The fallout from the demise of Setanta UK is set to start with the Scottish Premier League, Football Association and Blue Square Premier League in turmoil after missing out on millions of dollars of cash and the worry of finding a new suitor to step in to rescue the organizations.
But it’s not just the leagues and associations that are impacted by the collapse of Setanta UK. Top quality football presenters and commentators are now out of a job and will be spending the summer months looking for work and hoping that Sky Sports or its competition will give them a job for the 2009-2010 season and beyond.
Here are the top 10 Setanta UK commentators and presenters looking for work:
- James Richardson. Everyone’s favorite football presenter thanks to the runaway success of the Football Weekly podcast from The Guardian, Richardson will no longer be working for Setanta UK as the presenter of Football Matters or the Friday Football Show. Instead, Richardson will presumably continue doing infrequent freelance gigs. With his unmistakable voice and a World Cup around the corner, “AC Jimbo” should have no problem finding regular work.
- Jon Champion. The lead commentator at Setanta who is one of the best in the game other than Martin Tyler capped an impressive 2008-2009 season with the FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Everton. In a pre-match interview, Champion shared one piece of research he had conducted that he claimed he may not be able to use — the fastest goal ever scored in a FA Cup Final. Lo and behold, Champion lived up to his surname when he was able to use that piece of research after Louis Saha beat the record in the first minute of the match. With a voice as unmistakeable as Champion, the famous commentator should be first on the list for Sky to snap up this summer.
- Angus Scott. It was only fitting that Setanta UK’s finest performance was one of the final ones, the FA Cup Final which was the network’s crowning moment and was expertly anchored by none other than Angus Scott. The main presenter won’t be able to knock his counterpart Richard Keys off his perch from Sky Sports, but let’s hope Scott finds a high-profile position he deserves.
- Ian Crocker. The commentator joined Setanta in 2006 from Sky Sports, and it’s quite possible that Crocker will return to Sky if the network has room for another highly qualified commentator with such a recognizable voice.
- Craig Burley. The Scot’s co-commentating was a regular feature of the 2008-2009 Premier League season, in which he performed consistently by providing plenty of insightful observations during key matches for Setanta. I’m not sure, though, that there’s room for another Scottish pundit in English football, but let’s hope this isn’t the last we see or hear of Craig Burley.
- Steve Bower. Bower did an admirable job hosting the early hours of the FA Cup Final coverage from London. Despite his dodgy haircut, the former MUTV presenter should be able to find work during a very busy next 12 months of football. Where he goes is the question, but I’m sure we’ll see him again sometime soon on television.
- Steve McManaman. The flashy-dressed pundit definitely has the gift of the gab and has a bright future ahead of him after retiring from playing football. Don’t be surprised to see him brought in from time-to-time as a guest pundit on future high-profile matches, perhaps England matches.
- Rebecca Lowe. Football’s favorite female presenter should have no problem finding work. The only question is whether the new job can give Lowe’s personality to shine like we’re used to seeing on Football Matters. I just hope that she doesn’t become one of the interchangeable bimbo’s on Sky Sports.
- Chris Waddle. We won’t be able to hear the Geordie accent of Chris Waddle booming out during England matches in the near future. Don’t ask me why, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s quite a while before we hear from Chris Waddle again unless TalkSport or a similar radio station picks him up.
- Scott Booth. The former Scottish footballer who was capped 22 times by his country was a pundit for Setanta Sports and a main feature of their SPL coverage. The co-commentator, who is best known for his time at Aberdeen, is a highly-respected pundit.
And, unfortunately, there are many others in addition to the above-mentioned, many of them who covered the Scottish Premier League (SPL) for Setanta Sports.
UPDATE: I neglected to mention above that with ESPN starting its own new channel in the UK, the American broadcaster will be looking for talent, so many of the above may find a home at the to-be-named network.
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