Martin Tyler on commentary duty for NBC.
We’ve all got our favourites, but how much do you really know about some of our best football commentators?
We decided to delve into the world of broadcasting as we look at some of the finest voices in the beautiful game both present and past…
The don. Tyler IS the Premier League after heading up Sky’s commentary since the competition started in 1992. His shellshocked response in 2012 to Man City’s incredible last-gasp title winner against QPR will probably be the clip they roll out when he finally calls time on his illustrious career. Aguer….ooooooooo anyone?
While some of his harsher critics argue he’s now past his sell-by-date, it’ll still come as a shock to the system the day the legendary commentator finally hangs up his mic for the last time. He’ll have a handy retirement project when that sad moment comes, however, as a part-time football coach in his spare time.
Tyler has been dishing out instructions at his beloved Woking since 2018.
Fletcher is arguably the crown prince of British football commentary right now, after becoming synonymous with the Premier League and Champions League on BT Sport.
The Nottinghamshire-born commentator has been the voice of some of the most jaw-dropping passages of play from the last decade of football, including Spurs’ last-gasp comeback to reach the UCL final in 2019.
He’s also a man of many talents, commentating on the 2012 Olympics, the MLB Series in London and the Super Bowl.
A mainstay of Sky Sports since the mid-nineties, Hawthorne has seen it all, providing a birds’-eye view on last day title, promotion and relegation battles as well as play-off drama as a long-time commentator on the Premier League, EFL Championship and Football League play-offs.
He also had the honour of summarising perhaps the most famous European match of the last 20 years for Sky, Liverpool’s epic comeback from 3-0 down in Istanbul to eventually beat AC Milan on penalties. Hawthorne is surely the natural successor to become Sky’s lead commentator the day Tyler gives the nod.
For those of a certain vintage, Darke is probably more synonymous as the ‘Voice of Boxing’ on Sky before his move to BT Sport 2013, including summing up the epic Holyfield vs Tyson fight in 1997 where Tyson shocked the watching world by biting off part of Holyfield’s ear.
However, he’s been a reliable gun-for-hire for various major football broadcasters in and around his dabble with boxing, popping up on BT Sport, ESPN and the BBC during an eventful career.
He probably dreads the day Port Vale get a plum FA Cup draw, though.
He famously once said commentating at Vale Park was like “being on the deck of a ship in the middle of the Atlantic.”
Great movement off the ball, and a great finish to match👌
Neal Maupay could have just scored a vital goal in Brighton’s season!
Three points for the home side ✅#PLReturns pic.twitter.com/7PDAbsDGVr
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 20, 2020
Motty’s style – both vocal and sartorial – always divided his critics.
However, there’s no denying the sheepskin coat enthusiast is still the go-to voice for most people under the age of 50 when they conjure up early childhood memories of Match of the Day, FA Cup finals and World Cups.
While he’s semi-retired these days, he’s still dipping his toe in as an occasional summariser and pundit on talkSPORT.
The ultimate wordsmith of our list. Peter Drury is arguably the poet laureate of British football commentary, waiting patiently for the perfect moment to inject the right words.
His most spine-tingling moment on the mic?
There are too many to mention, but this Roman fairy-tale takes some beating…
📅 OTD in 2018…
“Roma have risen from their ruins! Manolas the Greek God in Rome!”
One of THE great Champions League moments 🙌
Take it away, Peter Drury…pic.twitter.com/GGmRvrHrbz
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 10, 2019
If it seems that Parry’s Liverpudlian tones have been booming into our living rooms forever, that’s not far from the truth, with one of the hardest-working commentators on the circuit still very much active after a near 50-year career in broadcasting.
While you sense he’s never quite been handed the top billing his talents deserve, he remains arguably the most versatile of Sky’s ‘Big Five’, just as happy to commentate on an EFL Cup first-round game as a Super Sunday clash.
📆 – It’s 10 years to the day since Danny Rose did this on his Premier League debut in the north London derby.
And Alan Parry made that noise. pic.twitter.com/QozIDKITYz
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) April 14, 2020
The BBC’s Mr Reliable who is that rarest of things in the world of football commentary… a summariser who doesn’t seem to offend anyone.
Wilson is the man the BBC have plumped for as their leading man after Motty’s move away from front-line action, commentating on key MOTD games, FA Cup Finals and the major international finals.
You’ll just have to hope Jon Champion is behind the mic.
As one of the more light-hearted commentators on the circuit, this everyman can inject fun into even the drabbest of 0-0 draws and is fast building up an unmissable double-act with another joker in Ally McCoist.
Expect someone to snap these two for a podcast any time soon, even if it’s just so we can all stay updated on the consistency of Mrs McCoist’s beef sandwiches.
From Champion, to a commentor famed for his far more hard-hitting style.
During a 45-year career mostly served with BBC 5Live, Green garnered admirers and enemies alike for his outspoken opinions on the incidents unfolding in front of him, falling out with the likes of Alex Ferguson and Sam Allardyce along the way.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, his punchy style was always likely to ruffle feathers one day – and he left the BBC in acrimonious circumstances at the start of the 2019/20 campaign. Nevertheless, he’s booked his place in history as one of the most authoritative voices around in the often trickier world of radio commentary.
That magical night in Munich. Fergie’s finest hour. And probably Clive’s too.
For many, ITV regular Tyldesley will always bring back wistful memories of a time when you could still get a dose of Champions League on terrestrial telly, at a time where English clubs were also utterly dominant on the continent in the early to mid-2000s.
For others, he’ll always come with a trigger warning. Tyldesley had the grim task of clearing up the mess as the first witness to countless England exits from international tournaments.
Like Green, he’s never been everyone’s cup of tea, and lost top billing at ITV to Sam Matterface last year.
The late, great Brackley will always be fondly remembered by the early millennial crowd as the long-term voice of the legendary Pro Evo franchise – back when FIFA couldn’t lay a glove on it.
In fact, rewind to the 90s, and there was Brackley mania everywhere. The avid Brighton fan also brought Serie A into British living rooms as the distinctive voice of Football Italia.
And finally… we couldn’t leave this without a mention of the man with arguably the most famous one-liner in football league history.
Long-serving BBC commentator Wolstenholme is now almost as celebrated as Geoff Hurst and co. for these immortal words…
ALAN GREENALAN PARRYBARRY DAVIESBRIAN MOORECLIVE TYLDESLEYDARREN FLETCHERGERALD SINSTADTGUY MOWBRAYIAN DARKEJOHN MOTSONJONATHAN PEARCEJON CHAMPIONKENNETH WOLSTENHOLMEPETER BRACKLEYPETER DRURYROB HAWTHORNESAM MATTERFACESTEVE WILSON