As Al said to me earlier, it was a bit of a travesty the man was never knighted with or without the efforts of the accompanying Facebook campaign that brought him back into the public consciousness briefly last year. Sad too that he was never capped, TB having put paid to his promising playing career. But let us not dwell on negatives.
For so many of us raised on wintry February mornings watching the Five Nations on the telly, Bill McLaren will forever be remembered as the voice of rugby – always quick to conjure up a bizarre Scots or animal-related metaphor to describe a player. I never met the man, but I did briefly meet his wife once on the back pitches of Murrayfield after he had been commentating on an international late in his career, she said he had just had “a pretty good game”. I think it a fitting measure of his famed professional approach to his work to be described in the same terms as the players he watched, commentated on, coached and raised. Our thoughts are with all of Mr McLaren’s family and friends at this time.
A rugby professional long before the game was, off to the big rugby pitch in the sky – the game down here remains richer for his contribution.
Bill McLaren CBE, OBE and MBE
1923 – 2010