Martin Tyler has angered the Liverpool fans. In a must-win game for the Reds against Southampton, Tyler was on commentary duty, but describing every kick of the game with whatever voice he could summon. But it all went flat when Liverpool took the lead and etched closer to Manchester City on the points table. This was a moment of exuberance for Liverpool fans, but Tyler’s muted commentary and lack of interest in his words didn’t sit well with any of those fans.
But fans who were watching the game on a different channel were blessed with the magical voice and enthusiasm of Peter Drury who described Joel Matip’s goal as: ‘And Matip has Liverpool where they need to be.’ While his counterpart, Tyler only described it as a ‘reflex’ action and carried on.
A fan put up a comparative edited video of Tyler and Drury’s commentary and the distinction is clear. It felt like Tyler was only on the spot to get paid, go home, and stretch his legs with a cold beer in his hand while Drury looked like he was fending off attacks that were even yet to come.
Given Tyler’s recent tryst with football commentary, he can make a Champions League final at the cusp of a pivotal turnaround drab while Drury can take the mic at halftime of a Sunday League football and turn the heat with his words, making it sound like a World Cup final between Argentina and Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi going at each other.
Fans voiced this opinion through various analogies where one mentioned that Drury should go ahead and make a ‘How to Commentate’ list or a book, while Tyler’s memoir should be called ‘How not to.’
It is without a shred of doubt that Tyler is a respectable figure in the arena of football commentary, but gone are the days of the 90s and early 00s when he used to propel the standards with his fierce and tedious voice.
Even Drury repeats many of his words, sentences, and the big phrases that he throws around, but he does it so eloquently that it raises the bar every time and resonates with every fan or brings new ones to watch the game.
Many old souls came to Tyler’s rescue, mentioning that he’s closer to 80 and still at his job. One fan stated he doesn’t need a wordsmith to describe every kick or turnaround in the game. Sometimes, he just needs it to flow. But the voice of the many has outweighed the voice of the few. Drury is to football commentary, what Shakespeare is to sonnets.
Blessed with biblical vocal cords, perhaps if someone has to make the case for Earth to survive before a villainous group of aliens, it should be Peter Drury echoing God’s words through his solemn and majestic voice. Many die-hard fans who always tune in to a channel where he’s on the mic often term as a modern-day poet, dictating the next action with unmatched panache.
And his resume is filled with instances that one can revisit time and time again. The return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Old Trafford, AS Roma’s unbelievable comeback against Barcelona in 2018, Real Madrid’s latest remontada against Manchester City, and the Peter denying Jesus’ remark when Petr Čech stopped a shot from Gabriel Jesus, are a testament to his impeccable command over his poetic abilities. Hear the commentary of all these moments and you’ll have goosebumps for the ages.
It’s as if Tyler speaks and Drury sings. Tyler should retire with a legacy and have Drury do the rest. The only time Tyler was clear of Drury was when Manchester City won the title in 2012 with a brilliant last-minute goal by Sergio Aguero. Tyler’s, “AGUEROOOOO!!!! I swear you’ll never see anything like this,” still rings in the ears. Probably Drury was still coming to terms with his abilities as a commentator, but for now, Drury is clear. He’s the chosen one, by the fans, by anyone who hears him for the first time.
Maybe that Aguero remark was a swansong for Tyler. Because lately, as Drury summed up Thiago Alcântara’s performance against Manchester United, “This man does things with football which ought to be illegal.” Maybe he meant it for himself, for whenever he takes the commentary chair before every game, many of us feel the same way.