ITV Sport, lost goals and Clive Tyldesley

I don’t own an HD TV, and when ITV Sport pull another missing-a-goal-through-cramming-in-an-extra-advert masterpiece purely for the benefit of their High Definition viewers, I have little reason to muster any envy for those who do.

I can’t say I’m a fan of ITV Sport. They appear to have an unhappy knack of making any sporting event, no matter how prestigious, somehow seem cheap and just a little bit, well, crap really. And so it proved once again for the World Cup group match between England and the USA, with HD viewers missing Steven Gerrard’s early false dawn for England while ITV broadcast an advert instead.

No doubt it was an honest mistake, but it started me thinking that perhaps HD viewers were the lucky ones – they had an extra couple of minutes without that most grating of living room intrusions: the condescending, skull-drilling squeal of a commentary delivered by ITV’s rambling, hysterical super-irritant, Clive Tyldesley. Tyldesley just about sums up ITV Sport for me: overly portentous, lacking subtlety and obsessed with Manchester United. He tries too hard to make a name and carve a niche for himself, and instead he ends up as the amateurish embarrassment one has to accommodate in order to watch a football match.

And it’s not as if ITV have only recently become rubbish either. Everton fans will tell you that ITV Sport have previous when it comes to missing goals, but long before that we’ve cringed our way through Elton Welsby and The Big Match, (the at times truly bizarre) World Of Sport and – unforgettably – Saint chortling away at Greavsie’s latest ‘witty’ Italia ’90 t-shirts (example: “Gullit’s Bullets vs Voller’s Volleys – Rudi will rule Ruud”).

Even their F1 coverage, which was often recognised as being innovative and surprisingly in-depth, was in no way lamented when the broadcast rights transferred to the BBC in 2009. In fact, quite the reverse. The BBC kept the bits that ITV did well (Martin Brundle and Ted Kravitz), lost all the stuff they did badly (commercial breaks during the crucial closing stages of races, being suckered into covering team sponsor’s promotional events as filler in the race build-up, Jim Rosenthal) and brought back Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’ as the theme tune. There was only ever going to be one winner.

And so it will be with ITV’s World Cup coverage. They try to compete (periodically poaching BBC anchormen – think Lynam, Ryder and now Chiles) but most armchair fans will always prefer the BBC’s more unobtrusive approach to match coverage, as will be clearly demonstrated when both broadcasters go head-to-head on the Final. (The BBC tend to win these ratings battles by a margin of four to one.)

I must, of course, give ITV Sport credit for one thing at least – the late Brian Moore’s now legendary commentary of Arsenal’s last gasp title win at Anfield in 1989. Enjoy the 21 year old clip, and try not to think of the almost total absence of anything comparable from ITV Sport in the two decades since.



  1. Yeah, imagine if they’d cut to a bloody commercial during that?!

    “Thomas charging through the midfield… we buy any care dot com, we buy any car dot com… Dalglish just stands there.

    I find it somewhat ironic that the only sport that ITV cover well is the one they have decided to almost completely stop showing: Boxing. Also watch how much better, and happier, Jim Rosenthal is when presenting a sport he actually gives a toss about. Of course though, he is Count Count, “Ha ha ha… Round three… ha ha ha”.

  2. I on the other hand would rather watch those annoying Pot Noodle adverts than the ’66 World Cup Final… again… and again… and again… 😛

  3. oh dear clive the mouth why did you assassinate poor robert green after his mistake,isnt it better to get this out of the way now rather than later on in the tournament,cmon be positive

  4. The coverage last night seemed to be littered with super slow motion replays of shirts being pulled, somebody sliding on the ground etc., seemingly so that you can be astounded at the clumps of grass flying through the air when you’re watching in HD. I’m not sure if thats ITV’s fault or FIFA/South African broadcaster but it was quite annoying. By all means show meaningful incidences in slow motion, but some of it was dire.

    Either way, ITV have consistently been appauling at
    football coverage. Sky’s Champions League coverage is superior, so its not just the advert breaks that cock everything up

  5. Tyldesley is terrible and England never seem to do well in big matches on ITV. Tyldesley has always been terrible. He used to team up with the nightmarish Robert McAffrey to present a show on Granada on Friday nights in the late 80’s. They were the Chuckle Brothers of sport – except shit!

  6. as a football fan not least an italy and world cup fan i found some of the comments made about the italian captain and italian team in general were somewhat disturbing and offensive towards a prominent commentator i feel that he should have a bit more regard towards them.i also feel that commentators should be neutral in their execution of a difficult job in all games

  7. And why does Clive Tedious have to say player names or international team names with a bit of a fake accent twang thing going on?? Does my head in! Watching the Chile Spain game and he keeps randomly saying Chillay instead of Chile!?! Clive, it’s pronounced Chile – that’s it, simple as!! Everything he does seems to annoy me, but as a previous poster said, you have to stomach him to watch the footie!!

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