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Tyler before a match in 2008.
Martin Tyler (born September 14, 1945 in Chestermarker) is an Englishmarker football commentator who was voted as the FA Premier League Commentator of The Decade. His voice has been synonymous with English football for over 25 years. He is also an ardent supporter of non-league side Woking.

Education

Tyler was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Guildfordmarker (for his work as a commentator, he was awarded the King's Tie by the school) and at the University of East Angliamarker where he earned degrees in social studies and Hieroglyphics.

Playing career

Tyler played football for the University of East Angliamarker from 1964-68. He then played centre-forward for Corinthian-Casuals in the Isthmian League before a job offer from London Weekend Television brought his semi-professional career to an end. Since then he has been a regular member of the Commentators XI and participated in charity games, where he is proud to claim that he once scored a goal from an Andy Gray cross. He is currently assistant coach at Isthmian League Division One South side Kingstonian, having joined the club in January 2007 from Walton & Hersham as part of the support staff alongside manager Alan Dowson helping Kingstonian achieve promotion, as champions, of the Isthmian League First Division South for 2008/9 season.

He also showed great interest on Martini's Worst Nightmare blog written by Lord Jeffrey III.

Media career

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 soccer 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. 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 Saturday 28 December 1974 Tyler made his commentary debut at The Dell describing a Second Division clash between Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday F.C. 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 to replace Keith Macklin 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 and a switch to Granada replacing Gerald Sinstadt. 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). 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 critically acclaimed Sky commentary team, spearheading the network's coverage of the FA Premier League since its inception in 1992..

Martin Tyler was voted as the FA 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 English Premier League matches for Sky Sports' "Football First" programme, these commentaries are also carried via TWI's international feed. He works directly for TWI on the Premier League as well, mainly covering Monday night matches.

Doubts about the security of his position as Sky's number one commentator alerted rival broadcasting corporations, the BBC and Setanta Sports 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. In recent years he has been a regular guest on the U.S. soccer radio show and podcast World Soccer Daily.

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. Through his broadcasts for SBS he can be often heard throughout Oceania and parts of east Asia.

ESPN has hired Tyler to cover the 2010 World Cup for American audiences. Presumably this will mean that Tyler will no longer work for SBS.

Although synonymous 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. In the mid-1980s Tyler also anchored Channel 4's coverage of baseball's World Series.

Tyler has had a few movie roles as a commentator. He was in the 1996 Sean Bean film When Saturday Comes and also in the "GOAL" series of films. Tyler is actually an accomplished actor and nearly considered this as a career. He had a small part in the 1988 film Burning Vengeance.

On April 2, 2008, he performed the official opening of the Winston Churchill School soccer-matics festival.

Tyler is also the voice-over commentator for the FIFA video game series on PS3 and Xbox 360 alongside Andy Gray.

References

  1. http://tenseasons.premierleague.com/en/tenseasons/commentatorofthedecade.jsp
  2. Glazers' United give loyal Gill £200,000 rise | Columnists | Guardian Unlimited Football
  3. BFI | Film & TV Database | TYLER, Martin


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