Legendary commentator Clive Tyldesley has revealed his dejection in an emotional video after being replaced in his lead role with ITV after 22 years in the job.
Tyldesley’s voice has provided the backdrop to historic matches over more than two decades at major international tournaments and the biggest games in club football, including 17 Champions League finals.
ITV announced that the 65-year-old he will be replaced by 42-year-old Sam Matterface from the start of the new season and Tyldesley appeared devastated by the decision as he posted a video reacting to the announcement.
Clive Tyldesley shared a video online, saying he is baffled by the decision to take away the lead ITV football commentary job and replace him
Sam Matterface will be taking over as the lead football commentator for ITV from next season
He said: ‘If you haven’t seen the announcement, I am being replaced as ITV’s senior football commentator. Quite a few people have been in touch with me, asking me to react, to comment, um, I’m not sure that would be a very good idea at the moment.
‘I was told about three weeks ago so I have had some time to get my head around the decision but I haven’t got my head around it. To be clear this is ITV’s decision, not mine. I’m upset, annoyed, baffled… I would have been interested in commentating on the Euro 2020 final for them less than 48 hours ago but now I won’t be commentating on any of the big England games over the coming year and I’m going to miss them, I love this job, and it has gone. Why? I don’t know. I do not know exactly why this decision has been taken, already I’ve got the producer of a broadcast I am working on asking if I’ve got any health issues. No! I’ve got no health issues.
‘Asking me if it is something that I have done… no there’s nothing. I gather one or two sites are reporting that I’ve been sacked. Well, I guess I have from one job but I’ve done nothing wrong.
‘I’m the same broadcaster, the same person that I’ve always been, like me or hate me, and you’re entitled to do either. You know, like everybody else in football, I am a matter of opinion, I totally get that and I totally respect ITV’s right to change their opinion of me.
‘ITV have been really good for me and yes I’ll carry on as their No 2 commentator but let me make it quite clear, I have not stepped down, I have been moved. Moved aside. I’ve not even thought about winding down towards retirement or anything like that.
‘Now listen, there are thousands of people in this country facing up to job losses and disappointments far more serious than this, I am a lucky boy. I love my work and I’ve got plenty on, so I’m not making a statement or anything like that, this is not a grave matter of state, I’m just trying to explain, just telling you that I’m really really disappointed about this, I don’t know why I’m being replaced, I’m well, able and available and I’m just going to miss the England games so much, even more than I miss the Champions League games and that’s all.’
Tyldesley has broadcasted some of the biggest games in football over the last 22 years
Tyldesley addressed the biggest ever British audience for a single game when the England lost to Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-final in front of 24.3million viewers.
He also famously captured the moment Manchester United won the European Cup against Bayern Munich in dramatic fashion: ‘Beckham…… Into Sheringham….. and Solskjaer has won it! Manchester United have reached the promised land, Ole Solskjaer, and the two substitutes have scored the two goals in stoppage time and the Treble looms large!’
A number of disappointed fans reacted to the news on social media.
One wrote: ‘ITV replacing Clive Tyldesley is a terrible decision. A fantastic commentator who will be sorely missed.’
Another added: ‘Hope he gets snapped up by someone’, while third posted: ‘Hi Clive, I’ve read the statement ITV put out this morning. Yours was the voice of my sporting youth, Champions League on terrestrial was appointment viewing. “And Solskjaer has won it!” Terrific memories.’
Tyldesley commentated on England’s World Cup semi-final defeat by Croatia in 2018
Tyldesley is going to remain as part of the ITV team and will still be part of the group commentating at major tournaments.
ITV appear to be following the BBC’s lead in culling older much-loved talent.
John Inverdale, Henry Blofeld, and Ian Robertson found themselves sidelined, while Cornelius Lysaght and Mark Pougatch were informed they had no future at Radio 5 Live.
Matterface, Tyldesley’s replacement, will be continuing in his role as talkSPORT’ss lead football commentator alongside his new position.
He has extensive experience of his own having held roles with the BBC and also Sky Sports both as a presenter and commentator.
The commentary for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Champions League-winning goal is iconic
Matterface has been a regular commentary voice on ITV, working on coverage of several major tournaments including the World Cup in Russia.
Niall Sloane, Director of ITV Sport, said: ‘On behalf of ITV Sport, I would like to thank Clive for his superb work leading our commentary on some of the biggest occasions in world football throughout his outstanding career with us.
‘We are very glad he will continue with us and look forward to working with him on many more occasions in the future.’
Tyldesley, a fan favourite over the years, will be working on next year’s delayed European Championship but not in the lead role.
He recently contributed a piece for Sportsmail about how stereotyping in commentary is morally wrong, after a report from a Danish research firm found there was a clear racial bias in football commentary.
The veteran broadcaster jokingly commentated on his wife making lasagne during lockdown
Tyldesley wrote: ‘My experiences in football are considerable and what I have seen and experienced over the years has gradually formed my opinion. Through experiences you gain that wider perspective.
‘Consequently I am comfortable that I don’t judge any player other than for the attributes I see before my eyes rather than any preconceived ideas I may have about them.
‘Is there a tendency for me to refer to a black player’s pace or strength as opposed to their skill or match intelligence? I ask myself that question and hopefully the answer is: no, I don’t think that is the case.’
During lockdown, the popular commentator kept people entertained by commentating over clips of children playing football and even his wife’s homemade lasagne.