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10 best football commentators of all time

  • We take a look at ten of the best commentators in the history of football.
  • These men have added to the increased viewing and listening pleasure of a football game.
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 21 May 2020, 12:05 IST

Football has seen a host of incredible commentators in its history
Football has seen a host of incredible commentators in its history

Ever since the advent of televisions and radios, the description and extensive understanding of a particular sport have become increasingly convenient for the audience.

Football has benefitted tremendously from this and the people who take the beautiful game to various homes across the world- the commentators- are widely applauded for their contributions. However, their job remains largely underrated as many people still fail to understand the importance of their work behind the camera.

A commentator's depiction of the action on the pitch helps laymen understand the game better and adds to their viewing and listening pleasure. Having said that, we take a look at ten of the best football commentators of all time.


#10 Ian Darke

Ian Darke (L)
Ian Darke (L)

Ian Darke is one of the biggest figures operating the microphone in British sport. Having commented both on football and boxing, Darke was one of the four members of Sky's 'Big Four' commentators alongside Martin Tyler, Alan Parry and Rob Hawthorne.

Darke has a lot of experience, having covered big games like the FIFA World Cup final thrice as well as regular games in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League on numerous occasions.

Although he has worked extensively with BBC Radio and Sky Sports in the past, Darke has also been employed by ESPN. He currently commentates for BT Sport and Prime Video Sport, for whom he covers the Premier League, among other competitions. He has also commentated in the FA Cup for both Sky and BT Sport.


#9 Jon Champion

 Jon Champion
Jon Champion

Fans of the Premier League sorely miss the services of expert commentator Jon Champion, who moved to the United States of America ahead of the 2019-20 season. Champion has a wide range of experience through his hallowed career, having spent time with BBC Sport, ITV Sport, Setalanta and ESPN, with the latter being his current employers.

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The Yorkshire-born announcer was brought on board by ITV to commentate the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and was also employed by ESPN for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as his services were required for its United States audience.

In addition to this, Champion has also commentated in the 2006 and 2018 FIFA World Cups. He has also lent his voice to the commentary section of several editions of the videogame Pro Evolution Soccer.


#8 Jim Beglin

Jim Beglin
Jim Beglin

Jim Beglin is one of the few professional commentators in the Premier League who have played top-flight football themselves. The Irishman, who was a left-back during his playing career, had stellar careers with Liverpool and Leeds United, among other clubs.

Blessed with the ability to read the game with impeccable accuracy, Beglin has never quite been a primary commentator but operated alongside the likes of Peter Drury and Martin Tyler. Despite being a former Liverpool player, he is unbiased when it comes to commentating on the Reds' games and his insights are often sought by many fans and pundits alike.

Beglin is undoubtedly one of the best commentators that the game has ever seen. He has worked for BT Sport and NBCSN, and in his wide career, has covered the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and two editions of the FIFA World Cup.


#7 Andy Gray

Andy Gray
Andy Gray

Andy Gray, who also had a stellar career in top-flight football with the likes of Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Everton and West Bromwich Albion, has had a stop-start career in media due to several disciplinary issues.

However, his views are respected by millions of fans worldwide, who know him best for being the commentary partner of Clive Tyldesley in EA Sports' FIFA videogame series until 2012, when he was replaced by Alan Smith.

Gray has been infamous for several reasons throughout his commentary career but he always presented the game in an unbiased and highly informative way. His methods of explaining the game held sway over laymen who did not know much about football and that is how he will always be remembered.


#6 Clive Tyldesley

Clive Tyldesley (R)
Clive Tyldesley (R)

Another senior commentator gracing our list is Clive Tyldesley. Having been a part of ITV's commentary team for a long time and eventually taking over the reins after the great Brian Moore retired, he has made a place of his own among other legends.

Tyldesley is often seen commentating on Champions League games (he has covered the last seventeen finals) as well as important FA Cup matches. He was also a part of EA Sports' FIFA videogame series for a long time.

In addition to these, Tyldesley has won numerous accolades for his performances with the microphone, including the Royal Television Society Sports Commentator of the Year award, which he won four times.

The Lancashire man, who has a stellar career with ITV at the moment, is truly one of the best commentators that English football has ever seen. 


#5 Alan Smith

Alan Smith
Alan Smith

Former Arsenal and Leicester City player Alan Smith is one of the few professional commentators who have played the game at the top level themselves. A renowned striker, who has also been capped by the England national team several times, Smith is widely known across the globe for replacing fellow commentator Andy Gray as Martin Tyler's partner in EA Sports' FIFA videogame series.

Smith's style of commentary is understated and he likes to narrate things as they happen, without any exaggeration or theatrics. Being a top-level player himself, his understanding of the game is several notches higher than those of his colleagues but his graceful conduct shows the character of the man. Smith has also worked regularly as a football pundit for Sky Sports.


#4 Peter Drury

Peter Drury
Peter Drury

Peter Drury is perhaps the best football commentator in the Premier League at the moment. Waxing lyrical with his words and showering praises only when they are truly deserved, Drury has the ability to enhance the viewing experience that is offered by a football match.

He has commentated in most Manchester derbies in recent times along with partners Jim Beglin and Martin Tyler but has proved to be one of the best when it comes to relating or narrating exquisite scenarios.

Drury has had some brilliant moments, most of which have come in the Premier League, while he has also enjoyed some in the UEFA Champions League and other international competitions such as the FIFA World Cup. He is respected and revered by most fans and players for his unbiased opinions and arguments.


#3 Martin Tyler

Martin Tyler
Martin Tyler

Perhaps the oldest of the lot, Martin Tyler, has long been recognised as the voice of English football. His commentary skills edge on the theatrical but he provides the viewers with an experience that is unlikely to be forgotten.

The 74-year-old is still a full-time commentator, and his longtime partnerships with Peter Drury, Jim Beglin and Alan Smith have earned the tag of folklore in English football's history.

Tyler, who is also the assistant manager of fifth-tier club Woking FC, has worked for the Premier League Productions, Sky Sports and Fox Australia in his long-drawn career. His antics with the mic over Sergio Aguero's fabulous goal against Queens Park Rangers in the 2011/12 season will be remembered for years to come.


#2 John Motson

John Motson
John Motson

John Motson, who began his illustrious career in 1971, is one of the most senior football commentators in the circuit, having covered close to 2000 games on TV and radio.

Although he retired from active commentary in 2008, Motson did a lot of highlight packages and Match of the Day specials for BBC. In 2017, he announced that he would return from retirement to work with TalkSport.

The Lancashire man has also lent his voice to several TV commercials and his standing in English football can never be questioned. He is one of the best that the game has had and his subtle, understated way of describing the action on the pick is often remembered by old-timers.


#1 Brian Moore

Brian Moore
Brian Moore

The legendary Brian Moore, who is unofficially considered to be the father of English football commentary, was perhaps the first man to have brought the profession into the realm of the general public.

Born in 1932 in Kent, Moore covered nine FIFA World Cups and more than twenty Cup championship finals in his long career. He also held the distinction for being behind the microphone when England won the 1966 FIFA World Cup final at Wembley under the leadership of Bobby Moore.

Although he passed away at the age of 69 in 2001, Moore will always be remembered for being the first professional commentator who brought the game inside English homes with impeccable diction and flawless description. He worked extensively for the BBC and ITV Sport during his time. Moore graced both the television and radio during his commentary stints.



Published 21 May 2020, 12:05 IST
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