Jonathan Pearce

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For the American singer, see Jonathan Pierce.
Jonathan Pearce
Pearce outside Upton Park, December 2010
Born Jonathan Pearce
(1959-11-28) 28 November 1959 (age 55)
Plymouth, Devon
Residence Hassocks, West Sussex
Nationality England England
Occupation Football commentator
Employer BBC

Jonathan Pearce (born 28 November 1959, Plymouth), is a British football commentator for the BBC.[1] Known for his loud, exuberant commentaries, he has worked for both Radio Five Live and Match of the Day, as well as participating in other lower-profile sports programmes and Robot Wars.

Early life and career[edit]

Pearce wanted to become a footballer, but his career was ended after he broke his leg in 1974.[2]

He started his career in broadcasting at BBC Radio Bristol, and his first match commentary was Bristol Rovers against Exeter City in the League Cup.[1] He became a Sports Editor at the age of 23. In 1987 he moved to London and Capital Radio where he launched Capital Gold Sport a year later.[3]

Pearce also commentated on a handful of minor Premier League games for Sky Sports in the 1992–93 season, before his Radio 5 Live and Match Of The Day career.

Between 1998 and 2004, Pearce commentated on the Robot Wars TV series, on BBC Two.

Channel 5 and BBC[edit]

When Channel 5 (known as Five for some time) was launched in 1997, Pearce was signed as their lead football commentator. His excitable style of commentary received criticism from some quarters.[4] He joined BBC Radio Five Live in 2002 and was part of their 2002 FIFA World Cup commentary team. He went on to present the station's midweek sports programme Sport on Five from 2003 until 2005 and became a commentator for BBC television on Match of the Day in 2004.

Pearce has commentated on over 150 England internationals, five World Cups, four European Championships and over 20 Cup Finals. He has won several awards for his work including three Sony awards and the Variety Club Radio Person of the Year. Perhaps his finest hour during his time on commercial radio was his description of a Crystal Palace goal scored by Dougie Freedman. As Freedman wheeled away in celebration, Pearce cried: "He's done it! The Boogie Woogie Doogie Selhurst boy!". Other examples are "They're going with the Flo!" when Chelsea scored against Real Betis in a 1998 UEFA Cup Winners Cup game, as well as his excited commentary when England played Poland in a qualification game for the 1998 World Cup, in which he often said phrases like "Come on England!, come on England!, corner kick!, corner kick!". This received heavy criticism from the Daily Mail, while World Soccer magazine said the media were too harsh on him and praised him for doing a good job of pronouncing the names of the Polish players correctly.

He also lent his voice to Sensible Soccer, Ubisoft football game Action Soccer and UEFA Striker. Away from football, he was also the commentator on the programmes Robot Wars and Hole in the Wall. In 2005, he guest-starred in the Doctor Who audio drama The Game, in which he played a sports commentator named Garny Diblick.

Pearce joined the BBC's Match Of The Day team in 2004. He is one of the BBC's front-line commentators alongside number one commentator Guy Mowbray, Steve Wilson and Simon Brotherton. During his nine years with BBC Sport Pearce has commentated on live games from the FA Cup, League Cup and Championship, as well as covering three World Cups (2006, 2010 & 2014) and two European Championships (2008 & 2012).

Personal life[edit]

Pearce is a long-time Bristol City fan.[3] He lives in Hassocks, West Sussex, where he is chair of the junior section of Hassocks F.C..[5]

Pearce ran in the 2008 and 2011 London Marathon. He raised money for the Lily Foundation, a charity run by his brother in law in memory of his daughter.


  1. ^ a b "BBC Press Office". Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  2. ^ "Jonathan Pearce". World Cup 2002 (BBC Sport). 2002-04-09. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  3. ^ a b "BBC Sport". BBC News. 2002-04-09. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  4. ^ Nick Harper (2004-03-19). "''Small Talk: Guardian Unlimited'', 19th March 2004". Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  5. ^