Gerry Harrison

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For the footballer, see Gerry Harrison (footballer).

Gerry Harrison (born 1942) was a leading football commentator[1] on English television in the 1970s and 80s, working for ITV. In the latter part of his career he was a senior television executive with production company TWI, who produce coverage of Premier League football, international golf and tennis among other sports. He left this role in 2007.

Londoner Harrison played football to what he describes as a decent level on his way to becoming a news reporter with the Daily Express. He switched to broadcasting in 1967 with BBC Radio Merseyside, taking up football commentary duties along the way.

Harrison entered the famous BBC Find a Commentator competition in 1969. Despite making the final six he lost out on the prize of a working trip to the 1970 FIFA World Cup to Welshman Idwal Robling. Ironically, Harrison was to get the better deal out of it. Partly on the strength of his performance in the competition he was offered a post as commentator for Norwich-based Anglia Television. While Robling covered a couple of games in Mexico for the BBC, Harrison worked on the competition as part of ITV's commentary team covering seven matches. It was the first of six World Cups he would cover for ITV.

Anglia's staple football programme Match of the Week chronicled a superb spell for Ipswich Town under the guidance of Bobby Robson, as well as the fortunes of Norwich City, Luton Town, Cambridge United, Peterborough United, Colchester United, Southend United and Northampton Town. Harrison worked as presenter and commentator before its eventual demise in 1983. He also covered the first leg of the 1981 UEFA Cup Final, featuring Ipswich, for Anglia and the ITV network.

Network responsibilities rarely came Harrison's way outside of the World Cup. He commentated on live matches in 1974, 1978, 1982 and 1986, and also worked on the 1990 tournament. He was also a regular voice on Football League highlights on both The Big Match and Midweek Sports Special. He freelanced for BSB in its early days - covering the 1990 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Crystal Palace among other matches. He also covered matches for Eurosport,[2] British Aerospace Sportscast and Screensport.

In 1985 Harrison took over as Head of Sport at Anglia, but left in 1993 frustrated at ITV's inability to maintain rights to top-flight football. He joined TWI as a producer, and has worked on many shows including the long-running Futbol Mundial programme. He also occasionally commentates, notably covering the FIFA World Club Championship for international audiences since its inception in 2005. In 2005 Gerry returned to Anglia as guest on their 50 years of ITV programme. In 2006, he hosted the first edition of Anglia Soccer Night of the season. He has also appeared as a studio guest and was seen regularly hosting Soccer Rewind on Anglia Soccer Night in the 2006/2007 season.