In Martin Tyler’s opinion, his greatest piece of commentary to date was his description of Sergio Aguero’s last gasp title winner for Manchester City at the end of the 2011-2012 season...
However, Martin Tyler is a man that prefers to look forward rather than back. His focus always being on the next game and what it has in store.
Mercurial Sports looks back on its conversation with Martin, a fascinating individual, with a wide knowledge of football and the speed of thought to create lines during commentary, that not only capture the essence of what we are viewing but almost provides the perfect frame for it!
His other personal favourite, when pushed on his greatest commentary moments, is the first Liverpool/Newcastle 4-3 encounter from 1996. ‘A pleasure to be there’ is the way he sums it up.
Martin never took the traditional route into football commentary and learned TV from ‘the bottom upwards’. He wanted to be a footballer himself and ended up playing non-league. It was a friend of his then-girlfriend that introduced him to some people in journalism, starting him on his path to being Sky Sports premiere commentator.
Initially, Martin worked for ITV as part of the production staff but soon realised that his deep analysis and passion for the game meant he had a lot to contribute.
‘I grew up with commentators who talked little but said a lot. It takes a long time to find yourself as a commentator’. He added further insight on the fine balance a commentator has to make, often the difference between a good one and a bad one in my opinion….
‘You have to try not to offend people which is very easy to do. You’re there to give information that needs to be accurate. It’s about the players, then the vision. The actual words come way down the pecking order. As a commentator on TV, you need to be aware of what people can see!’
A long stint at ITV, where he was understudy to the late but fantastic Brian Moore, is where he learnt his trade. Another one of his standout moments came while still working there.
During the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Moore had done such an excellent job as the channels Studio anchor, that after England’s elimination, the executives decided to keep him there. The result being Martin got to commentate on the World Cup Final between Germany and winners Italy. In more ways than one, Brian Moore was an excellent help in his career.
Now the top man at Sky, Martin cannot speak more highly of the professionalism and detail that goes into the channel's coverage of football.
‘Sky’s coverage just gets better and better’ he says sounding like the promotional voiceover. ‘Nothing stands still. The boffins at Sky are always looking for more. There’s no complacency at Sky’.
The gamble he took in 1992 has paid massive dividends. He remembers the reply given to him by his agent, John Hockley, when the then BskyB offer, first landed on the table. Martin told him, no one will be watching. The response that ‘maybe no one from the public will be watching, but everyone one in football will be’ struck a chord with Martin. They were watching….and we still are!