Martin Tyler

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Martin Tyler
Martin Tyler.jpg
Tyler before a match at Old Trafford in 2008.
Born (1945-09-14) 14 September 1945 (age 68)
Chester, Cheshire, England
Nationality English
Education Royal Grammar School, Guildford
University of East Anglia
Occupation Football commentator
Employer BSkyB, ESPN, TSN

Martin B. Tyler (born 14 September 1945 in Chester) is an English football commentator who was voted the FA Premier League Commentator of the Decade.[1] He is also currently first team coach at Isthmian League Premier Division club Kingstonian.

Football commentary career[edit]

After graduating from the University of East Anglia in the 1960s, Tyler helped in the publishing of Marshall Cavendish's Book of Football. He was also ghostwriter on football pundit Jimmy Hill's column in The Times and reported matches under his own name for that paper.

At the urging of Hill he took a job behind the scenes on LWT's The Big Match – the first ITV football programme to make a real impact on the public.[citation needed] His job was solely a production role, but at one match he did his own commentary on a tape recorder and handed it in to his bosses expecting, and indeed initially gaining, little response.

However, the break did eventually come with another ITV region Southern Television. Their regular football commentator (and ITV's tennis man) Gerry Williams was indisposed and on 28 December 1974 Tyler made his commentary debut at The Dell describing a Second Division clash between Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday. It was a successful bow and six weeks later he was asked back, soon becoming a regular commentator.

In 1976, Tyler moved to Yorkshire Television and began to make an impression on ITV Sport bosses, who included him in the team for the 1978 World Cup. He also covered his first European Cup Final in 1979. Another change of region came in 1981 as Tyler moved to Granada in his native North West. In 1982 he led ITV's World Cup team, covering every England game and the final alongside Ian St. John. The tournament was also memorable on a personal level because he met his future wife while on duty in Spain.

Throughout the 1980s, Tyler established himself as the ITV network's number two commentator behind Brian Moore. He led the team at the 1984 European Championships and also described all the main matches at the 1986 World Cup – except the final, for which Moore flew out from London (the first time he had ever commentated on a World Cup match for ITV, having previously worked from London as anchorman). From 1983 ITV began to show live Football League matches, with Tyler involved in several such broadcasts over the next seven years.

BSkyB[edit]

It was the frustration of playing second fiddle that saw Tyler search for pastures new and, despite his own reluctance, he signed a deal with British Satellite Broadcasting's Sports Channel in 1990 at the urging of his agent John Hockey. There he covered live FA Cup games, England internationals and the Scottish League. Tyler's voice was still heard on ITV for another two years as they carried the commentaries he provided for the Football League's overseas broadcasts. British Satellite Broadcasting's merger with Sky meant the Sports Channel became Sky Sports in 1991. Since then he has led the Sky commentary team, spearheading the network's coverage of the FA Premier League since its inception in 1992.[2]

In April 2003, in the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards, Tyler was voted as the Premier League Commentator of The Decade by fans and a specially assembled panel of football experts. After learning of the honour Tyler stated, "I'd like to thank everybody who voted for me and express my gratitude to all my colleagues at Sky Sports. This award is as much for them as myself and reflects our approach to football. My job has also been made easier by the thousands of individuals within the game who've answered my daily requests for information with the attention and care that make this job so enjoyable."

In recent years Sky have employed a rotation policy and Tyler no longer gets the number of 'big' games he used to get (2005 Champions League final for example – he only covered this for Australian TV). He regularly covers Saturday Premier League matches for Sky Sports' "Football First" programme, these commentaries are also heard on the international feed.

Doubts about the security of his position as Sky's number one commentator alerted rival broadcasting corporations, the BBC and Setanta Sports, which have reportedly tried to sign him up. As recently as January 2007 he was approached by Setanta to be their lead commentator for live Premiership football in 2007/2008 but rejected the move and has signed a new contract with Sky Sports.[3] In recent years he has been a regular guest on the U.S. soccer radio show and podcast World Football Daily.

Premier League Productions[edit]

When he is not working for Sky, Tyler can be heard commentating for Premier League Productions, the Premier League's production arm operated by IMG Productions which is responsible for producing, packaging and broadcasting the matches for the Premier League's international broadcast partners. The same productions are also shown domestically for highlights packages on Sky Sports' "Football First" programme.

SBS[edit]

Tyler has been the main voice for broadcasts on the Australian television network SBS for World Cup, Euro and European club competition matches as well as a number of Australian international matches. The 2006 World Cup final saw Tyler call his fifth World Cup Final for SBS.

He is a correspondent for the pre-match coverage, where he is crossed to live to talk with the SBS studio team. Through his broadcasts for SBS he can be often heard throughout Oceania and parts of east Asia.

Tyler commentated on the 2009 and 2010 FA Cup Finals, as part of the official commentary along with co-commentator Stewart Robson. He is also a commentator in the popular FIFA video games.

United States and Canada[edit]

Fox used Tyler from the Sky feed to cover the 2010 UEFA Champions League Final.[4] This is the first time the Champions League final was broadcast on a major American television network. In addition, he led ESPN's coverage on the 2010 FIFA World Cup[5] and was set to return for the 2014 tournament.[6] However, on January 8th, 2014, ESPN and Tyler announced they had mutually agreed to part ways ahead of the 2014 World Cup.[7] TSN, a Canadian English language Category C specialty channel owned by Bell Media uses Tyler from both the Sky and Premier League Productions feeds during their televised Premier League games.

Other work[edit]

Print journalism[edit]

Tyler writes an article on the Sky Sports websites where readers can ask questions about Football usually based on statistics and form of teams. At the end of each article is a 'Tyler's Teaser' in which Martin asks the readers a question of his own. More recently, Martin has recorded his asking of these questions live from the Stadium of which he commentated in for Sky the weekend before. 'Tyler's Teaser' originally was for the readers to try and catch Martin out, in asking footballing questions of their own.

Other sports[edit]

Although most associated with football, Tyler has commentated on other sports. He contributed to Granada TV's coverage of Roses Cricket throughout his time there and even described live netball for ITV's World Of Sport.[8] In the mid-1980s, Tyler also anchored Channel 4's coverage of baseball's World Series.[8][9]

Film and video games[edit]

Tyler is the default commentator for the FIFA video game series on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC alongside Andy Gray from 2006 to 2011 and Alan Smith from 2012.

Football coaching[edit]

Tyler is currently first team coach at Isthmian League club Kingstonian, having joined the club in January 2007 from Walton & Hersham as part of the support staff alongside manager Alan Dowson.

Miscellaneous[edit]

Tyler chose Arsenal's unbeaten season in the Premier League in 2003/04 as the greatest moment of the decade, and has expressed the view that sports fans will not see another team unbeaten for a whole season in their lifetimes.[10]

He has participated in charity games, where he is proud to claim that he once scored a goal from an Andy Gray cross.

References[edit]

  1. ^ COMMENTATOR OF THE DECADE – Martin Tyler. premierleague.com
  2. ^ "Martin Tyler". Talk Football. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  3. ^ Kelso, Paul (2007-01-31). "Glazers' United give loyal Gill £200,000 rise". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  4. ^ "Champions League final to air on FOX". msn.foxsports.com. May 17, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Tyler tabbed by ESPN for 2010 World Cup announcing position". Sports Illustrated. 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  6. ^ "ESPN keeping Martin Tyler for the 2014 World Cup". Associated Press. 
  7. ^ "ESPN and Martin Tyler Mutually Agree to End Relationship Ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup". ESPN. 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-01-08. 
  8. ^ a b BFI | Film & TV Database | TYLER, Martin. Ftvdb.bfi.org.uk (2009-04-16). Retrieved on 2012-05-10.
  9. ^ Martin Tyler knows baseball, too. Newsday.com (2010-06-12). Retrieved on 2012-05-10.
  10. ^ "Tyler's Top 10". Sky Sports. 26 December 2009. 

External links[edit]