Martin Tyler has been the singing in the shower to keep the voice of television football in good working order through the lockdown. This has been his longest spell without describing goals and penalty area drama in a 45-year career behind the microphone, and he has turned to hits from the 1960s to make up for no ‘Aguerrrro’ moments.
The Sky Sports commentator is back on Wednesday evening with the Manchester City v Arsenal match. That will be swiftly followed by Spurs v Manchester United and Everton v Liverpool next weekend.
He promises there will be no crooning once the action starts.
“When you can’t commentate, you’ve still got to use your voice,” Tyler told Express Sport. “I was given advice years ago — don’t be shy of singing.
“Sing in the shower. Sing in the car. Sing along with the radio. One of my favourites is ‘Bringing On Back The Good Times’ by the Love Affair, from the late 60s.
“It came on the radio the other day and I thought, ‘Hopefully, that’s what we are going to do’. I won’t sing it at the game, but maybe in the car going home.
“It’s a way of making sure you can get excitement into your voice when it’s needed during a game. You can’t take it for granted. As a broadcaster it’s your most important tool.
“I give it a go with gusto, and the neighbours haven’t complained yet! I love all the old music from the pirate radio stations, and you can get them now, even the most obscure song you can remember from your youth.”
Tyler’s first match commentary was in December 1974. He had seen it all in football — until now. As for most people, the lockdown has been an endurance test, but he has enjoyed creating fiendish football quizzes for Sky.
He is delighted the Premier League is back, of course, and says: “I have spoken to a few players and they are bursting to go. I think the intensity of the games will lack for nothing even with empty stadiums.
“I think it’s significant — but we always have to remind ourselves there is a bigger picture as well.
“The tone will be important for the commentary. For football fans it is a big step towards normality. They’d love to be there, and we’d love them to be there, but that’s not possible at the moment.
“We don’t know how it will shape out, but we want to put a smile back on the face of football fans. I think this symbolises progress.”
There will be no-one better to put events into context. Tyler commentated on the match when Liverpool last won the title 30 years ago. He hopes to be there when Jurgen Klopp’s team complete their triumph.
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“I’m not keen on comparisons between teams and eras,” says Tyler. “I think you should be judged in the moment. They are undoubtedly the best team this season and deserve to become champions.
“Nobody disputes that, and I am glad they are going to get the opportunity to do that without an asterisk.
“I did the commentary the last time Liverpool won it; they beat QPR.
“There are some ridiculous interviews from that day on YouTube where I’m asking Kenny Dalglish about when he starts thinking about the next title because Liverpool are such serial winners.
“In my first 15 years as a commentator Liverpool won the league more often than not. If I’m there when it happens again now it will be an amazing span.”
Tyler is 74 now, but as enthusiastic as ever. He is also a working football man, the assistant coach at Woking of the National League.
What are the biggest changes in the game?
His instant answer is to pick out the modern manicured pitches, a stark contrast to the mud-heaps common in the 1970s. Technology in TV coverage is another, with more innovations coming for this re-start.
“At Sky we are offering one channel with crowd noise, worked out in association with EA Sports FIFA,” he explains.
“The crowd effects are very good. I watched the German football a lot, and when it came with crowd effects, even though you knew it was false, I still enjoyed watching the game more.
“Technology moves on and football has embraced it, but my job is still the same.
“I identify the players, add a bit of information when it’s relevant, and try to interpret the game. That has never changed.
“The one piece of technology I will be holding at the game next Wednesday will be the same — a lip mike. That was made before I started commentating, and it has stood the test of time.
“I will be really glad to see the microphone. I’ve missed it — for what it represents; it’s the longest break I’ve had from commentating in 45 years. It’s so good to have football back.”
The Premier League returns to Sky Sports with a double-header on 17 June, followed by a further 20 matches which will see all 20 teams live on Sky Sports and NOW TV in the opening two weeks.
Sky Sports and NOW TV will show 64 matches – 39 exclusive to subscribers and an extra 25 available on Sky’s free-to-air channel ‘Pick’
Published at Sat, 13 Jun 2020 21:30:00 +0000