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In 1951 the Walton Hospital League of Friends was asked if it could provide broadcast commentaries
on Everton and Liverpool football matches to the tubercular patients at Walton Hospital, as there was
no local radio coverage (Radio Merseyside started broadcasting in 1967 and Radio City in 1974). One of
the early champions of the Network was Jack Worthington MBE who guided it through its early stages
onto a firm footing.
The Merseyside Hospitals’ Radio Network was formed and commenced broadcasting on
18th October 1952 with live coverage from Anfield to Walton Hospital with the late
Alan Clarke of the BBC at the mic. The following Saturday, coverage from Goodison Park began.
On 5th December 1953, the network was enlarged to cover 21 hospitals on Merseyside via landline.
Dixie Dean in action
On 23rd August 1956, the Network began broadcasting Music Request Programmes from a studio
at the GPO’ Lancaster House Telephone Exchange. By 30th June 1958, two programmes per
week were being relayed to 37 hospitals in Liverpool, Wrexham, Chester, Ormskirk, Heswall,
Rainhill, Wallasey, Birkenhead, Ellesmere Port and Bebington.
The Saint heads for goal
Although the Network covered the whole of Merseyside and parts of North Wales, Walton
Hospital League of Friends remained the organizing committee with Ken Martin and
Cyril Richardson being appointed to control and produce the sports and request
programmes respectively. Apart from Walton, the Merseyside Hospitals Council financed
the £1,300 per annum needed to pay for the GPO landlines to the 37 hospitals.
Last night of the Stadium before it’s closure in 1985
The Network also covered local boxing tournaments from the Liverpool Stadium.
On 26th August 1954, the first Boxing commentary was made by the Rev. David Bevan
who was a big boxing fan. He soon became known as the “Pugilistic Vicar”!
When he step down some years later, Ken Martin, Joe Palmer and Ken Head continued
One of the finest nights covered was on Saturday 5th March 1977, when Liverpool’s John Conteh
retained his Light Heavyweight World Title by beating Len Hutchins after 1 min 5 sec of the
third round. Commentaries continued up to 1985, then shortly after, the Stadium was closed
down and demolished.
The England Team at Anfield
Over past 60 plus years, every home game from Liverpool and Everton has been broadcast
live, including many Cup Finals from Wembley as well. International games have been
covered also. The most recent being the England v Uruguay friendly in March 2006 at Anfield.