Scanning the TV schedules it was a surprise to see that ITV have a show tonight celebrating 60 Years of Elton's life "Happy Birthday Elton" - when this gem was mentioned to Toni Fabuloso she pointed out the hour and half long show was not a celebration of the life of sports guru , writer, TV presenter and legend , youthful Elton Welsby but of some unheard of, pop star singer (By Royal Appointment Toni explains) and pianist.
Naturally this was a disappointment because Elton .. Welsby that is, not the pop star Z list celeb has a special place in the hearts and memories of the North West. There are few who will forget his debut in January 1978 (rocketing to stardom after a career in hospital portering in his native Liverpool) when he first met public acclaim on Granada's cunningly named football programme The Kick Off Match. There are few who will forget his breathless announcment that ....
"the score was Stockport 3 and Macclesfield 1"..so he explained "Stockport won."
A hard core of fans have followed his exciting roller coaster of a life in TV. When Match Night finished in 1983 we were disappointed not to see him again until Granada re-introduced Kick Off in 1989, with the talented(and in a way more mature) Welsby as a presenter.
From there he was on the sofa for the ITV Seoul Olympics team, (pic) then the all important and demanding Results Service until Greg Dyke in a masterstroke ,when ITV obtained (at huge cost) exclusive coverage of the Football League, gave the job to Elton as presenter of The Match. It was from this era he will be remembered for his witty asides ...
"And now for the goals at Carrow Road where it ended nil - nil."Then Rupert Murdoch put a stop to that with his Sky Sports and it was back to his home ground in the North West until silently and almost secretly in May 2000 Granada failed (by a clerical oversight) to renew his contract. Elton then saw the challenge of radio where they couldn't see his beard stroking and presented Elton Welsby's Soccer Saturday for Century FM but that work ended at the end of the 2003/4 season.
"Football today would certainly not be the same if it had not existed."
There was a short stint as the final presenter of the hugely under rated afternoon TV gameshow Busmans Holiday.
There were reports that he was fleetingly seen commentating on Sky Sports excellent coverage of the fascinating game of TV Crown Green Bowls in the aftrenoons - a wow apparently with OAP's who are facsinated by this actionpacked game of 3 D chess with power bowls.
Which was cancelled due to lack of support when they came(or in fact didn't) to Burnley Mechanics Institute last March.
Correction : "Don't tell those coming in the result of that fantastic match, but let's have another look at Italy's winning goal." is NOT a Welsby quote - David Coleman deserves the credit.
PS Not a lot of folks realise he was actually named Roger, and changed it .. bet that other Elton "pop" singer wasn't called Elton either.,,,probly Roger.