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 was 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 was synonymous with classic English football commentary.
Sadly, Peter died in October 2018. He will be missed greatly.
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.
JP is a veteran US soccer commentator, who has announced so many legendary USMNT games including the 1-0 victory by USA against Trinidad and Tobago that sent the US team to the 1990 World Cup, as well as the 1999 World Cup Final when the USWNT beat China on penalty kicks to become world champions. Nowadays, Dellacamera can be found on FOX Sports.
Since joining ITV in 1998, Drury has been seen as a respected and knowledgeable reporter. Drury has commentated on the UEFA Champions League as well as several FIFA World Cups.
Englishman Ross Dyer was a mainstay on the beIN SPORTS network where he was commentating Championship playoff finals, international friendlies, League Cup games and much more alongside co-commentator (and fellow Brit) Ian Joy. However, this season, he’s taken on a role with FOX Sports and ESPN. One of his responsibilities at FOX will be hosting FOX Soccer Plus’ MultiMatch 90 service for UEFA Champions League games.
Hawthorne’s name is synonymous with mid-week UEFA Champions League coverage. The ITV commentator can often be heard on US airwaves when FOX Sports uses the UK feed instead of the world feed.
While Johnson isn’t the most beloved soccer commentator around, no one can take away his enthusiasm in the booth. The Detroit native has spent the majority of his sports casting career working basketball and (American) football games, and is fairly popular in announcing these sports. Although he still does basketball and football games for FOX Sports, the network has tried its best to ease Johnson into the soccer world. With Johnson somewhat unsuccessfully working UEFA Champions League matches for the last 18 months (although working with Eric Wynalda doesn’t help), it was no surprise when he announced he was quitting as FOX’s lead commentator in September 2014 to focus on college football and college basketball instead. However, FOX Sports says he may return in a cameo role to announce more soccer games in the future.
Nowadays, Tony Jones is a frequent commentator on Premier League matches for IMG, which are heard on the international feed around the world. Jones has an easily recognizable voice, and can be found commentating plenty of other games including internationals. Based on the number of times we get to hear him, he’s got to be one of the hardest working men in the business.
Sports commentator Richard Kaufman can be heard announcing soccer matches when he isn’t too busy commentating on golf for various media outlets. Some readers may remember him from his days presenting and announcing on talkSport. Listen to his demo reel.
British soccer commentator Bill Leslie has been in the business for many years, working in radio before joining Sky Sports and Setanta. He also has experience commentating UEFA Champions League games as well as announcing Scotland games, even though he’s English!
The young English commentator was one of the surprise stars of the 2014 World Cup where he put in a stellar job announcing games for ESPN. Nowadays, he can be found commentating a Premier League game each weekend.
“Motty” is one of the most famous English commentators in the business. However, most soccer fans in the US haven’t had the opportunity to hear him. That’s because he now commentates for BBC’s Match of the Day program. Out of all of the commentaries he’s done for the BBC, one of his most famous ones was his call of the Hereford-Newcastle United FA Cup game from 1972 when Hereford knocked the Toon out of the tournament.
Mowbray is a staple of BBC’s Match of the Day program, where he lends his commentary to a different game each week. Mowbray has an easily recognizable voice.
Besides Martin Tyler, Jon Champion and Peter Drury, Alan Parry has one of the most recognizable voices in English soccer. The Liverpool-supporting soccer commentator can often be heard behind the mic, announcing some of the biggest Premier League games every Sunday.
Among some soccer fans, Jonathan Pearce is a cult hero. He’s a commentator that many soccer fans identify with — whether it’s in his early days as a radio commentator for Capitol Gold or BBC, or as a TV commentator on Channel 5 and BBC’s Match of the Day. His unmistakeable voice makes him an easy one to pick out from a soccer broadcast.
For those with trained ears, Proudfoot has an unmistakeable accent. As well as commentating games on television, he can often be heard on talkSport Radio.
Derek Rae is one of the most respected soccer commentators in the United States for his memorable UEFA Champions League commentaries he did for ESPN (when the “Worldwide leader in sports” had the rights to the UCL competition). Rae is a perfectionist in what he does. He proactively researches the correct pronunciations of player’s names, and always goes above and beyond to ensure that he delivers a quality broadcast.
For years, Mark was a familiar voice for viewers of Fox Soccer Channel where he would often provide voiceovers and lead-ins for many of the network’s biggest soccer games. But in recent years, Mark Rogondino has been used far more often in front of the TV camera as he commentates soccer games for FOX Sports. His area of specialization is women’s soccer games.
US commentator Phil Schoen has the distinction of commentating the first-ever MLS game on television. Nowadays, Schoen is the lead commentator for beIN SPORTS where he can be heard announcing La Liga and Serie A games alongside co-commentator Ray Hudson.
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