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Best Soccer Podcasts Cry for Return of Glendenning and Balague


The growing number of soccer podcasts is beginning to take its toll on listeners worldwide. Many of us, myself included, are starting to get burnt out by hearing too many soccer podcasts each week. But now with new shows cropping up and more to choose from, soccer fans are beginning to scale back, make tough decisions and subscribe to the ones that matter most.

Here’s the list of my top five soccer podcasts that I listen to:

Football Weekly by The Guardian

The Game by The Times

The Beautiful Game

Soccer Shout by Phil and Tony

Divers and Cheats by Peter Brown and Graham Bell

While Football Weekly has moved from second place to first, I must admit that the show hasn’t been as strong as it has been of late and definitely nowhere near the passion and hysterics that it achieved in its former life as the World Cup Podcast last summer. The number one improvement the show must make is to give Barry Glendenning (pictured above right) more airtime. While everyone is quick to admire him because of his comedic factor, many people overlook the other characteristics that make Glendenning so endearing: his sharp wit, and his talent to ferret out the unique stories that others often overlook.

If anything, The Guardian needs to wake up and give Glendenning his own show whereby we can experience the full extent of Bazza’s talents.

Just like Football Weekly, The Game Podcast suffers from a similar fault. Wherefore art thou Guillem Balague? What put The Game Podcast on the map and instantly made it my favorite was the refreshing and intelligent debate between Balague and Gabriele Marcotti. Balague hasn’t been on the show in weeks, and unfortunately it now looks likely that he’ll be returning anytime soon.

While Marcotti continues to be brilliant and offers insightful comments, Balague has left a huge gaping hole in the show. Alyson Rudd, despite her cheerfulness and admirable knowledge of the game, is being relegated to the entertainment part of the show by singing her favorite football songs (no matter how much I love them). Bill Edgar’s stats, unfortunately, are becoming less interesting. Great concept, but we need more insight a la The Guardian’s excellent Knowledge section. And Danny Kelly, despite the fact that there are many football fans out there who don’t rate him, is doing a fine job as host by keeping the energy level and excitement up.

I thought for a while that the different weekly guests on The Game Podcast could substitute nicely for Balague’s absence, but it’s been many weeks since the show has had a guest of real quality on who could add intelligent insight or discuss interesting topics.

While subscribers to The Game Podcast and Football Weekly are quite loyal and passionate about their shows, I feel there’s a big opportunity out there for another organization to step in and, with the right guests, climb up the charts.

Based on their forthright manner, perhaps its time for Ireland’s RTE channel to produce a quality podcast with excerpts from their football analysts that appear on TV? Their candor will be refreshing for football fans worldwide to hear.

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to EPL Talk yet, subscribe to the EPL Talk Podcast via iTunes. As the only Premiership soccer interview show on the Internet, each week we interview some of the biggest names in football in a format that mixes a deep and intelligent chat about the world’s most popular sports league with news, competitions and more.

Previous guests have included Kevin McCarra, Alan Mullery, Ronnie Whelan, Henry Winter, Gabriele Marcotti, Patrick Barclay, Jeff Winter, Simon Kuper and many more. Listen to the interviews here.

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  1. Brent Atema

    January 20, 2009 at 11:51 am

    My top soccer podcasts (I live in the U.S.):
    1. World Soccer Daily
    2. 5 live's World Football Phone-in (part of BBC Radio 5 Live's Up All Night)
    3. ESPNsoccernet podcast
    4. Football Weekly (from the Guardian)

  2. Mark

    April 4, 2007 at 4:22 am

    Great article, I agree entirely. The Game started off a bit ropey, but I think the format is good, allows space for arguments/debates and hopefully Balague will be back soon to challenge Marcotti. As for the Guardian, I think it is a good podcast, but could do with a shake up, more Barry, less poetry, a bit longer time. I think we’re lucky enough with football podcasts with my top 4 (couldn’t think of 5, sorry) being:
    1) Football Weekly
    2) The Game
    3) Okey Doke Football
    4) The Beautiful Game

  3. Anonymous

    April 3, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Barry is an arrogant moron. Please do not talk him up to be something he isn’t. If you find someone who insults all and sundry as funny, then you obviously have issues.

  4. The Scout

    March 22, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    My # 1 fav is the Beeb’s 606 podcast. I love hearing the passion of the supporters coming from the games and once in a while there’s even a taste of some of the sing-songs.

    I do also like both The Game and Football Weekly but I always find them somehow a little too sedate at times. One criticism of The Guardian podcast is that it uses too many gimmicky clips when introducing Sid Lowe, etc.

  5. Anonymous

    March 21, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    Inside Soccer? Are you serious?


  6. Anonymous

    March 21, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    I agree on the Game. I really miss Guillem Balague. He always had the inside scoop and rare insight so refreshing. I wish we had access to Revista La Liga on Sky Sports here in the States.

    I also really miss Barry Glendenning on Football Weekly. James is great, but Barry adds so much fun and wit to the show.

    What about Inside Soccer. I don’t see it on your list of top podcasts or Footy audios?


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