Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles

Tigers fan Iain familiar to millions during Open season

Figure image
As the BBC's golf correspondent Iain Carter is a familiar voice to millions of listeners to BBC Radio 5 Live, particularly at this time of the year as The Open swings into action.

But no matter where in the world Iain’s job takes him, he is never very far away from his beloved Leicester Tigers.
“I follow the Tigers on Twitter as well the Leicester Mercury,” says Iain. “If I can get the game on my laptop then I will, it doesn’t matter what time of day or night it is. I will get up in the middle of the night if I am on the other side of the world. Breakfast time, dinner time, night time, I will find a way of watching Tigers if I can.
Iain's career includes roles at Leicester News Service, Radio Trent and BBC Radio Leicester, and since 2003 he has led the BBC 5 Live’s coverage at major championships - including this week's Open Championship at Hoylake - and the Ryder Cup as their golf correspondent. He also commentates for BBC 5Live on rugby and tennis.
“Some of the other golf reporters call me anti-rugby for supporting Tigers but I would throw it back at them. James Corrigan of the Daily Telegraph is Welsh and a big fan of Welsh rugby, David Facey of The Sun as well.
“Rory McIlroy is a big Ulster fan and we have banter, especially in the week of a Tigers v Ulster game. We will talk rugby either side of an interview. He would probably be the biggest rugby fan among the golfers.”
Like thousands of supporters over the years, Iain’s first introduction to the Tigers was at Welford Road at the annual Barbarians fixture.
“I can remember vividly that we were sitting in the old Members’ Stand in the first row level with the 22,” he says. “The Barbarians Christmas match was a massive part of our festivities as a family. It was always Christmas Day, Boxing Day and then Baa-Baas Day. I have followed Tigers ever since.
“I went to Twickenham for the first time in 1978 and saw the John Player Cup Final that we lost 6-3 to Gloucester. We went back the following year and saw the Moseley game when Steve Kenney scored his famous try. There was one the following year when Tim Barnwell got a nasty injury.
“I went to Lancaster Boys School and John Duggan was teaching there, and I really started to get into following Tigers. I went home and away.
“When I was a producer at BBC Radio Leicester I made it my objective to be at as many matches as I could. Home or away, I would try to get to it.
“I remember being on a rickety TV gantry for the match at Bath when Brian Smith scored the only try and won 12-0. That one stands out.”
Indeed, that game in Round 3 of the Pilkington Cup on November 24, 1990 is still the only time in their history that Bath have been ‘nilled’ at their Recreation Ground home.
Another fixture that stands out was the Zurich Championship quarter-final against London Irish, played at Welford Road on April 28, 2001, the day Iain’s wife Sarah Parrish gave birth to their son Ollie.
Iain recalls: “Ollie was born in Kingston Hospital and the midwife could see I was trying to find out the rugby results. Her name was Melanie Griffiths – you never forget a name like that! She was a huge Leicester fan, so as my wife was in labour we were discussing the merits of Dean Richards and Co!”
It was a double celebration for Iain as the safe arrival of Ollie was accompanied by a 24-11 victory for the Tigers.
As well as covering golf for BBC Radio 5Live, Iain also commentates on tennis and rugby and is occasionally required to cover the Tigers.
“The surprising thing is that I can get myself into a mindset of being completely neutral,” he says. “I hope it comes over that way to the listeners.
“You get into a reporting frame of mind. It doesn’t matter what sport you are covering, even in the majors or the Ryder Cup, you become conscious of the listener. At the Ryder Cup, our commentary is beamed around the course and you know a lot of your listeners are American. You don’t want to be biased.
“It is the only time that I am not passionately supporting Tigers.”

*This is an edited version of an article that was published in the Tigers matchday programme.