Ian Smith set for one last BBC Newcastle commentary

Wednesday 03 May 2023 Written by: Adam

‘Smithy,’ as he is universally known, has been a mainstay on BBC Newcastle for more than 20 years, commentating on over 600 Newcastle Falcons games and promoting the sport around the region via his ‘Rugby for the North East’ Facebook page.

A former Blaydon hooker as a player, Smithy enjoyed success as a coach with Blaydon and Northumbria University, taking the latter to multiple national titles.

Going on to set up Newcastle Falcons’ academy during the early years of professionalism he helped nurture countless household names as both players and people, combining his coaching duties with a role as education officer.

His move into radio came in 2002 during a European Challenge Cup trip to Grenoble when BBC Newcastle commentator Kevin Williams was short of a summariser, and Smithy stepped in having travelled with the team.

He and Kevin formed a dynamic duo for more than a decade before Williams retired to Spain and Smithy stepped up to the main commentary role, working with a host of summarisers including ‘Man of Northern’ Dean Gray, Ian Stafford, John Pearson, Lee Hogarth and many assorted guests.

Travelling to all corners with the Falcons, Smithy’s commentaries have taken him to Georgia, USA, Romania, Italy, Spain and many times to France, where he will now be able to enjoy more time at his second home without having to worry about 800-mile round trips to Exeter or faulty wiring in press boxes up and down the land.

Referees will be the only ones breathing a sigh of relief!

Smithy’s insight and good humour are well known to BBC Newcastle listeners, and likewise to all at Newcastle Falcons, who would like to thank him for the boundless knowhow and friendship he has brought, on and off the airwaves.