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Peter Brackley is a football commentator, perhaps most famous for covering Football Italia on Channel 4 in the 1990s and formerly commentating for the computer game series Pro Evolution Soccer, and for Michael Owen's World League Soccer '99.
He began his career at BBC Radio Brighton in the early 1970s, before moving to the network. During his time with BBC Radio in London, Brackley covered football - including two FA Cup Finals and the 1982 European Cup Final - and athletics, as well as presenting flagship programmes Sport On Two and Sports Report. BBC Catalogue
The summer of 1982 saw Brackley make the switch to television, initially with ITV company Central Independent Television replacing Hugh Johns. During his initial spell with the network he covered the 1986 FIFA World Cup and the European Championship in France in 1984 - including commentaries on semi-final matches in both tournaments. His first live match for ITV Sport was the First Division contest between Manchester United and Sheffield Wednesday in April 1986. He also stepped into the breach during the live broadcast of the 1986 European Cup Final between Barcelona and Steaua Bucharest, when communication with the commentary team in Seville (Brian Moore and Kevin Keegan) was lost.
In 1988 Brackley left ITV. Still stuck behind Brian Moore, Martin Tyler and Alan Parry in the pecking order he made the move to Rupert Murdoch's Sky Television. The bulk of his work would be for the pan-European channel Eurosport, then part-owned by Sky. He led their commentary team at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, with Ian Darke, Paul Dempsey and Gary Bloom among his colleagues. Brackley was also behind the mic for Sky's first live matches, which came in the Zenith Data Systems Cup.
When Sky and BSB merged in 1991, Brackley took up other duties including regular FA Cup matches and weekly coverage of live Italian football. This was the continuation of a long relationship with coverage of Serie A, which had actually begun in the middle of the 1980s when he took up work for CSI Sports who picked up the international broadcast rights.
This association with Italian football deepened in 1992 when, in the wake of Paul Gascoigne's transfer from Tottenham to Serie A side Lazio, Channel 4 moved in to buy up the rights to cover the league. For the next decade they provided regular live action on Sunday afternoons, with Brackley commentating from a studio in England. Working alongside the likes of James Richardson, Kenneth Wolstenholme, Gary Bloom and pundits Ray Wilkins, Don Howe and Luther Blissett, it's arguable that he did much to popularise the Italian game in the UK.
Return to ITV
1992 was an eventful year for Brackley, as he also returned to the fold at ITV Sport. Fresh from the shock of losing rights to the new Premier League to British Sky Broadcasting, the various ITV regions began to place more emphasis on live coverage of the lower leagues. On 16 August 1992, Brackley was partnered by Ron Atkinson for Central's first live broadcast of a Football League match after the split as Birmingham City faced Notts County at St Andrew's Stadium. From the second week on, Alan Parry became the regular voice on The Central Match Live until 1996 when ITV lost the rights to live League football.
This return to ITV saw Brackley feature prominently in coverage of another four World Cups, from 1994 to 2006 and the European Championships in 1996 and 2000. He was also a regular commentator on the network's Champions League programmes and contributed frequently to highlights programmes on Central and Meridian Broadcasting in the south of England. He also commentated on his only major final for ITV in 2000 - covering the League Cup Final between Tranmere Rovers and Leicester City.
Since 2002 and the demise of the ITV Sports Channel Brackley's network commitments have been considerably reduced, featuring only very occasionally before returning as part of the team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. His main source of work has been coverage of the England national football team and the FA Cup for international distributor Octagon CSI. He covered the majority of FA Cup Finals between 1992 and 2008 for them.
The 2008-09 season saw Peter do the FA Cup highlights show for ITV. His games were Leicester-Stevenage, Fleetwood-Hartlepool, Hull-Newcastle, Doncaster-Aston Villa, and Blackburn-Coventry. He was named at #42 in the Daily Mail's favourite sports commentators of all-time.
As well as a successful broadcasting career, Brackley has also carved a niche as a comedian and impressionist. He has undertaken several UK tours with Southampton fan and comedian Mike Osman, including a run as part of George Best and Rodney Marsh's stage show. He has also performed with Osman, Richard Digance and others on several programmes for BBC Radio.
- "Win Michael Owen Soccer", The Independent, 21 November 1998, retrieved 23 January 2010
- Waters, Darren (2002) "Let's play: Pro Evolution Soccer 2", BBC, 21 October 2002, retrieved 23 January 2010
- "TONIGHT'S TV AND RADIO", The Guardian, 25 January 2000, retrieved 23 January 2010
- Hannigan, Mary (1999) "Quotes of the week", Irish Times, 13 December 1999, retrieved 2010-01-23, "You'd be surprised how many people think I do it from Italy"
- Winter, Henry (1992) "Football: Sampdoria set ball rolling: Henry Winter on Channel 4's winning start with a big draw in the Italian League", The Independent, 7 September 1992, retrieved 23 January 2010
- McKee, Ken (1994) "Soccer marathon set to kick off on local TV All 52 Cup games available on cable sports channel", Toronto Star, 13 June 1994, "The voices on TSN's games belong to ITV's top four commentators, main man Brian Moore, Alan Parry, John Helm and Peter Brackley."
- "THE LIST: 50-41 of our favourite sports commentators of all-time", Daily Mail, 26 January 2009, retrieved 23 January 2010