If you are a Canadian soccer fan of a certain age, you will be saddened tonight to hear of the passing of the legendary Graham Leggat, that fine Scottish gentleman that hosted Soccer Saturday on TSN in the days before the Internet and Twitter were the best ways to follow the sport.
Leggat had a fine playing career as a younger man, with notable spells at hometown club Aberdeen and Fulham. The Scot was a winger by trade, but one with the scoring record of a striker – notching 201 goals in just under 400 career games. Leggat also managed 18 caps for Scotland [8 goals] and played in the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden.
Aberdeen FC said in a statement: “The term ‘legend’ is overused these days but in Graham’s case it was entirely appropriate. He was a wonderful servant for both club and country and out thoughts are with his family at this extremely sad time.”
A Fulham statement read: “An extremely quick player who was revered by the Fulham fans for the bravery in his game, as well as the many goals he contributed.” It was at Fulham where Leggat scored one of the fastest hat-tricks in football history – three goals in three minutes on Boxing Day 1963.
Like many British players of the era, he ended up coming over to North America to test the waters in the NASL. Thankfully for Canada, he settled in Toronto after his spell at Toronto Metros [later Blizzard] came to an end.
Leggat then began a spell as a broadcaster, fast establishing himself as Canada’s voice of the beautiful game. He did work for the CBC, covering the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympic Games as well as the 1978 World Cup. He was likely most well known in this country for his stint on Soccer Saturday and World of Soccer, keeping the ex-pats as well as the new supporters in touch with goings on across the pond.
Inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2001 in the ‘Builder’ category, it would be hard to measure the impact this man had on the popularity of the sport in Canada.