Nick Barnes and Gary Bennett

Ten up for BBC pair

by Stuart Vose

Barnes and Bennett to kick off tenth season.

BBC Radio Newcastle's Sunderland broadcast duo Nick Barnes and Gary Bennett will celebrate their tenth consecutive season of Sunderland match commentary, as the start 2012-13 Barclays Premier League season approaches this weekend.

The station is the only broadcaster to transmit live full-match commentary of every Sunderland game, home and away and Barnes and Bennett have formed a popular on-air partnership.

The pair are looking forward to continuing their coverage of the Black Cats as the new season commences and Nick Barnes said: "It's an absolute privilege for Gary and myself to be at every Sunderland game.

"From working so closely together we have developed an understanding and a format that works very well, which hopefully helps to paint a picture for those fans who can't attend games."

Sunderland AFC's commercial director, Gary Hutchinson, said: "The club has enjoyed a fantastic partnership with BBC Radio Newcastle over the years and long may that continue.

"They provide a first-class service to Sunderland fans as our official commentary partner and have demonstrated their on-going support and commitment to Sunderland, something which we hugely appreciate."

BBC Radio Newcastle Managing Editor, Matthew Barraclough, added: "it's a fantastic milestone for Nick and Gary, who have formed a great bond and partnership, which has proved immensely popular with our listeners.

"I know they are both looking forward to another exciting season following Sunderland and ensuring that fans don't miss a single kick on BBC Radio Newcastle, as we'll be at every match, broadcasting on analogue and digital and all over the world via the club's official website,"