Gordon Sparks RIP

It is with an extremely heavy heart that the club can confirm the passing of Club Ambassador and commentary icon, Gordon Sparks, aged 61.

Sparksy began his association with Argyle, just like many of us, with his father on the terraces of Home Park, but it was as a passionate commentator that he became a legend among the Green Army, beginning his broadcasting career in the highest profile of fixtures – the Greens’ FA Cup semi final defeat to Watford in 1984.

A stellar broadcasting career followed, with Gordon’s passionate, thoroughly Green-tinted commentary providing the soundtrack to the highs and lows of the club he loved as much as all of us. 

Argyle Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Parkinson, said: “It is difficult to put into words what Gordon Sparks meant to everyone associated with Argyle, but we are certain that he understands the love and affection held for him from fans, players, and staff alike.

“Our thoughts are firstly with Heather and the wider Sparks family. Of course, it speaks to the quality of the man that his passing will affect so many – including his friends and colleagues at the BBC, here at Home Park, and in the Devon and Cornwall community.”

Thanks to the internet, and wonderful historical resources like Greens on Screen, we will never be without Gordon’s voice, and his commentary is forever linked with some of the club’s most iconic moments. To recall just a few:

On that glorious title-winning day against QPR in 2004: “Hodges, it’s very compact there. Friio…Oh, he’s gonna go through on his own. He’s broken the defence…2-0! That’s it! Argyle are up!” 

The play off semi final against Portsmouth in 2016: “Carey’s corner…deep swing on it…At the farpost! In! And it’s Hartley who got the touch! Plymouth Argyle are bound for Wembley!”

At Rochdale in 2002: “Paul Sturrock is looking up and smiles. He clenches his fists towards us! Lee Hodges has put Argyle 3-1 ahead. Open those bottles!”

Mickey Evans’ goal on his final Argyle appearance: “It’s gonna be Capaldi. Low towards Pericard – but the header on Evans!

“Would you believe it! Mickey Evans! My word! The script has been written! 59 minutes, even Romain Larrieu is coming up to celebrate! Every Argyle player in a huddle on the six-yard box. Trigger has pulled again!”

Of course, he was far more than the voice of our successes. Like all of us, Sparksy lived the ups and downs of our beloved club, and remained hugely engaged with Argyle in the years following his commentary retirement, serving as a club ambassador, engaging wonderfully with fans and supporting all departments of Argyle with his warmth, humour, empathy and passion for the club.

Even in the final months of his battle with illness, Gordon’s wonderful affinity with Argyle did not dampen, penning regular columns for – with some even coming from his hospital bed.

Following the announcement that the press box would be named in his honour, Sparksy summoned the strength for one final visit to his beloved Home Park in September 2022, and it did not disappoint – with Bali Mumba and Morgan Whittaker firing Argyle to victory over Ipswich Town to go top of the table in a performance Gordon later referred to as “inspirational”.

Right up until the end, Sparksy was with Argyle, and Argyle with him. While the Green Army chanted his name from a 2,600-strong away end at Stadium MK, Gordon was listening to coverage of our 4-1 victory from home. We were informed by his hospice nurse that he heard the chants of the crowd and gave a big double thumbs up, every time we scored.

Argyle manager Steven Schumacher said: “I am so sorry to hear the sad news about Gordon Sparks today. 

“He will be remembered as an Argyle legend. It was very emotional listening to our fans singing his name in the stands at Milton Keynes Dons yesterday. 

“He will be sorely missed by everyone. My thoughts are with Gordon’s family at this sad time. Rest in peace, Sparksy.”

There will never be another like him, and his legacy at Argyle will go on for generations.

Thank you for everything, Sir Gordon.

The club will, in conjunction with Gordon’s family, discuss the most appropriate way to mark his passing in the days ahead. We will communicate this to supporters in due course.