Simon Hallett pays tribute to Gordon Sparks

I learned of Gordon’s passing in the early hours of the morning, here in California, where Jane and I are visiting our daughter.

I can’t say the sad news was unexpected, but the timing was a shock. Just yesterday, I was arranging to visit Gordon when I am in Plymouth for a brief visit at the end of the month.

We send our condolences to Heather and his family.

Others knew Gordon better than me, and others are more familiar with his lifetime’s body of work.

In the time of my involvement with Argyle I was fortunate to get to know a passionate Argyle fan, a warm and friendly ambassador on match days, and a fabulous raconteur. 

One of the extraordinary things about Gordon was that, while he loved an audience, it didn’t matter if that audience was the wide BBC one, a boardroom guest, or a small set of strangers in a Zoom room.

During the pandemic Gordon hosted watch parties for a few fans watching on ArgyleTV. He enjoyed them so much that he continued to be a valuable member of the USA-based fans’ chat groups on social media, gaining new friends over here. It wasn’t many people, but it was an audience that Gordon loved, and that loved him.

Passionate Argyle fan; warm, empathetic host; friend to many; beloved husband, father and, more recently, grandfather….Gordon played all of these roles, but the one that I will most remember him for was as a consummate professional.

Just recently, he corrected something I said and, when I laughed about it, he pointed out, “I’m a journalist, Simon.” As a journalist he believed in finding the truth and communicating it clearly.

We will all remember his professional work as a broadcast journalist, but he was also a fine writer with a deep love of the English language, a respect for its rules, and a very personal voice.

I’m glad that in his last few months he accepted our invitation to write some nostalgia pieces that drew on his vast experience as a member of the Argyle family. They will form part of the massive legacy that he leaves in the history of Plymouth Argyle.

One of a kind that we were lucky to have with us.

Thank you, Sparksy.