sport news Barry Davies admits he is nervous about hanging up the mic after Wimbledon

For someone who has always found the right words, it is unusual to find Barry Davies momentarily stumped.

But the 80-year-old is struggling to comprehend the fact that the next fortnight at Wimbledon will be his final job in broadcasting.

As will his millions of loyal listeners, for whom he has been the voice of sport for the past half-century, bringing 10 World Cups, 17 Olympic Games, more than 30 Wimbledons and countless Boat Races to life.

Barry Davies is struggling to comprehend his broadcasting career will end after Wimbledon (pictured with some of his many press passes, mementoes of his 50 years as a broadcaster)

Barry Davies is struggling to comprehend his broadcasting career will end after Wimbledon (pictured with some of his many press passes, mementoes of his 50 years as a broadcaster)

A documentary has been made about the veteran hanging up the mic, but when reminded of his impending retirement, he says: 'I am a bit sort of, shall we say... I can't think of the right expression.'

Finally, he admits: 'I am a little bit nervous about it being the last Wimbledon. I am hoping I am lucky and get a few decent matches to end with.

'I suspect that this will be the last thing I shall do. There has to be a finish somewhere.'

His famous lines still move grown men and women. He immortalised Great Britain's victory in the men's hockey final of Seoul 1988 by asking after the decisive goal: 'Where were the Germans? But frankly, who cares?'

Davies has commentated on various sports, including Gareth Southgate's miss at Euro 96

Davies has commentated on various sports, including Gareth Southgate's miss at Euro 96

To Gareth Southgate's missed penalty at Euro 96, he reacted in the same way as so many watching across the country on their television sets, simply saying, 'Oh no'.

And such is the lasting popularity of his 'interesting, very interesting', to describe Derby's Franny Lee scoring against his former club Manchester City in 1974, that it was the title of his autobiography, published 33 years later.

Memorable for a different reason is the sensitive tone he struck when describing the tragic scenes at Heysel in 1985, before, remarkably, having to commentate on the match.

Reliving that day for a BBC programme about his career, which will air on Wednesday, he said he scribbled down six versions of what to say. But when he went on air he threw them away and spoke from the heart, as he has so often done since.

'For the last 50 minutes the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, has been a sickening and bewildering sight,' he told the television audience.

At the 1972 Olympics, one of 17 Games he covered, talking with Daily Mail’s Ian Wooldridge

At the 1972 Olympics, one of 17 Games he covered, talking with Daily Mail’s Ian Wooldridge

'As a result there is, for certain, serious injury when a wall collapsed, and maybe worse. I have seen at least two stretchers carried away and the stretchers were covered from head to foot.'

It was a day, Davies says now, 'when I went to watch a football match and found myself having to talk about a disaster'.

His wife of 50 years, Penny, with whom he has two children, said of her reaction at home: 'To me there were two horrors, not just one. There was the horror of the actual thing but there was also the horror for me that Barry was there.'

Davies was not always destined to become broadcasting royalty, and had hoped to become a doctor, and then a dentist.

Yet his first taste for broadcasting — and the end of his nascent medical career — came when he was called up to do national service, and started working for British Forces Broadcasting.

He worked on Sports Report and ITV but will be best known for his work for the BBC since 1969

He worked on Sports Report and ITV but will be best known for his work for the BBC since 1969

On returning from Germany he was given a job by BBC Radio, working on Sports Report, and later television at ITV before the 1966 World Cup. But it is his work for the BBC since 1969 for which Davies will be best known.

Looking back at archive footage from his career with Sue Barker, he remembers commentating on the 100metres final of the IAAF World Cup in Dusseldorf in 1977 'blind' after the sound cut out on his original version. It was the night he 'came of age', producer John Shrewsbury said.

Then Torvill and Dean's Olympic gold in 1984, and how they were 'cheated' in Lillehammer in 1994, when they won bronze.

While his great rival John Motson's style was information-heavy, Davies's was measured for the most part, with bursts of excitement to illuminate the great sporting moments. Almost like the old friend sharing the sofa.

Davies suggested his competition with broadcasting great John Motson is over-egged

Davies suggested his competition with broadcasting great John Motson is over-egged

Davies has been more than a football commentator, but not because Motson got the big games

Davies has been more than a football commentator, but not because

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