A comprehensive guide to English soccer TV commentators and co-commentators

 

JOE SPEIGHT

Even though he’s a regular commentator for the Premier League matches each weekend on the international feed, Joe is less well known as other commentators. But as soon as you hear his voice, he sounds very familiar.

 

DAVID STOWELL

Stowell is a commentator at MUTV, Manchester United’s official TV channel, but he also commentates games for the Premier League and Champions League. The challenge is that his voice isn’t especially unique, so he’s a tougher one to pick out when hearing soccer commentaries (unless he’s on MUTV).

 

JOHN STRONG

Somewhat of an up-and-comer in the sports casting world, Strong started out working Portland Timbers games in 2010 for FSN Northwest. After becoming the Timbers play-by-play announcer, Strong officially moved to the NBC Sports Network in 2013 to be one of the lead commentators for both the MLS and Premier League matches. Strong also previously worked Europa League games for FOX Sports. The Oregon native is very well liked around the sport, and is viewed as one of the top American lead commentators. 

 

GARY TAPHOUSE

Taphouse is the type of English soccer commentator who has the quintessential English accent, delivers a consistently pleasing commentary and packs a lot of emotion in his voice whenever there’s something exciting to share. Taphouse is a Crystal Palace supporter. 

 

CLIVE TYLDESLEY

Tyldesley has been a regular commentator for ITV since 1998, following the retirement of Brian Moore, and has called 17 Champions League finals and nine FA Cup finals for the network. While he has his critics, Tyldesley has won the Royal Television Society Sports Commentator of the Year award four times since 1998. The Manchester United fan as a child provides solid match analysis while at the helm for ITV.

 

MARTIN TYLER

Also one of the most respected play-by-play men in the world, Tyler was voted as the Premier League Commentator of the Decade by fans in 2003. Arsenal fans will always remember Tyler’s call on Tony Adams’ goal in the north London team’s win over Everton in 1998. Tyler exclaimed, “and it’s Tony Adams put through by Steve Bould… would you believe it?!” The famous phrase was later put up on a wall at Emirates Stadium.

 

GARY WEAVER

Weaver is another TV soccer commentator who may be more well known from his radio work than behind the mic on TV. He commentated Manchester United games for Century FM, but now can be heard doing Premier League matches for the international feed each weekend.

 

ARLO WHITE

White, Ted Lasso’s “favorite lead commentator,” has been NBC Sports Network’s head play-by-play man for the Premier League since the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign. Prior to working Premier League matches for NBC, the Leicester native was the voice of the Seattle Sounders and called matches during the 2012 Olympic Games for the American network. White’s “golden, velvety, yummy” voice makes him one of the better commentators on television.

 

 

Co-Commentators:

 

CLIVE ALLEN

The former Tottenham Hotspur centre forward offers a no-nonsense style of commentating. The East End-born co-commentator has an unmistakable voice, with his gruff, East End (London) accent. The well-traveled professional has managed Tottenham (as a caretaker manager), as well as playing for numerous clubs during his playing career.

 

WARREN BARTON

The cheery Londoner co-commentates games for FOX Sports now and again when he isn’t doing his studio work. The former footballer used to play for Newcastle United, as he regularly reminds his audience. 

 

JIM BEGLIN

As a former Ireland and Liverpool player, Beglin’s voice may be familiar to most readers from the video game Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). Recently, Beglin has announcing games now and again for NBCSN to help fill in for Arlo White.

 

GARRY BIRTLES

The former Nottingham Forest footballer can be a bit dour to listen to at times, and can be boring. His unmistakable voice makes him stand out from the crowd, however. 

 

MARK BRIGHT

Out of all of the co-commentators, Mark Bright is one of the fastest talkers. The former Crystal Palace and Liverpool footballer has a one-of-a-kind voice among co-commentators, so he’s easily recognizable with his squeaky voice. Unfortunately he doesn’t appear as a co-commentator for Premier League games that often anymore. 

 

ALAN CURBISHLEY

The former Charlton manager can be seen and heard on Sky Sports News more often than as a co-commentator for Premier League matches, but Curbs does make an appearance now and again. He’s pleasurable to listen to, but don’t expect any thoroughly revealing insights. 

 

LEE DIXON

The former Arsenal right back can be heard on both ITV in England and NBC Sports in America (on Saturdays). The Telegraph newspaper recently gave the pundit an A- rating for his work on the World Cup and called Dixon “a man expected to be eclipsed by the starrier names surrounding him, and yet – on closer inspection – turning out to be better than any of them. (Dixon is) lucid, insightful and not afraid to offer assertive opinions.”

 

MARK DONALDSON

Donaldson has an unmistakable Scottish accent and keen eye for the game. Whether he’s commentating Bundesliga games for ESPN International or co-commentating World Cup or European Championship qualifiers, Donaldson is a pleasure to listen to. 

 

EFAN EKOKU

Currently a guest on Football Dynamics on Bloomberg Africa, Ekoku is a respected pundit and former player. Picked by ESPN to deliver coverage of the 2010 World Cup, Ekoku works with Premier League Productions and is able to give unique perspectives on games as a English-born Nigerian. 

 

TREVOR FRANCIS

The former English footballer, who has the distinction for being the first-ever million pound signing in England when he moved from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest, has the annoying habit of being too critical on players after they make mistakes (he should have headed it on target, he should have dribbled it past the keeper, etc). However, lately he’s been much improved and a lot easier to listen to.

 

BRAD FRIEDEL

The professional goalkeeper has started co-commentating Premier League matches for IMG during the 2013/14 season, and so far the American is doing adequately. He’s reserved and understated, but Friedel has a lot of wisdom to share particularly about goalkeeping and his experience in big game situations. Friedel will hopefully grow into the position in the near future.

 

TONY GALE

The former West Ham United footballer is another Englishman who does double duty for Sky Sports News (as a studio analyst) and for TWI/IMG as a Premier League co-commentator for the world feed. His London accent can be mistaken for Paul Walsh, but if you listen closely, you’ll be able to hear the differences after a while. 

 

ANDY GRAY

The former Everton and Scottish footballer used to be the number one co-commentator in the world for his expert analysis alongside Martin Tyler on games for Sky. However, after a series of scandals, Gray found himself at beIN SPORTS alongside presenter and friend Richard Keys. In the past two years, Gray has made a couple of co-commentary appearances for BT Sport, which were well received by the majority of fans.

 

DON GOODMAN

Journeyman striker Don Goodman, now retired from playing professionally, specializes in commentating Football League matches but can be found from time to time co-commentating Premier League matches for TWI/IMG’s world feed.

 

DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM

The former Premier League footballer is a keen observer of team tactics and formations, and is able to explain in a lot of detail the strategies that teams are employing on the pitch. Higginbotham is a more talkative co-commentator than average, so expect to hear a lot of insights and observations from the ex-pro.

 

ANDY HINCHCLIFFE

The former Manchester City, Everton and Sheffield Wednesday footballer is becoming more of a regular on Premier League co-commentaries each weekend. Hinchcliffe is a keen observer of tactics, nuances and where teams are weak or strong, and is able to clearly communicate these observations with the viewers. Hinchcliffe is one who is growing on me.

 

SHAKA HISLOP

Shaka brings a TNT (Trinidad and Tobago) flavor to his co-commentaries for soccer games on ESPN. The former West Ham United, Newcastle United and Portsmouth goalkeeper can be heard co-commentating European Championship qualifiers (among other games). In a world of English accents, Shaka’s Trinidadian accent is a breath of fresh air. 

 

BARRY HORNE

Just like Trevor Francis, Barry Horne can be annoying when he reactively criticizes players after they make mistakes (he should have aimed the ball at the other corner of the goal, he should have passed the ball to the other player, etc). Horne can often be found co-commentating games involving Everton or Swansea (and previously Cardiff, when they were in the top flight). But when teams are making fewer mistakes and playing well, Horne can be tolerable to listen to. 

 

RAY HOUGHTON

The former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland footballer has a distinct accent that makes it easy to recognize his voice. Houghton is your no-nonsense, old-school, straight talking co-commentator. 

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