This is an article I never really imagined I would be writing.
You see, Murray Walker was always there, even long after his retirement from commentating twenty years ago.
And it’s hard to realise that is no longer the case.
But the tears of sadness soon turned into tears of joy, because Murray Walker is a legend.
The greatest of all time debate is a perennial one in sport, and on most occasions is a completely pointless one, but there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Murray Walker is the greatest commentator of motorsport, perhaps even one of the greatest in sport as a whole.
The wealth of warm tributes on social media last night were testament to that, although Murray, being the understated gentleman that he was when it came to his personal achievements, would probably be a bit taken back by it all.
Upon hearing about the fans’ love of his ‘Murrayisms’, Murray was initially confused why his mistakes were as popular as they were.
But the affection towards the ‘Murrayisms’ came from the fact that they were made because of the enthusiasm that Murray was putting into his commentaries.
We all shout at the television during races – my poor parents will testify that I do – and Murray was simply conveying that passion for us live to millions of people all around the world.
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He had truly universal appeal, to the point where his farewell year from commentary in 2001 saw dinners and parties held in his honour, countless awards being given out including one of the bricks from The Brickyard at Indianapolis, and a display from the RAF Falcons at the British Grand Prix.
Most drivers are not honoured in such a way when they retire, let alone commentators, proof if it were ever needed that Murray was a much loved legend of our sport.
So much so that, during a radio phone-in about sporting legends after Tiger Woods had his comeback win at The Masters in 2019, I talked about Murray Walker as being an inspiration.
Murray simply loved racing in general and talked about touring car racing with the same knowledge and passion as he did about Formula One, commentating on two Bathurst 1000 races for Australia’s Channel Seven in 1997 and 1998, and supporting events like the Adelaide 500, which he called ‘the best touring car event in the world’, through the 2000s.
There will never be another quite like Murray Walker.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth.
Vale Murray Walker, 1923-2021.