No competition in world soccer is as scrutinized and analyzed as fiercely as the English Premier League, with media attention and furore seemingly a prerequisite of every game.
The international appeal of the league is inevitably part of its charm, with the Premier League seeing sell-out crowds in every stadium and the world’s best players doing battle on a weekly basis.
Originally the English First Division, the advent of media and television money from Sky Sports in England, transitioned the top-flight into the Premier League that we all know and love today.
Excitement and unpredictability are perhaps the two USP’s of the English Premier League and for fans watching from the comfort of their own homes, having commentators on hand to make the action the most immersive experience possible, is vitally important.
Even prior to the introduction of live soccer on television, commentators have provided a huge role in bringing soccer to the fans, with radio soccer commentary having enjoyed its place within sporting society for well over a century.
Whilst not every fan enjoys having the action described and coloured for them as it unfolds, the role commentators play in the growth and popularity of soccer globally cannot be underestimated and the best commentators in the game are household names, all over the world.
Such is the appeal of the media sphere within world soccer, that many former players are opting to pursue careers in the world of soccer commentary/punditry once they hang up their boots – rather than transitioning into the managing and coaching industry.
Regardless of the playing background of the commentators, they do an invaluable job of providing insight and statistics to the game of soccer and few leagues worldwide enjoy the level of data analysis and facts that the English Premier League can offer its viewers.
In addition, the aforementioned global appeal of the English Premier League has led to the competition becoming one of the most popular sporting leagues on the planet, with media conglomerates in every nation clamoring for the rights to provide Premier League coverage to their subscribers.
Consequently, there are a plethora of sports broadcasters that provide English Premier League action, and the associated media and commentary teams are synonymous with each broadcaster and their output.
With the international media coverage of the English Premier League showing no sign of slowing, the number of commentators is continually expanding and here is a rundown of some of the most notorious and celebrated commentators on the English Premier League:
Few voices are as synonymous with the English Premier League as Martin Tyler, who has been the lead soccer commentator with Sky Sports since the competition began in 1992.
Over the subsequent 30 years, Tyler has become one of the most respected and valued voices within the game of soccer and his list of iconic commentary moments, cuts him above some of the competition.
Now aged 76, Tyler is very much in the twilight of his career, with his current workload now at one match per game week but he remains the main man in terms of English Premier League commentary in the UK and his input shows no sign of slowing.
From iconic pre-match utterances such as ‘and it’s live!’ Before every big game, through to instantly recognisable commentary lines such as ‘Balotelli….Agueroooooo’ when Manchester City won their first Premier League title in 2012, Tyler has very much been the voice of the Premier League in the UK and beyond.
With an incredible playing career under his belt, very few people felt that Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville would provide enough balance and neutrality to his commentary when he joined Sky Sports in 2011.
However, Neville has gone on to become one of the most trusted and influential voices within English soccer in the subsequent decade and he is rolled out for all of the biggest games by Sky Sports.
Refreshing honesty is one of Neville’s USP’s, with his opinion valued due to his decorated playing career and he isn’t afraid to pull any punches.
Whilst he has never tried to hide his affiliation for Manchester United, the relative demise of the club since he left has been something he has spoken out about on many occasions.
Another of the key innovations instigated by Neville, is the introduction of performance analysis to commentary with positional and tactical insight, bringing the viewing public closer to the game than ever before.
Balancing his media commitments with his entrepreneurial endeavors is another challenge Neville faces but he is a key player in the Sky Sports English Premier League output.
In a similar vein, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher was always expected to be far too partisan when he joined Sky Sports after hanging up his boots, but he has thrived in his role as commentator.
Mirroring his no nonsense playing style, with his no nonsense approach to commentary, Carragher is able to provide a fascinating insight for viewers and his unmistakable Liverpudlian accent is instantly recognisable for those watching at home.
Along with Gary Neville, the pair have forged an unlikely but watchable partnership and the two commentators are used for all of the biggest games Sky Sports have at their disposal.
With Liverpool currently operating in the upper echelons of European football, Carragher is able to provide a glimpse behind the fourth wall at Anfield and he continues to be a major player in the coverage of the English Premier League that Sky Sports offer their subscribers.
Former England, Arsenal and Everton striker Alan Smith has forged a hugely successful career for himself, since retiring from the game in the mid-1990’s.
His slight Birmingham lilt is reassuring for the fans viewing from their armchairs and his opinion is hugely valued by all in the game.
Originally forging a strong partnership with Martin Tyler, Smith has gone on to become one of the most notorious commentators within the English Premier League and his media commitments stretch all over the world.
In addition to his commentary for Sky Sports in the UK, Smith has also been a long time commentator on the FIFA soccer games and he continues to play a huge part in the coverage of the English Premier League globally.
In the mid 2010’s, BT Sport threatened to shape the landscape of the English Premier League in the UK, with the acquisition of television rights from Sky Sports.
The BT Sport revolution hasn’t perhaps taken hold as much in the Premier League as it has in the Champions League however, they remain a major player in the media coverage of the English Premier League for fans.
Defecting from the BBC, Darren Fletcher is now a household name within the English game and his forthright and insightful commentary is a huge part of the BT Sport offering.
Originally hailing from Nottingham and supporting his native Nottingham Forest, Fletcher has worked his way up the media ranks to become one of the most respected and valued commentators in the game and BT Sport continue to use him for all of their biggest English Premier League output.
Former Liverpool and Manchester City winger Steve McManaman is a regular on the BT Sport commentary team.
Another instantly recognisable voice, McManaman was a flair player during his career, a role he fulfills within the BT Sport commentary team too, with his insight and analysis standing up against some of the best in the game.
Despite his childhood allegiance to Liverpool, McManaman does a superb job at remaining neutral and balanced on commentary and having enjoyed a spell at Real Madrid as a player, he provides excellent Continental insight too.
With BT Sport continuing to develop and expand their English Premier League output, McManaman remains at the forefront of their offering moving forward.
Former Wales, Leicester City and Birmingham City midfielder Robbie Savage has forged a hugely successful media career for himself, since retiring from the game.
Hailing from Wrexham, North Wales, Savage is another pundit with instantly recognisable diction.
One of the USP’s for Savage is his ability to call upon a relatively recent playing career and as such, he has his finger on the pulse of the current happenings in the English Premier League.
Freelancing with BT Sport and the BBC, Savage is a household name within the game and his commentary and analysis continues to make him one of the most sought after pundits in the English Premier League.
Few players that step into the commentary box have enjoyed the level of success and notoriety Glenn Hoddle has, with the Tottenham and England legend holding court by virtue of his playing and managerial career alone.
Hoddle has transitioned into a key voice within the BT Sport operation, having originally only joined the conglomerate on a part-time basis but such is his popularity, that he is now a kye player in the BT Sport output.
Another factor in Hoddle’s remarkable story is his collapse whilst on air for BT Sport back in 2018, an incident that saw his life saved by a member of the production team and with Hoddle now valuing his life in the spotlight more than ever, his insightful and intelligent commentary is valued more than ever by those watching at home.
International Premier League Commentators
ESPN have taken over the mantle in the USA and beyond when it comes to international coverage of the English Premier League and John Champion is one of the commentators at the forefront of their output.
Having originally plied his trade in the UK with ITV and the now defunct Setanta Sports, Champion moved over to ESPN in 2007.
With his RP dialect, occasionally leaning towards his Yorkshire roots, Champion is adept at coloring the action for even the most inexperienced of soccer viewers.
Champion and ESPN have the rights to all of the English Premier League games, something not enjoyed by viewers in the UK due to the 3pm Saturday afternoon blackout, enabling Champion’s coverage to reach a wider audience in recent years and his commentary continues to be sought after the world over.
Few commentators have enjoyed such a global trawl as Ian Darke, who has worked for Sky Sports, ESPN, BT Sport, and Amazon Prime in his decorated career.
Originally plying his trade in the UK for the BBC and then Sky Sports, Darke was a household name on many boxing bouts, before transitioning full time into the soccer sphere.
Darke is currently employed by ESPN, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video to provide Premier League coverage, in England and internationally and his pen champs for the right phrase, at the right time has made him instantly recognisable with English Premier League soccer fans.
In addition to his work on the Premier League, Darke is also the lead commentator for the American national team (both male and female) and he continues to be entrusted with some of the biggest soccer games on the planet.
Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson has very much been a late bloomer on the English Premier League commentary scene.
Following his esteemed playing career, Robson initially pursued a managerial post, finding himself at Southend United – a move that didn’t work out and shaped his career there on.
Beginning his media career with the in-house coverage at Arsenal, Robson eventually relocated to America, where he picked up the mantle for ESPN’s Premier League output.
He has gone on to become one of the most recognisable voices within the game in the US and he was part of the commentary team at both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, in addition to his Premier League commitments.
As of 2021, Robson joined the EA Sports FIFA commentary team as his international public profile continues to grow.