Norman Alan Stanley Gibson (28 May 1923 at Sheffield, Yorkshire – 10 April 1997 at Taunton, Somerset) was an English journalist, writer and radio broadcaster, best known for his work in connection with cricket, though he also sometimes covered football and rugby union. At various times Alan Gibson was also a university lecturer, poet, BBC radio producer, historian, Baptist lay preacher and Liberal parliamentary candidate.
He was born in Yorkshire, but the family moved to the East End of London when he was a small child, and subsequently to the West Country, where he attended Taunton School. Apart from his time at university, he spent all his subsequent life in that region, most of his cricket reporting being of Somerset and Gloucestershire matches. After school he went to Queen's College, Oxford, where he gained a First in history and was President of the Oxford Union.
He was briefly a travelling lecturer with University College, Exeter, before getting a job with the West Region of the BBC Radio Home Service. That led him into cricket (and other sporting) commentary on matches in the region, though he did not do much of this until leaving the BBC staff and becoming a freelance. Eventually he graduated to national broadcasts, including appearances on Test Match Special from 1962 to 1975. Subsequently he did some TV commentary on county matches for HTV.
He wrote on cricket at various times for The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, The Spectator and The Cricketer. From 1967 until 1986 he was a cricket reporter for The Times. He also reported rugby union, in print and on radio. He spent some time as an early-morning disc-jockey, as well as appearing on the radio shows Sunday Half Hour and Round Britain Quiz.
As a cricket commentator he was articulate and often drily humorous. On a Saturday afternoon sport programme, Neil Durden-Smith once mentioned that he had been having tea with the Bishop of Leicester. On being cued in, Gibson began his commentary stint with: "No episcopal visitations here." His cricket writing for The Times was generally light-hearted, often concentrating more on his journey to the match (invariably by train, often changing at Didcot, rarely straightforward) than on the cricket itself. On at least one occasion his day's report was published even though rain had prevented any cricket from taking place.
In his pieces he coined the descriptions "the Sage of Longparish" for his colleague John Woodcock, "the Demon of Frome" for Colin Dredge of Somerset, the Old Bald Blighter (the OBB) for Brian Close and "the Shoreditch Sparrow" for Robin Jackman. Woodcock said concerning their reports for The Times: "I write about the cricket, and Alan writes about 'A Day at the Cricket'." His cricket books, though still containing plenty of humour, were more serious affairs, knowledgeable and well researched.
In 1975 he was chosen to give the address at the memorial service for Sir Neville Cardus, held at St Paul's, Covent Garden. This was printed in the following year's edition of Wisden Cricketer's Almanack. He was elected the first President of the Cricket Writers' Club in 1982.
Not a robust man, he had spells of depression, once spending some time in a psychiatric hospital. He also had a drink problem (which was the reason he was dropped from Test Match Special). His reports for The Times often referred to his regular appearances at 'The Star' public house in High Littleton, where he lived, and reports of matches involving Gloucestershire invariably mentioned the GRIP – the Gloriously Red-headed Imperturbable Pamela, the barmaid in the main pavilion bar at the County Ground at Bristol.
... Safecrack 9 ... May 1982 Robin Chapman Henry Slesar Alan Gibson On behalf of a company that designs safes, an advertising executive hires Sam Morrissey, an ex-safe cracker to break into one of their safes with ... Philip Ketchum Johnny Byrne Graham Evans Alan Corwin, an auditor in a city investment firm is approached by Oliver Platt, another member of the firm, to cover up his use of company money ... Roland Culver (Sir Alex Bullen), Ian Holm (Alan Corwin) Light Fingers 4 ... July 1982 Henry Slesar Ross Thomas John Peyser Joan and Ralph live a quiet life ...
37 19 April 1981 Robin Chapman Roald Dahl Alan Gibson While on holiday in Jamaica, young David persuades his father to buy a giant turtle captured by fishermen, so that it ... Kindly Dig Your Grave 14 ... June 1981 Stanley Ellin Robin Chapman Alan Gibson A commercial art gallery in Paris is run by the unscrupulous Madame La Grue, who is exploiting the artists she employs ... Thomson (Graham MacKenzie), Gerard Lartigau (Henri), Alan Gifford (Edward), Helen Horton (Martha) Completely Foolproof 21 ... June 1981 Robert Arthur Robin Chapman John Jacobs Joe Brisson, a self-made millionaire ...
Famous quotes containing the words gibson and/or alan:
“Here [in London, history] ... seemed the very fabric of things, as if the city were a single growth of stone and brick, uncounted strata of message and meaning, age upon age, generated over the centuries to the dictates of some now all-but-unreadable DNA of commerce and empire.”
—William Gibson (b. 1948)
“Cole Thornton: Just a minute, son.
Mississippi: I am not your son. My name is Alan Bourdillon Traherne.
Cole: Lord almighty.
Mississippi: Yeah, well, thats why most people call me Mississippi. I was born on the river in a flatboat.”
—Leigh Brackett (19151978)