Top 10 Best Football Commentators of All Time

Top 10 Best Football Commentators of All Time
Credit: Iconsport

Watching a football match from the stadium among thousands of others is what all football fans dream of. But we never get to watch every game we love directly. Most of us only have the chance to sit in front of the TV and gather around at a large public screen. Or the majority of fans today choose to watch football live on streaming websites.

Football commentators enliven every moment of the action

But have you ever imagined what it feels or sounds like not to have a professional commentator cover these matches? Without being at the stadium and at the same time lacking the pleasure of listening to celebrated football commentators, half of the fantastic vibe would be gone! Let’s check out the top 10 best commentators that bring joy to every match we saw.

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10 best football commentators of all time

1. Peter Drury

Peter Drury is an English commentator of his generation known for his authentic and poetic way with words. Drury’s rise to stardom in the football world has echoed well around the world. His normative use of phrases to depict peak momentums in a football is by far the best way to breathe life into a game loved by millions. Peter Drury always creates the right emotions for every moment.

One of the most famous lines by Drury goes like this:

Roma have risen from their ruins. Manolas the Greek god in Rome. The unthinkable unfolds before our eyes. This was not meant to happen. This could not happen. This is happening. Barcelona! Extraordinary! Eight minutes from elimination. Di Francesco does not know where to go. Iniesta does not know where to look. It is a Greek from Mount Olympus who has come to the seven hills of Rome and pulled off a miracle.”

2. John Motson

The legendary commentator John Motson has commentated on more than 2000 football matches since he began his career in 1971. It is a record that remains unbroken to date. Motson’s mastery of the game is unquestionable and so is his vast experience in understanding all aspects of the game.

His way with football status and commenting in every FA Cup final, except in 1994 and 195 until his retirement in 2008, evokes beautiful memories of a competition that has gained prominence over the years. Motson has featured in several commercials and most notably, returned from returned in 2017 to take up an assignment at Talk Sport.

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3. Brian Moore

John Moore is a top English commentator credited with birthing the art of football commenting. The remarkable career of Brian Moore spanned 9 FIFA World Cups and at least 20 Championship Cups. When the Three Lions of England won the FIFA World Cup in 1966 in Wembley, Brian Moore was the man behind the microphone. It epitomized the career of a man who loved the beautiful game and his country.

His flawless description of every moment during an illustrious career with BBC and ITV became an inspiration to today’s football commentary and analysis.

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4. Martin Tyler

Martin Tyler is not only a highly celebrated football commentator but arguably the most recognized in English football. Tyler’s great career has seen him work for Sky Sports, Premier League Sports Predictions and Fox Australia.

Perhaps the most memorable moment in his commentating career is when Man City won the Premier League in 2011/12 through Aguero’s sensational strike. Martin Tyler’s words which went as follows remain etched in the memory of Premier League fans:

Tyler’s style of commentating is unmatched and will always goosebumps while keeping you on the edge of your seat.  Together with Alan Smith, Andy Grey and Clive Tyldesley, he also gave his voice to the EA FIFA football game.

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5. Barry Davies

Without Barry Davies, a list reviewing top football commentators of all time will be incomplete. He is one of the most decorated football commentators of all time.

From having the privilege of covering a whole lot of the greatest goals of all time such as Maradona's famous strike against England in 1986 to Eric Cantona's FA Cup decisive score in 1996, and so many in between Barry Davies' commentating style was so interesting, using the “less is more” tactics to encourage the audience to enjoy the game in comfort. You can catch up on him easily no matter what the match speed was.

He is a legendary commentating line by Barry Davies:

” And Leeds will go mad! And they’ve every right to go mad!” – about Geoff Astle’s debatable goal against Leeds Utd in 1971“Lee… interesting… very interesting! Look at his face! Just look at his face!” – about Francis Lee's celebration after scoring against his old club Man City in 1974.“You have to say that’s magnificent” – after Diego Maradona's stunning solo goal against England in the 1986 World Cup.

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6. Clive Tyldesley

Tyldesley has covered several Champions League games, which include at least seventeen finals, as well as important FA Cup matches quite a lot.

He has also been part of the FIFA videogame series of EA Sports for a long time. Moreover, Tyldesley has received several awards for his microphone shows, including 4 times winner of the Royal Television Society Sports Commentator of the Year award. He took the Brian Moore position at ITV after his retirement as the senior commentator in 1998 until 2020. Daily Mail reports that Clive Tyldesley could step down from his current role at Talk Sport due to discomfort with promoting gambling companies.

7. Alan Smith

Another former professional footballer continues to stick with the football world in the commentary room. Alan Smith was a talented player that played for Arsenal and Leicester City. He also capped for the England national football team a few times.

As a former pro player and commentator that regularly worked for SkySport, he has shown his knowledge at a very high level in comparison to his peers. His style of narrating is quite a bit less dramatic, he likes to narrate situations as they unfold, without any exaggerating or dramatic tone. 

I bet many of the FIFA football video game players would know him already as he was Martin Tyler’s partner that covers many versions of the game. He became a commentator in 2011 but his involvement with EASSPORTSFIFA ended with the release of FIFA21.

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8. Jim Beglin

Jim Beglin was a well-known footballer for Liverpool FC, Leed Utd and other clubs. He is one of very few Premier League commentators that played football professionally by himself.

He is known for his great ability to read the game, as well as technical analysis. Still, he never really is the main commentator and mainly works alongside Peter Drury (sometimes with Martin Tyler), which makes them a highly appreciated duo until now.

He is also praised for his professional style of work since he is unbiased when it comes to talking about his former teams. Jim Beglin has had the honour to cover Premier League, UEFA Champions League and 2 World Cup tournaments in his career.

9. Jon Champion

One of the most reputed Premier League commentators in the world, Jon Champion will surely be missed by a lot of fans since he moved to the US in the 2019-2020 season. He has broad experience throughout his halved career, working his time with BBC Sport, ITV Sport, Setalanta and ESPN.

He also has had the honour to cover the 2006 and 2018 FIFA World Cups, the 2010 FIFA World Cup for ITV and the 2014 FIFA World Cup for ESPN. He also gave his voice to the commentary segment of many versions of the Pro Evolution Soccer football game. He is currently employed by ESPN in the USA as the lead association football commentator.

10. Andy Gray

A notorious commentator who covered every game with a fair attitude and informative approach. His techniques of describing the game were so simplified that those who didn't know much about football could catch up. His opinions are respected by millions of fans all over the world.

Andy Gray was also Clive Tyldesley's commentary partner in the EA Sports FIFA football game series until 2012 when he gave his place to Alan Smith. After a brief stint at beIN sports in 2013, Andy joined BT Sport in 2014 but not much was to come from him thereof.

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That’s pretty much it about the best football commentators of all time. Keep in mind that this list of best football commentators of all time is not ranking to determine who is the best. It’s more like a celebration, to show our respect for those who breathe excitement into every game we can’t watch directly. Cheers.

This article was most recently revised and updated 11 months ago

Okello Steve is a sports enthusiast and a professional writer with an education background in communication and journalism. For over ten years, Okello has been writing for the web, helping startups and new businesses craft engaging sports and casino content on various topics. As a passionate football lover and a supporter of Manchester United , Okello spends his time watching football with friends when he is not writing or into some adventure as a travel hobbyist.