One of the often-overlooked reasons why the Premier League is the world’s most popular sports league is the expertise of the commentators. Whether it’s the commentators or co-commentators (aka color commentators), the men bring the Premier League to life in our living rooms and in pubs on a weekly basis.
But who are these men, and what are their backgrounds? Find out below in our guide to English soccer TV commentators and co-commentators. And where available, we’ve included videos and links so you can familiarize yourself with their voices and accents.
In alphabetical order
English commentator Steve Banyard used to always have the 12.30pm ET Saturday timeslot to commentate on a Premier League match alongside co-commentator Gary O’Reilly. While Banyard doesn’t still have the same automatic timeslot each week, he still can be heard commentating Premier League matches. While he’s not a household name, his voice will be familiar to many readers.
The English announcer often flies under the radar despite his weekly slot as one of the commentators of Premier League matches. While Beck does a credible job as a commentator, he doesn’t have a very memorable voice. At least, not yet.
Phil Blacker may be a somewhat familiar voice to the more well-trained ear of Premier League supporters who have heard his commentaries on IMG.
Bower began his soccer commentating in the early 90’s as a radio reporter for a Liverpool network. He started out doing Liverpool, Everton, and Tranmere Rovers games until moving to the Manchester United Network in 1998. After nine years with United’s network, Bower began commentating Premier League, FA Cup, and Europa League for Setanta Sports. Bower recently made the transition to the BBC to become one of the voices of Match of the Day. The former MUTV commentator has made appearances on NBCSN too, both as a commentator and presenter.
To me, Peter Brackley’s voice is best known as a commentator of FA Cup matches, particularly in the early rounds of the competition where league minnows try to upset the giants of English football. His voice is synonymous with classic English football commentary.
Champion’s classy and relaxed speaking style makes listening to the matches he works very comforting. While some casual American soccer fans may have just gotten their first listen of Champion during the 2014 World Cup, the York native has been doing Premier League, FA Cup, and League Cup commentating for ESPN UK since 2009.
Englishman Ian Crocker appears regularly as a commentator for Sky Sports and via the TWI/IMG world feed for Premier League matches aired around the world, as well as UEFA Champions League games on Sky Sports. His enthusiastic commentary style makes him stand out from the crowd of other English announcers.
Darke, one of the fan favorites in America, began working for ESPN in 2010. The Englishman also started commentating for BT Sport (sometimes simulcast on the NBC Sports Network) during the 2013-14 Premier League season. Darke’s smooth way with words and mellifluous voice make him one of the best announcers in any sport.