on by other radio stations and, indeed, Sky television.''

Park was in the starting line-up in 1974 with the great Bob Crampsey. The

programme gradually grew to become Super Scoreboard and dominate Saturday afternoons with a young Paul Cooney, now managing director of Clyde, becoming the voice of reason as

arguments raged between the splendidly splenetic Gerry McNee and a cast that grew to include such as Derek Johnstone, Hugh Keevins, and Davie Provan.

Then there was James Sanderson.

''He was an absolute one-off,'' says Park. Sanderson, who died 17 years ago, was the sauce in an appetising dish. Cooney says: ''Richard and myself heard him on a Clyde comment programme and we both decided that we must have him on sport.''

Park recalls: ''He was an absolute radio natural. I have worked in the media for decades but have never come across anyone quite like him. When I came down to London to produce

programmes, I searched for another James Sanderson and while I came across some great performers I never found one quite like him.''

Sanderson's nasal tones combined with a certainty of opinion made him a voice that demanded attention.

Cooney says: ''We hardly knew what we were producing in the sense that we couldn't quite gauge the reaction from the fans. But we were all football supporters ourselves and there was a feeling that if we found it interesting so would others.

''We also believed that it should not be too serious. After all, we were not

performing open-heart surgery but covering football matches.''

The reaction by fans was, and is, overwhelming. Park talks of almost saturation figures in the early years of the programme and the audience figures are still much more than healthy.

Crucially, the figures also showed a wide demographic. In simple terms, all classes wanted to hear Radio Clyde and Super Scoreboard. Both Cooney and Park hesitate when confronted with the stark fact that Super Scoreboard was a cultural


Park says: ''We realised almost immediately that it was popular but I think we underestimated its impact. This was popular culture in its truest sense. We were all football fans and I think we brought something of the terraces to the airwaves.''

Cooneys says of the cultural impact: ''I don't suppose we were looking at it like that, after all it was just a football programme, but we did get an almost immediate reaction on the streets.''

That reaction became hard to avoid. The phone-in became a staple of the Scottish conversation. Pub banter would echo to the ramblings of the latest nutter trying to put his view across. Supporters' buses would cackle and shout at the loudspeakers bringing the latest from Clyde, and fans would listen to the game while at the game.

The curiosity of the roar unconnected with what the supporter was actually watching reached its high point at a match between Celtic and St Mirren at Love Street in 1986. A bemused Saints keeper Jim Stewart was discomfited as he was about to kick from hand as a wave of noise acclaimed a goal in Dundee which ensured the title for Celtic.

The radio was well and truly ensconced in the bucket seat and on the terracing and Radio Clyde was insinuating itself into the ear of most football fans.

Its place in Scottish football has now been recognised in the holiest of holies, the Scottish Football Museum, with an exhibition opening at Hampden on Monday.

Richard McBrearty, curator, said: ''Scottish football has always been a pioneering force. We invented the modern passing game, we held the first international, and we had a pioneering media, too.

''Radio Clyde falls into that category with its fresh take on football coverage and its ability to attract a primarily urban, passionate football audience. Its place in the culture is assured and the Scottish Football Museum will reflect that.''

It's come a long way from its first, faltering steps in 1974 from the press box at Kilbowie to the museum at the national stadium, but Super Scoreboard is still at home on the second division terraces or the Premierleague stands. And it means the whole football world is in our hands or, at least, inside our anorak pocket.

Edited highlights . . .

Richard Park to Jock Wallace: ''Do you think you'll win.''

Jock Wallace to Richard Park: ''Dae ye think ah'd be here if I didn't think I would win?''

Post-modern radio. Clyde broadcast a minute's silence for Jock Stein . . . live

The word of the century.

James Sanderson says mendacious . . . again and again and again

St Mirren manager Jim Clunie and Iain Munro have a contract row on air, with Clunie at Glasgow aiport and Munro in the studio. Clunie says the F-word. Cooney fears fledgling career is over. He is now managing director of Radio Clyde. Cooney, that is.

Mexico 1986: helpful police give lift to Park and Cooney (pictured). Scots fans think they have been arrested and storm said car in bid to free the Clyde Two

Clyde DJ playing record in memory of dead husband and then telling widow: ''I hope you enjoyed Crying in the Chapel''

Cooney reaches for 10-second delay button as demented punter is verbally injudicious. Happens more now than in the beginning, strangely enough.

Sanderson launches a 1000 sketches with his inquiry: ''Were you at a game today, caller?''

Derek Johnstone praises de Vries, telling co-commentator: ''That de Vries has two brothers at home who are just as good as him.'' Co-commentaor replies: ''Really?''

DJ says: ''Have you not heard of the three de Vries?'' And they say satire is dead

Boxing Day, 1996. Paolo Di Canio's boots are auctioned for (pounds) 58,000