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Is Tim White The Worst Football Commentator Ever?

tim white Is Tim White The Worst Football Commentator Ever?Tim White is a name that most of us were unfamiliar with before this week, but in the span of 24 hours we now know his name all too painfully well.

If you don’t know who Tim White is, he’s a football commentator. This week, he gave a woeful commentary for the UEFA feed of the Besiktas versus Manchester United match. One EPL Talk reader described him as “the worst commentator I have ever heard,” while another reader compared White’s commentary to that of a funeral.

Many of us, myself included, hoped that would be the last we heard of Tim White.

Unfortunately, a shock of horror swept across me Wednesday night when it was announced that the commentator for the game between Liverpool and Debrecen would be none other than Tim White.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, his voice sounded less flat during the first few seconds of his commentary. But as soon as the whistle blew to kick off the match, White put his foot in his mouth once again by saying that Liverpool were “English Premier League champions.” I had to rewind the match to make sure I wasn’t hearing things, and sat in disbelief that he actually did say those words.

One of the consistent criticisms of White’s commentary on Tuesday night was that he kept on talking about the scores of the other Champions League matches that were being played simultaneously. After listening to other commentators the last two days, it seems that most of them do the same thing so this may be a policy from UEFA and not a personal preference by the commentators.

However, White said another comment during the first half of the Liverpool match that left me gobsmacked. He said that Arsenal were losing 4-0 against Standard Liege by the 20th minute. Now I watched the Standard Liege against Arsenal game myself earlier Wednesday evening (and what an excellent comeback it was by the Gunners), but unless I was on a different planet, the final score was Standard Liege 2-3 Arsenal. Maybe his producers fed him the wrong scoreline or he misread some numbers? Whatever the case, it made White look like more of a incompetent football commentator than he already appeared.

We all make mistakes in our jobs (goodness knows I’ve made plenty myself), but these were two woeful commentaries in a span of 24 hours from the same individual. And honestly we expect more from UEFA and the Champions League than this. These games are supposed to be of the highest quality, which they are. But the commentating needs to strive to be world-class too. Unfortunately right now, it’s some of the worst football commentating I’ve ever heard.

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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.
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62 Responses to Is Tim White The Worst Football Commentator Ever?

  1. Christian says:

    He’s awful. He called Besiktas, “Fenerbahce” at one point in the second half.

    • David Aaa says:

      From the first broadcasts I thought they would be using Sky Sports commentaries. He also said Man City had beaten Man U twice last season!

  2. Peter says:

    I only saw the Arsenal-SL game, which was a snoozer despite the scoreline, but what is with only having one announcer? Was this all FSC could afford? He had to resort to talking to himself, and I thought there were some questionable calls that could have been talking points…also, after those talking points, they showed one quick replay, barely allowing me to see what happened on close calls (SL penalty-looked like a clear dive, Arsenal second goal-Handball!)…bring the CL back to ESPN (except with no Tommy Smyth)

    • Joel says:

      Peter, I believe those are the UEFA international commentators, not FSC’s. Most of the matches only had 1 commentator. The Barca v. Inter match had 2, though.

      • Peter says:

        I was referring to the one commentator provided during the Arsenal game, who also had the enthusiasm of an undertaker…I would think scoring the 3rd goal to come back from 2-0 would generate some excitement….nope…

  3. Joel says:

    I DVR’d both of the games he commentated on, and I couldn’t listen to either. I’m a die-hard Man Utd fan, but I just couldn’t stand it. It didn’t help that I had heard the score, either. I thought I was mistaken in hearing the “4-0″ comment. I immediately started playing the Arsenal match on my TV. While I was pleasantly surprised by the 2-0 scoreline, it wasn’t the one I expected. I just thought I was hearing things.

  4. Stevie the K says:

    why can’t we lure Toby Charles out of retirement?

    THAT would be a noteworthy and enjoyable event in and of itself

  5. JW says:

    I especially enjoyed how he changed the pronunciation of “Ber-BAAAH-tov”.

  6. V says:

    Tim White is a horror show, no question. Why would UEFA thrust someone so inept, so clearly under qualified, into such a high profile role?

    More important of an issue for American viewers, however, is the policy of discussing results from other matches. We have two conflicting policies at work: UEFA commentators freely discuss goals/results on the air while FSC (in an admirable but futile attempt) tries to preserve the sanctity of the matches they’re showing later by not discussing/displaying any updates during the match or at the half.

    The result, unfortunately, means that FSC viewers can’t watch more than one match without knowing the result – truly a shame given their extensive coverage.

    I know that the upcoming interview with a Fox executive is meant to focus on the relaunch of their broadband service, but I’d be extremely interested in their response regarding this absolutely vital issue.

    P.S. As much as I dislike Tim White, he actually has the pronunciation of Berbatov correct, as a friend from Bulgaria once confirmed for me.

  7. Gary says:

    With regards to the 4-0 scoreline comment, I noticed that UEFA’s Match Centre had also the incorrect score for about 10 minutes. This wasn’t the first time either as they did the previous day in the Besiktas v Man Utd match, showing the score as 2-0 with Scholes scoring twice. If Tim was using the UEFA website for information, his mistake is a bit more understandable.

  8. RedMD says:

    This is part and parcel of the overall awful production values that FSC uses to produce its match coverage. SKY Sports should be used where possible, given their close corporate relation.

    • Tim says:

      Red, you can blame FSC for a lot of things, but not this. Fox buys its feed, just like ESPN did, from UEFA directly. All ESPN did differently was to have its own commentators watching the feed (from studio, as I recall, rather than at the match, except for finals) and calling the match. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but maybe FSC should reconsider and let Miles and Costigan do the same.
      (Or they could do the best thing possible and lure Ray Hudson away from GolTV – no, wait, that’s what I want ESPN to do. The fact that the most unpredictable announcer in America – and his most predictable partner, Phil Schoen, who might in fact be what makes Hudson palatable – are not being heard by any more viewers than they are is a crime.)

  9. Zola612 says:

    The answer to the article title question “Is Tim White The Worst Football Commentator Ever?” The answer is Yes! Mostly because he is covering the worlds premier club tournament. If he communications major covering a collegiate match for a local cable access station I’d look the other way but that was absurd.

  10. SSReporters says:

    I do agree Tom White is the worst football commentator of all time.

    His commentary on Everton vs. Werder Bremen was terrible yesterday and I only caught bits and pieces.

    He was even worse on Fenerbahce vs. Manchester City, who by the way were releagated last year.

    No more of Don White ever again on the CBS Soccer Network.

  11. Ocko says:

    I can understand the 4-0 mistake; he’s getting the info fed to him from other sources. It’s his calling of the game that rubs me. What would have to happen for him to get excited? Aliens on the pitch? Jesus stripping down to come on for Liverpool? Even my girlfriend pointed out that his adds just about zero to the broadcast………no wit, no excitement, no background…terrible…just terrible….

    No….I won’t say it….NO I WON’T…YOU CAN’T MAKE ME….

    OK. This guy makes me crave the ‘old onion bag.’ He’s that bad. FINE. Happy now?

  12. Duke says:

    Does anyone remember the “Boom goes the dynamite” kid doing sports for a college TV station? He was quite the internet sensation a while back.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W45DRy7M1no

    I think that kid would be better than Tim White. At least he’d sound like something interesting was happening.

  13. Eric says:

    Again, FSC does not deserve the Champions League.

  14. Rob Perry says:

    Saw your comments about the UCL World Feed, so thought I’d drop you a quick (confidential) note – Tim White’s company in Leeds have been contracted by UEFA to provide World Feed commentary. In short, UEFA pay him to hire commentators to cover all the games each matchday. And the fee in turn being offered by Tim isn’t sufficient to attract a high grade of freelancer – hence no “familiar” names!

    I know several TV companies who have taken the World Feed as a cost-cutting measure have voiced criticism of the quality so far – notably the play-off round Sporting v Fiorentina game, where the commentator Andrew James didn’t understand the away goals rule, and declared “extra time to follow” – much to the embarrassment of broadcasters carrying the game live!!!!!

    • The Gaffer says:

      So it’s much worse than I even imagined. Not only do we have to make do with Tim White’s commentary, but now we know that the other blokes commentating the games have been hired by White — which isn’t exactly a comforting endorsement given White’s track record thus far.

      With all of the money that UEFA gets for TV rights, you would think that UEFA could spare a few extra bob to allow White’s agency to hire better talent.

      This does not bode well for the rest of the Champions League.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Zola612 says:

      That is a truly shocking story about Andrew James not understanding the away goals rule. It seems reasonable to expect that even if the presenter is inexperienced or underpaid that they would at least “try” to look professional by familiarizing themselves with the rules of the competition.

      • Duke says:

        Worst case, you may just want to watch and turn down the sound. I’ve taken to doing this during NFL games, which have such terrible commentary that they often make me want to shoot my television. A bigger conglomeration of brainless talking heads and meathead former athletes you will never find. And the vast majority of them don’t even know the rules, even with a staff of behind-the-scenes people feeding them information.

        Anyway, back to ranting about UCL: I ended up just turning the sound most of the way down. If I was unsure about what was happening, I would turn it back up briefly, not that that helped much. At least it kept me from getting too infuriated to watch the match.

        Also: This is NOT the best way to garner new audience in the U.S., just in case UEFA cares…

  15. Brian says:

    I watched all the Inter Barca game yesterday and didn’t hear a reference to the score of any other game.

    Also I watched parts of the the Arsenal game (not all of it – because the game had been ruined by TW) and didn’t hear reference to the scores of other games.

    The kindest thing I can say about this guy is that he vomits words.

  16. eric says:

    in his defence UEFA.com did accidentally put the Arsenal score as 4-0 at around the 20 min mark and it remained that way for a good 5 min. They blamed it on technical errors.

    • Jeremy says:

      Same thing happened in Tuesday’s Man U match on uefa.com. It showed Scholes scoring twice in the 77th to put Man U up 0-2.

  17. Elliott says:

    Ive seen quite a few podcasts, but seeing as several of us watch games on our computer, perhaps an epltalk live match commentary is urgently needed

    • The Gaffer says:

      Hi Elliott, we’ve tried that before with the infamous EPL Talk Chat but it didn’t work out as well as we imagined — mainly because more and more football supporters are timeshifting and watching games on delay rather than live.

      Thanks for the suggestion, though. I appreciate it and welcome any ideas.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  18. Michael says:

    This guy is really, really bad. What made it worse, at least during ManU-Besiktas, is that the stadium sound was almost non-existent.

  19. J says:

    FSN Arizona had no stadium noise whatsoever during Besiktas-MU.
    Switched over to FS South West where it was fine.
    I guess Tim’s mob are cheaper than TWI – shame, especially with all the E’s that UEFA rake in.

    • Gaz says:

      I bet they heard all the pundits talking about the stadium being a mad-house and the supporters being super loud and got scared. They probably lowered the sound in anticipation of the crowd overpowering the commentators or on-pitch mics.

  20. babaya says:

    100% agree. Worst. Ever.

  21. Mutebutton says:

    Worse than Max Bretos?

    I don’t think I’ve watched this recording, so we’ll see. But if this guy is worse than Max, he’s really accomplished an amazing professional feat.

    Unless they are using the announcers from Great Britain, I usually watch FSC on mute anyways. All of their voice-over announcers are horrible.

  22. leeboy says:

    Why not just take the UK match feed? It’ll be HD where possible, and I’m sure decent commentary is a price worth paying for the odd mention of Sky Sports, ESPN UK, ITV etc.

  23. Gaz says:

    This is great everyone noticed this too!

    So ‘effing annoying.

    Here’s the thing though: If he can just stop announcing scored from other matches, I can deal with all the crappy blunders.

    Announcing that Arsenal was losing 4-0 was bad enough as I was going to watch that game after the Liverpool match, but then later finding out that it wasn’t even a valid scoreline was the worst!

    Let him call Liverpool the “champions”, pronounce everything wrong, not understand rules, and generally make an ass of himself… but PLEASE don’t tell us scores!

  24. Taylor says:

    One thing not helping White was the sound mixing was terrible. You couldn’t hear the crowd or the atmosphere. And you really got the feel that he was stuck in a studio. Glad I wasn’t the only one who tuned into the DVR’d Arsenal game expecting to see a comeback from four goals down. But, the Arsenal announcer was just as bad. He kept thinking Standard Liege had one fewer goal than it actually had, leading to talk of Arsenal drawing level at the end of the second half and then going ahead after two goals.

    • Gaz says:

      Yup. When Arsenal scored the first goal he indicated that they had just “gone level” (it was 2-1). And when they scored the third he indicated that they were up 1-3 (it was 2-3).

  25. JC says:

    Oh my God, bad footy commentators? I just watched the Everton v. AEK Europa match on my DVR from this afternoon. Talk about terrible commentary. Those muppets were simply shocking. I couldn’t handle the second half i had fast forward through it. The name pronunciations were amazing they were calling Steven Pienaar “PIE nar”for the first 30 minutes
    and what they were doing with Fellaini and Distin was just a joke. And give the “Goooooooooool” bollocks a f’in rest please. I don’t mind Gol TV with Ray Hudson and his team but if the Europa league this season is going to be ruined by those two bozos from this afternoon I think i’ll be giving it a miss.
    Maybe they should get some tips from ESPN and FSC. For Gods sakes i’d prefer “old onion bags” to them!

    • The Gaffer says:

      JC, GolTV’s Julian Gonzalez and Lindsey Dean were mere gods compared to Tim White. Yes, every time Gonzalez mispronounced Stephen Pienaar’s name it grated me, but other than that they were fine, I thought.

      It’s not too often that you get to hear a “Gooooooooolllllll” cry after Everton score a goal.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  26. Mark says:

    Sounds like a case of be careful what you wish for. Come back Tommy Smyth. All is forgiven!

  27. Jeff says:

    I would take Tommy Smyth or Max Bretos over this guy any day. I was hoping the only reason this guy was doing the commentary for the United game was because it wasn’t the live game but to hear he was doing the llive games is just disappointing. I was excited to hear how FSC was going to cover the Champions League this year but after watching it this week I’m very disappointed in the production of the matches. This better improved or they will have ruined one of the greatest competitions on the planet.

  28. Hank says:

    Tim White was terrible, but the worst ever? Please. Need I remind you of ESPN/ABC’s world cup coverage over the years? Dave O’brien?! Tim White isn’t even in the same league

    On a more positive note, I think FSC has done a good job on the studio commentary. Bobby McMahon was great, as always, and I thought he and Warren Barton made a good team.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Hank, yes, Dave O’Brien was terrible. He was a joke and an embarrassment. So maybe Tim White isn’t the worse, but I would definitely say he is the worst English commentator I’ve ever heard.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  29. forweg says:

    I agree with Hank, Tim White has to be the second worst. O’brien actually talked politics during an entire match of the World Cup.

  30. TT says:

    Any clips of White on YouTube etc? or is he censored?

  31. 433 says:

    Tim White is even worse than some of the really, really poor American ESPN commentators (and Dellacamera is atrocious), because White will effectively lie about what happens on the pitch. It wasn’t until I read this post that I realized that the poor announcer for the Standard Liege-Arsenal match was the same guy who infuriated me so much in a previous season when he lied about Bacary Sagna conceding a penalty. The player had blatantly pulled Sagna down, and conned the referee, and watching the replays is was completely obvious, and Tim White kept going on about what an “ill-advised challenge” it was. There were several replays. It was obvious that the player had conned the referee. Anybody could tell it had been a successfully-worked piece of cheating. You could ask 100 people watching the replay, including the referee and the player himself, if he had conned the referee, and 99 would tell you he did, and the other one would be Tim White.

  32. Cantona says:

    agreed this guy was bad.. very bad.. that said i, could stomach him.. but i couldnt do it if it was Bretos… Its only matchday 1.. hopefully these kinks will get ironed out. Some of the feeds were not direct from UEFA.. some of them had a commentary team.. im assuming SkySports2 or 3 commentators being used. That said.. FOX should use the SKY feeds when its possible.. SKY uses the FOX NFL feeds… when they show games.. so I dont see why there should be a problem.. FOX has paid alot of money for the Champions League.. just a couple of more tweeks to get it right..

    Cantona

  33. Mark Fothergill says:

    UEFA should be ashamed of the output on the World Feed this week. From what I saw and heard, there wasnt ONE good commentary among them. Whites was terrible, but there were others equally bad, if not worse.

    Either UEFA pay Whites company a pittance, and all he can afford is these giys, or worse, UEFA pay him a lot, and hes pocketing as much as he can himself and spending as little as possible on the other commentators?

    Come on UEFA etc, just take the Sky commentary, at least then it sounds professional!!

  34. jk says:

    Many of the readers on here were begging FSC to use the international feed announcers and now many of you are getting your wish. Before I had cable (two seasons ago) I had a uefa.com subscription. It gave me online access to every game for $4 a month (just couldn’t watch anything live, had to wait till 5) I listened to these announcers. There was always only one British announcer who rarely commentated on the game just talked about random football facts, they never got excited or showed a shred of emotion and gave away scores to game you were going to watch next. At least on ESPN you can put your hand in the way of the ticker. I really hope FSC starts using their own announcers. Even if there terrible because I watch many games from the same day. So I currently have to watch the game on mute or at a low enough volume that I can’t make out what they are saying.

  35. Shashank says:

    Using UEFA Official feeds are cheaper I presume? Than the SKY feeds? I missed Tyler-Gray comms. during the Besiktas game. Tim White is just plain hopeless, does he even know football? He seems to be always reading some book on the clubs info, history and how Liverpoo and prem. lge champions? wtf??? Do something UEFA.!!!

  36. Mark Fotheringham says:

    Is there someone at UEFA we could email or contact to get them to intervene?

  37. Tanna says:

    Tim’s great

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