The world of football in Australia lost one of its pillars, the iconic presenter Les Murray, who passed after a long-term illness; he was 71. “He fought well into extra time but whistle has blown”, wrote Craig Foster, Chief Analyst at SBS Television. Les Murray had been working at the broadcaster since 1980, when it first started its television program and stayed there till the end. “His legacy is lasting”, wrote Foster. “Les left family that loved him, colleagues adored him, futbol community that revered him. Well played old friend”. This is the prevailing tone in all of the tributes to the memory of ‘Mr. Footbal’, as he was affectionately known amongst football fans.
“To say he will sorely missed is an understatement”, read the statement issued by SBS. “”No one better embodied what SBS represents than Les Murray. From humble refugee origins, he became one Australia’s most recognised and loved sporting identities,” SBS Managing Director, Michael Ebeid said of the station’s former sports director who was “not just a football icon, but a great Australian story and an inspiration to many”.
Hungarian-born Lazslo Murray was host of The World Game on SBS from 2001 to 2014; he also hosted other sports programs such as On the Ball (1984-2000) and Toyota World Sports (1990-2006). In 2006, he stepped down from his position as SBS’s sports director to become an editorial supervisor for the broadcaster, while his on-air role remained the same – that of a passionate advocate for football, which makes him partly responsible for the sports’ succss. Les Murray is survived by his partner Maria and his daughters Tania and Natalie.