End of an era after Roy hands on his mic

Match days just won't be the same for thousands of Canaries fans this season as it was revealed legendary Carrow Road commentator Roy Waller will no longer be behind the mic.

Match days just won't be the same for thousands of Canaries fans this season as it was revealed legendary Carrow Road commentator Roy Waller will no longer be behind the mic.

Although Mr Waller will be presenting the coverage from the studio, his young successor Chris Goreham has been chosen by Radio Norfolk as the man giving the fans a blow-by-blow account of games at Norwich City.

The “voice of Carrow Road”, who started as commentator when the station was established in 1981, will now be presenting half-time and full-time analysis in the studio, but for many, Mr Waller's switch from the commentary box will signal the end of an era.

Mr Waller, loved by fans for his passionate and occasionally hilarious commentating style, was told of the plans by BBC Norfolk editor David Clayton, and completed his first stint in his new role on Saturday evening when Norwich drew 0-0 with Preston.

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His first home game will be Saturday's clash with Southampton in the first Championship match of the season at Carrow Road.

He said: “I was a bit taken aback by the decision at first, but I went away and thought about it and came back and said it would need a bit of adjustment to suit my position, which we talked through and agreed on.

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“I know things have to move on, nothing is here forever. I do need someone behind me in case anything happens to me and they need someone to step in.

“It probably is a good thing. This is very much another little challenge for me. I will miss commentating of course, you will if you have been doing something for 20 years.”

During his commentating career, Mr Waller as been verbally abused by Paul Gascoigne and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, survived bowel cancer, presented from on top of a shed in the old Port Vale stadium in the rain and run naked in Norwich city centre after losing a bet.

He was once forced to wear an Ipswich Town shirt for a week - again after losing a bet - during which time he was insulted and spat at by home fans.

His greatest moment was having a crowd of 50,000 fans singing his name outside City Hall after the Canaries won promotion to the premiership in 2004.

Mr Waller added: “It has been brilliant watching the ups and downs of Norwich City Football Club, meeting the managers, some good, some bad, and the players who have passed through the club as well, who I have had a good relationship with.

“It's been good and I've enjoyed it.

“The fans come up and have a chat. Wherever I'm walking in the city I'm always talking football with them. It's part of my job.”

On his unique approach, he adds: “All commentators have different styles. I just took the view I wanted to put a bit of humour in it.

“You have to fill in the blanks. If a game stops you have to paint pictures. I might see people watching the game from their bedroom windows, or a pigeon in the stadium.”

And editor David Clayton insisted Mr Waller was still the “voice of Carrow Road” - an honour inscribed in one of the bricks making up the stadium.

He said: “He is now our main anchorman, he is the host of the programme at 2pm every match day. He'll be in the studio with a couple of guests and commenting on it, although he will not be doing commentary.

“We are looking at how we do football and what can we do to improve coverage as we take it very seriously. “Chris has been doing away commentating for some time so we thought, 'should we let Chris do all the matches?'

“So I said to Roy, 'how do you fancy being Des Lynam?' He went away and thought about it and came back and said yes.”

He added: “If Chris is off we are going to get him [Roy] to commentate. Chris covered for Roy when he was ill.

“I would hate for him to hang up his microphone totally. But it will be really interesting for him watching the match and not having to really plan what he's doing. This is a nice development.

“We gave it to him as a decision, I said I would quite like to try this out. It will be a bit warmer in the studio in February than as a commentary position. I know where I would rather be.”

t What are your favourite memories of Roy Waller's commentating? Do you agree with the decision to move him to the studio? Contact Sam Williams on 01603 772447 or email sam.williams@archant.co.uk

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