No football fan will deny a commentator’s ability to enrich the viewing experience of any game. Commentators, throughout footballing history, have not only amplified the excitement and intensity of football matches but also helped make them timeless moments of action.
In this section, we take a look at the best commentators to have graced the game of football.
5. Ian Darke
The Premier League’s oldest fans will remember Ian Darke as one of Sky Sports’ 'big four' commentators together with Alan Parry, Martin Tyler, and Rob Hawthorne.
The British commentator has been on the sidelines for sports like boxing and athletics, but his undying love for football makes him one of the best in the business.
Darke has been commentating on Premier League games since its inception in 1992, most recently working with Prime Video UK. He has also called on both domestic cup competitions and international tournaments, most notably the 2005 Champions League semi-final between Liverpool and Chelsea.
Despite his English origin, Darke is most popular among American fans who, till date, drool over his incredible commentary when former USMNT striker Landon Donovan scored a winning goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup group stage which sent them through to the knock-out stages.
Ask any American and this bit of commentary will certainly ring in their ears almost 10 years from that famous goal. Darke said:
“Howard gratefully claims it. Distribution: brilliant. Landon Donovan, are things on here for the USA? Can they do it here? Cross – and Dempsey is denied again! And Donovan has scored! Oh, can you believe this! Go, go, USA! Certainly through! Oh, it's incredible! You could not write a script like this!”
Another iconic USA goal he commentated on was for John Brooks’ winning strike against Ghana in the 2014 World Cup group stages.
Darke has since worked on Major League Soccer games and USMNT friendlies owing to his ever-increasing American viewership. Sports Illustrated magazine named him the “Best Newcomer in American Sports TV" in 2010 and he was also voted in the US as the “Best Football Commentator” for his work during the 2011-2012 season.