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BBC TV Soccer Commentator Dies

March 26, 2002

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LONDON (AP) _ The TV announcer with the most famous call in English soccer history _ ``they think it’s all over ... it is now,″ when England beat Germany in the 1966 World Cup final _ died at 81.

British soccer commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme died Monday night at a hospital in southwest England, where he was admitted a week ago with heart trouble, agent Dave Davies said.

Wolstenholme’s words are as resonant to English sports fans as Al Michaels’ ``Do you believe in miracles? Yes!″ at the end of the U.S.-Soviet Union hockey game at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics are to Americans.

With England leading Germany 3-2 in the closing minutes at Wembley Stadium, many fans started celebrating.

Just as Wolstenholme told his BBC TV audience, ``Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over,″ England’s Geoff Hurst scored his third goal of the game to make it 4-2, and Wolstenholme added in the next breath, ``It is now.″

Wolstenholme’s phrase became part of the English lexicon. It was the title of a sports quiz show and has been used to advertise everything from dog food to stationery. It was sampled by the band New Order for the song ``World in Motion″ in 1990.

``I just can’t see what the phrase has got to do with dog food,″ Wolstenholme said. ``I’m pretty proud of that phrase and it annoys me to see others pinching it and living off it.″

He became the voice of the British Broadcasting Corp.’s soccer coverage in the 1960s, announcing 23 straight FA Cup finals and five World Cups.

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