The curse of the commentator

  • Steve Wilson
  • 23 Nov 11, 05:00 PM

Sunday's game between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge threw up one of those occasional moments a commentator absolutely dreads.

It was during the first half when Chelsea were awarded a free-kick outside the Liverpool penalty area. Didier Drogba stepped up to take it and his shot whistled a couple of inches past the post, hit the stanchion holding the net in place and then ricocheted to the left to glide along the back of the net from behind the goal.

For the commentators sitting high in the East Stand, it looked like it was nestling in the back of the net from inside the post. We were not alone. The majority of the Chelsea fans not sitting exactly in line with the free-kick were celebrating. It was a second or two before I realised it was not a goal.

Commentators are a pretty paranoid lot so at half-time I, along with some colleagues from TV channels all over the world, were asking each other who had called it as a goal and who had not. Pretty much everybody had made the same mistake, which made all of us feel a lot better.

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The hidden side of commentary

  • Steve Wilson
  • 15 Nov 11, 03:46 PM

There are two things which seem to surprise people about being a Match of the Day commentator more than anything else.

The first is that we are actually at all the games you watch on a Saturday and Sunday night; the second is that our commentary positions are not sumptuous, warm converted executive boxes with a steady supply of finger food and coffee.

The reality is they are often rusty old gantries hanging from the roof of a stand with everything covered in a thick layer of dust and grime pre-dating John Motson's first sheepskin.

When I first joined the TV team back in 2001, not every game was covered as it is now. The games which looked likely to provide the biggest stories were selected to have a commentator on site, while one would be on duty at Television Centre to dub commentary onto whichever game proved to be the best of the rest, and the remaining games and goals were covered in a round-up.

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Tottenham - the top team in London?

  • Steve Wilson
  • 2 Nov 11, 03:28 PM

Those who have no interest in football in London should click away now, but a question was nagging in my mind after the weekend's matches.

I commentated as Chelsea and Arsenal slugged it out on Saturday, the Gunners won 5-3 at Stamford Bridge, and then watched Spurs take on QPR on Sunday.

It left me wondering whether this may end up being the first season in a long time when Tottenham can genuinely hope to finish as London's top club.

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