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Your Guide to Premiership TV Commentators

brian moore Your Guide to Premiership TV CommentatorsFor many of us who watch Premiership soccer on TV, we hear the same football commentators more often than we see some teams play. No matter who plays on a weekend, it’s comforting to hear the familiar voices.But who are the men behind the mic responsible for painting the picture of the Premiership for us?

Here’s the EPL Talk guide to TWI commentators (and Sky Sports talent):

Main Commentators:

Alan Parry. For many football fans, he’s the second most popular commentator behind Martin Tyler. He’s distinctive voice has been a staple of British football since 1973 when he joined the BBC. In that time, he’s worked for the Beeb, ITV and Sky. Rumors are circulating that he may be on his way to Setanta Sports in the summertime.

Steve Banyard. A familiar voice to football fans each weekend. He’s often teamed with football analyst Paul Walsh, and has been quietly been flying under the radar despite commentating on matches since the 1991 in Sheffield and, prior to that in Kent.

Ian Darke. In some circles, he’s more famous as a boxing commentator than a football one, but Darke has been plying his football trade for quite some time. He even worked in the States for a while (if my memory is correct, it could have been the 1994 World Cup).

Martin Tyler. For many, Martin Tyler has ascended to the top of the ranks as legendary, and since departed, Brian Moore (pictured above) did. His unmistakeable voice and confident manner is the perfect combination of professionalism mixed with excitement when appropriate. A modern day legend who has commented on matches since 1974.

Rob Hawthorne. The former BBC Five Live commentator has been working with Sky Sports since the Premiership began in 1992.

Jon Champion. Yet another commentator with an unmistakeable voice. Champion has been commentating football matches on TV since 1995 and is also a former BBC Five Live radio commentator.

Tim Caple. Sounding like a more serious version of Stuart Hall, he most recently commented on the Manchester City match against Everton from January 1, 2007. A sample of his voice can be heard here.

Peter Drury. Another in a long list of legendary English football commentators, Drury has been commentating football on TV since he started with ITV in 1998.

Gary Taphouse. More familiar as the commentator for Chelsea’s CFCnet coverage, Taphouse also finds time to commentate EPL matches.

Co-Commentators (aka color commentators):

Andy Gray. Former Everton star and the leading football expert on TV.

Andy Townsend. Former Aston Villa midfielder.

Chris Kamara. Former hard man defender played with 10 different clubs in England including Leeds United.

Robbie Earle. Former Wimbledon striker and scorer of Jamaica’s first ever World Cup goal.

Brian Marwood. Former Arsenal winger.

Alan Smith. Former Arsenal striker.

Tony Gale. Former West Ham player.

David Pleat. Former Spurs manager.

Paul Walsh. Former Spurs centre forward.

Efan Ekoku. Former Norwich City striker.

Trevor Francis. Former Nottingham Forest striker who was the first million pound signing ever when he joined the club from Birmingham City.

Garry Birtles. Former Nottingham Forest forward.Out of all of the football commentators who cover the Premiership on TV for your viewing pleasure, who are your favorites and who do you love to hate the most? And who did I miss (BBC, ITV, Setanta, radio and Channel 4 are not included on purpose).

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

25 Responses to Your Guide to Premiership TV Commentators

  1. Anonymous says:

    You missed Daniel Mann, Bill Leslie, Rob Palmer, John Anderson, Gordon McQueen, Davie Provan & one of my favourites Gary O’Reilly.

    According to that excellent newspaper The People Martin Tyler will defect to Setanta for ridiculous money.

    Funny how Rod Marsh was sacked by Sky Sports yet Andy Burton did not suffer the same fate after pleading guilty in a magistrates court to a charge of assault on DJ Richard Bacon. The attack in a pub toilet followed Bacon dating an ex of Burton’s. The commentator is also notorious for missing the entire first half of a Bravo Italian League commentary because he was unaware of the kick-off time!

  2. Kartik says:

    Tim Caple is excellent. He provides not only a good play by play (unlike some other commentators who miss pieces of the action) but his analysis is spot on. Martin Tyler is excellent as well. I am a fan of Robbie Earle who does a good job adding some nice points to the broadcast, and liked him as a player too both for the Regge Boys and also for the now defunct Wimbledon FC. (Now the MK Dons). David Pleat and Trevor Francis are very good as well. Ian Darke used to work over here calling games off a monitor so I am used to him.

    I know everyone likes Andy Gray but for me he gives just very generic commentary, and doesn’t add much to the broadcast. Like many top color commentators in American sports (John Madden, Billy Packer, every College Football commentator) he seems to worried about offending certain sacred cows in the media and doesn’t apply equal harshness to certain clubs and managers. The same can be said for the BBC Radio commentators on the call in show 606.

    Every single one of these commentators including Andy Gray is better than the soccer anaylsts in the USA. Our one gem is Ray Hudson but for whatever reason ESPN hasn’t hired him which is a terrible pity that smacks of cronyism in the industry.

  3. JC says:

    Nice write-up, Gaffer.

    Question: What ever happened to John Motson?

  4. deeplennon says:

    Great post.

    Motson works for BBC, so you can only hear him on FA Cup matches and abbreviated match coverage on Match of the Day.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Motto is a ledge~ Barry Davies is up there too. Alan Parry is ny fave and then Tyler.
    Co- commentators:
    Who is Gary O reilly? I like him a lot- he does the late afternoon games- he’s very different to the rest.

    • Ashley says:

      Gary O’Reilly is the most annoying commentator on TV, constantly talking rubbish and with a smug, ‘i know f*ing everything’ tone to his voice, uuurrrgrghhhhh just thinking about his voice annoys me. He’s ruining the EPL for me.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You forgot about Ian Crocker, who recently left BSkyB for Setanta. Crocker did games for TWI in the past.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I enjoy all the commentators, so much better than the crap we have here in Canada, but for David Pleat. He is just the worst. “I have to say the grass is green today”…he must go. He reminds me of the old python skit “i hit the ball and it it when in the net.” Dreadful.

  8. Chris O says:

    My thoughts are that Martin Tyler is the best of all of them – a great tone of voice to accompany the well-judged commentary.

    I think Andy Gray’s quite incisive in his commentary and speak’s like an ex-player who really knows his stuff.

    Alan Parry, I’m afraid, is one of my least favourite commentators. I remember a match some years ago between Man United and West Ham in which the latter were getting really… well, hammered. Parry’s commentary was so pro-United throughout that I nearly vomited.

    It was all “Aren’t Man United the best team in the world when they’re playing like this?” and “You feel sorry for West Ham but they’re not in the same class as this incredible United side…” only worse – MUCH worse.

    David Pleat’s just a joke, frankly. How he got a job writing a column in the Saturday Sport section of The Guardian I’ll never know…

  9. Peer says:

    Garry O’Reilly is the most boring English commentator. I just can’t stand his waffle.

    ESPN have generally got the worst of the lot. Some of those motormouths appear to be paid by the number of words they utter.

  10. Norm says:

    Garry Bloom has got to be up there with the best, whats he doing these days?

  11. chris k says:

    I can’t believe how little work Gary O’Reilly seems to get…..his voice can be a bit monotone but he reads the game as a pro would and passes that information on to viewers in an easily understood manner….the sort of insight I think viewers are looking for. Some other comments men seem to lack some of the basics….they are barely articulate, dunt talk nuffin loik the Queen’s lingo and only seem capable of stating the obvious…..
    Robbie Earle is the other comments man who makes a good fist of the job, for much the same reasons as O’Reilly. Either of those two alongside Ian Darke will do me…

  12. peter olumide says:

    i will give my commentator of all time to Martin Tyler and also to Alan Green. i am also a football commentator(main) in Nigeria.

  13. Just trying to watch Stoke vs Arsenal but as usual Gary O‚ÄôReilly is ruining the game for me with his monotone tribble. I’m a Liverpool fan and he gets lots of the Reds games whic is so disppointing. Lets hope he gets fired soon, He’s sooooo annoying!!!

  14. Ashley says:

    Agreed, please someone…. get rid of Gary O’Reilly !!!!! Before I have to go out and buy a new TV. The guy doesn’t have a brain and talks like he’s the world’s most accomplished manager!!

  15. Austyn ugochukwu says:

    Am gvn my own best commentators to paul walsh, jon champion, trevor, ekuko, i luv d vioce of ds men evry weeknd n d epl, u guys should keep it up.

  16. moe says:

    peter drury – my fav. Love his tone, especially when he shouts “EQUALIZA!!!”

  17. Gai karanja says:

    Jon Champion the best#
    I don’t like someone against man utd.

  18. Kato sadick says:

    I like Jon Champion and wish to be like him and do the work he does in Uganda

  19. antony amimo says:

    Jon Champion,Peter Drury,Efan Ekoku and Gary Taphouse my my bestest is Jon Champion more so in a Man Utd game

  20. ChrisW says:

    Jon Champion and Steve Banyard the best commentators, and Paul Walsh way ahead of the rest as an analyst.

  21. Desmon says:

    Oh I just idolise these guys:Tyler,Drury,Champion & Banyard.

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