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Top 10 Setanta UK Commentators and Presenters Looking For Work

setanta-sports-logoThe 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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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  1. May Kerr

    October 21, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    What a shame Jon Champion Craig Burley, were the best comentators now we have to listen to the Depressing Duo Curran and Macari what an excuse these two are for commentators please please bring back David Rae and Tommy Smythe at least they do not talk like Lou Macari and Curran in those horrible monotone voices they both have at least Craig and Champion new what they were talking about and did not bore you to tears. Get rid of the Depressing Duo they have to be the worst. From irrate football fans Canada

  2. Steffyboy

    July 6, 2009 at 5:02 am

    I just want to add that maybe Tommy Smyth for a while should be taken from the air immediately. He’s not even funny he’s just annoying. Even Jimmy Hill would be better than that.

    i will dearly miss setanta .

  3. Mark

    June 24, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Still waiting to hear which comments were anti-semitic. Calling Cohen a moron is a reflection on his intellect or lack thereof not his race or religion.

    • RaiderRich

      June 24, 2009 at 6:55 pm

      Just trying to give you a warning before you actually said something anti-semitic. You know with Cohen threads it comes with the territory.

      • Mark

        June 24, 2009 at 7:09 pm

        Thats odd. “and we can do without the anti-semitic comments, thank you” sounds more like an accusation than a warning for my own good. Just so you know, I’m not iin the habit of making anti-semitic comments on this forum or anywhere else

        • RaiderRich

          June 24, 2009 at 7:15 pm

          Good, keep it that way. Besides, I thought the discussion of that guy was supposed to be done and dusted around here by Gaffer’s orders.

          • Mark

            June 24, 2009 at 7:30 pm

            I have no intention of wasting any more time discussing that subject, but you really need to come off of your mightier than thou attitude.

  4. NotHappening

    June 24, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    raider Rich is one of these guys that’s clearly in the minority but thinks for some reason that his opinions should shut everybody up and they go with him and his ideas.

    Sorry, bud. I’m born and raised in Illinois, chose to follow the sport of football like nothing else and don’t care to have your ESPN style of coverage shoved on me. You say you speak for the general fan in America, but I tend to think of myself as one. And here I sit, with something blocking the ESPN scroll at the bottom, with music playing while the game commentary is on mute, and with brew in hand as I watch US v. Spain.

    Does the US not consider me? Do they want stragglers to watch football that thought maybe poker was on and they turned to the wrong channel? Sorry man, I’m from the US, live here, always have, and think of myself as a common US viewer. Is ESPN interested in me or do they focus on non-fans to randomly decide to watch their coverage?

    To be honest, I know all these answers, just want to see your lame-brain response.

    • RaiderRich

      June 24, 2009 at 6:34 pm

      Shorter Not Happening:
      “I can’t actually argue, so I’m going to just resort to personal attacks.”

      And no, if you only follow one sport, you’re not a typical sports fan in America. Most people follow more than one sport and they’re not any less of a fan for doing so, like you seem to be implying about people who do not exclusively follow *your* sport. So ruin your TV with black tape if you want, the ticker is a fact of life. Get used to it and stop acting like a Star Trek fan who whines about the “canonicity” of every damn episode.

      And if all you watch is soccer, you are *not* the typical sports fan in the U.S. The ratings do not lie. Soccer is still a niche sport here, and if you’d quit hanging around your soccer friends and meet some people from other walks of life you’d realize that. Most of my friends are *not* soccer fans and I take loads of abuse for watching it.

    • RaiderRich

      June 24, 2009 at 6:53 pm

      Furthermore, why do you and every other soccer fan that inhabits this forum seem to think we have to give up other American sports just to watch soccer. I like American football. I like basketball, I like baseball, and I like soccer. I like them all equally. They each have their strong points and weakness. And none of you have the right to be fascist about it and tell me what I can and can’t watch.

  5. Mark

    June 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Maybe FOX could hire Rebecca Lowe to take the moron Cohen’s place on their phone in show. Then they would actually have someone who knows something about the game. Or Satanta could buy Cohen for what he’s really worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth. That should net enough for them to pay off all their bills.

    • RaiderRich

      June 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm

      Don’t push your luck. FSC doesn’t spend much on talent and production.

      And we can do without the anti-semitic comments, thank you

      • Mark

        June 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm

        Anti-semitic comments?

  6. Simon Burke

    June 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    As states above Gray wins by a country mile. Tommy Smyth is pretty embarrassing; if novice fans turn to him well thats good thats I suppose but I know several hardcore American fans who see straight through him.

    Gray lives in England and lets be honest, what soccer does ESPN currently have for Gray to commentate on? Right now he has lots of it in England where he works and is probably very highly paid.

  7. Jerry

    June 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    What the hell is wrong with you?

    You are entitled to an opinion and we are entitled to disagree. Disageeing with you doesn’t mean you lose your right to an opinion.

    • RaiderRich

      June 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm

      Because you’re personally attacking a good and decent man, who’s done a hell of a lot more for soccer in this country than you ever will, simply because he doesn’t fit your elitist paradigm of what a soccer color man should be.

  8. RaiderRich

    June 24, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Just goes to show that in Mike and Jerry’s view, born and bred Americans aren’t allowed to have an opinion on soccer.

    • AtlantaPompey

      June 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm

      Bullsqueeze. Nobody has said that. While there are people who might believe it, it’s not being pushed here. It’s wrong anyway. I don’t need someone else’s permission to have an opinion.

  9. Jerry

    June 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    12 RaiderRich June 24, 2009 at 10:51 am
    Is Andy Gray still working for ESPN? No. If he were part of the reason for Euro ‘08 being the highest rated ever he would still be with the network.

    Why? Perhaps he prefers working for Sky and living in the UK?

    Your assumption that anyone good enough will automatically choose to work for ESPN is laughable. It’s like saying a player that is loaned out to another club and then chooses to return to the original club, wasn’t good enough to play for the loan club. Ridiculous.

    Tommy Smyth and his onion bags are an embarrassment. I don’t particularly like Andy Gray either, but he’s preferable to Smyth by a country mile.

  10. SSReporters

    June 24, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Ian Crocker is highly qualified?

    I do hope that Sky or BBC snap up Champion. He deserves to be lead commentator for any network at the moment.

    • Mike

      June 24, 2009 at 1:35 pm

      Jon Champion already commentates for ITV and has done for several years. He used to commentate for the BBC on Match of the Day at the start in the 90’s and start of the decade.

  11. Dave G

    June 24, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Tommy smith is not European…he’s Irish

  12. NotHappening

    June 24, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Someone saying Smyth is terrible does not make them a Eurosnob, especially considering that, um, Smyth is European. It’s been pointed out numerous times that ESPN should not try to change what works in nearly ALL other forms of football coverage. They do this with just about any sport they get their hands on and end up turning away core viewers.

    I believe the coverage of Euro 2008 was the best ESPN had done with the sport, especially after the poor showing in 2006 and ratings were good for the Euro tournament in ’08. How would that say that Andy Gray can’t communicate to an “American” audience?

    What’s funny to me is the thinking that American fans will only watch if there are sideline reports about food vendors, in-game special reports about every other sport except football, a non-stop scrolling ticker distraction at the bottom of the screen reporting the same news over and over again, and announcers who have little world game experience.

    Wouldn’t fans be drawn to the best coverage possible?

    • RaiderRich

      June 24, 2009 at 10:51 am

      Is Andy Gray still working for ESPN? No. If he were part of the reason for Euro ’08 being the highest rated ever he would still be with the network. And frankly the reason Euro ’08 was so highly rated was because of the high level of soccer skill displayed, not the announce team.

      Yes fans would be drawn to the best coverage possible, but you’re again making the assumption that what qualifies as “best coverage” in the U.K. makes for “best coverage” in the U.S. We need announcers that communicate to fans and non-fans alike. Tommy does that very well, and hooks them in with his sense of humor.

    • AtlantaPompey

      June 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm

      ESPN’s coverage of Euro 2008 was the best they have done, but they have taken a step back with the Confederations Cup. Having the announcers in Connecticut instead of South Africa means that they don’t really know all that is going on. Several times during the match, I’ve spotted things, such as a card being given, or a throw-in indicated to a certain team, that they didn’t catch yet blabbered on about until play restarted. Their studio coverage is terrible as well. Will somebody please tell America that Alexi Lalas is a fool?

      I don’t want to know what’s being served at the concession stand, even if Erin Andrews (WOW!!) is the one showing us. I don’t need score updates from baseball, basketball, etc. I can’t stand that stupid scrolling ticker at the bottom telling us useless information over and over again. Please leave that to ESPNEWS. I can’t stand announcers who just barely are familiar with the game, but spend more time talking about their non-existent professional career than what’s happening on the pitch. (I’m talking to you John Harkes!)

      I want my football present to me in the way that Sky and Setanta present it. Talk to me like I know what’s going on. Leave the scores and highlights for halftime or postmatch. I don’t care what anyone is eating. Is that really too much to ask?

  13. Fergus Sira-Lexon

    June 24, 2009 at 9:51 am

    “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. ”

    Chris has been a regular summariser on BBC Radio Five Live for about 5 years now.

    • The Gaffer

      June 24, 2009 at 10:12 am

      Good catch. Thanks Fergus. Unfortunately those of us outside the United Kingdom are blocked from listening to BBC Radio Five Live commentaries so we don’t get a chance to listen to Waddle, Motson, Ingham, Green and co.

      The Gaffer

  14. thedoc

    June 24, 2009 at 8:32 am

    @strachans wig: i think you missunderstod me, i was poking fun at ESPN’s current announcers. they are the worst. Tommy Smyth is a f-ing disgrace

    • RaiderRich

      June 24, 2009 at 8:52 am


      Tommy Smyth at least makes the game watchable for non-soccer fans, and that’s the type of announcer we need for this country. They tried Andy Gray during the Euros and promptly sent him back to Scotland when it was done, because he can’t communicate to an American audience that might not be well-versed in the sport.

      What works in the U.K. does not work in the U.S. when it comes to television coverage. You’ve got to think about the larger U.S. audience and not just what your small community of ex-pats want. You should want more people to watch soccer, not less, because soccer in this country is still a niche market.

      • Mike

        June 24, 2009 at 10:36 am

        RaiderRich. You talk utter rubbish. How can you say that Tommy Smyth makes the game watchable? First of all, the game should speak for itself, but I’ll take your point about novice american fans. Tommy Smyth does nothing but harm ESPN’s coverage of football. His comments and knowledge of the game is awful.

        Andy Gray is a repected commentator on Sky Sports in the UK. He was also a respected and well known player in the 70’s and 80’s. He was brought in by ESPN last year for the Euro 08 tournament. He made Tommy Smyth sound stupid by providing insightful comments that related to the games unlike Mr Smyth. Andy did a very good job and was not sent back to Scotland as you incorrectly say. The tournament was over and he went back to Sky where is contracted. So get your facts straight.

        If Tommy Smyth was knowledgable about the game of football, then he wouldn’t get peoples backs up. The fact is he is not what the US audience needs. So your point is nonsense.

        • RaiderRich

          June 24, 2009 at 11:01 am

          If Andy Gray was that good, ESPN would have tried to pry him away from Sky Sports.

          Again, you’re looking at this as an insider of a very insular community. Think about the bigger picture. The game does *not* sell itself here and not everyone who tunes in is necessarily interested in watching the game.

          • Mike

            June 24, 2009 at 1:28 pm


            Why would Andy Gray leave Sky Sports where he commnetates on ther premier league and champions league? He also lives in the UK. It’s not a question of him leaving to uproot and move to the states. ESPN has very little football anyway. The World cup every four years.

            I’m not looking at it from an insular community at all. I just think you have no understanding of the subject as evidenced by your previous comments.

  15. RaiderRich

    June 24, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Hell, I’d like to see Rebecca Lowe on ESPN doing sidelines for every sport they cover.

    • Mark

      June 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

      Agreed. Rebecca Lowe is certainly a step up from any of ESPN’s sideline fluffs. She knows football and is not too terribly hard on the eyes as well.

  16. strachans wig

    June 24, 2009 at 7:52 am

    what do you mean poor excuse for a commentator,,like john hartson and jim duffy,,good riddance…keep rob maclean and ian crockr,, they are top class and so is jim proudfoot

  17. thedoc

    June 24, 2009 at 7:40 am

    i could only hope that both ESPN and FSC scour up this talent and replace their poor excuse for commentators.

    • Tito Santana

      June 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm


  18. Jose

    June 24, 2009 at 6:42 am

    What about The Special 1?

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