“Mellor. Lovely cushioned header. FOR GERRARD!!!!!”
“OH YOU BEAUTY. WHAT A HIT SON!! WHAT A HIT!”
If this piece of commentary was played in a pub quiz and you were asked to name the game, I doubt anyone reading this would get the answer wrong! I’d put a few quid on the majority of Mancs and Blues getting it right too! Nobody needs reminding of its significance as Steven Gerrard’s crucial and timely piece of brilliance against Olympiakos was the catalyst for what, five months later, would turn out to be the greatest day many of us have ever experienced as Liverpool fans. It’s probably the most celebrated goal of Gerrard’s career, and righty so.
Even for many of us who were in the ground that night, Andy Gray and Martin Tyler’s description of THAT goal has become the abiding memory as the years have passed. Gray’s “you beauty” shout is the one everyone remembers, but Tyler also captured the moment perfectly. “Champions League, knockout stages, HERE WE COME.” Little did we know just how significant those words would prove to be!
Why am I waxing lyrical about a game and a piece of commentary from 12 years ago? Well, apart from not needing an excuse to wax lyrical about anything to do with the road to Istanbul, it brings me nicely on to the last time the very same Martin Tyler commentated on a Liverpool game, the recent win at Stamford Bridge.
Tyler did anything but capture the moment as the Reds produced a dominant first half display and followed it by a resolute second half one. In fact, he sounded thoroughly miserable throughout and hardly gave Liverpool any credit. I’d go as far as saying he genuinely sounded gutted that we were outplaying Chelsea on their own ground. He actually made Neville seem happy, which is an achievement in itself!
His voice barely raised a single decibel when both our goals went in, shocking when you consider Jordan Henderson’s strike was a goal of the season contender and Sky sell their “product” by repeating such moments – and their accompanying commentary – ad nauseam!
Then there’s the incident in the first half where Ivanovic stood on Adam Lallana’s foot, almost certainly deliberately. After originally spotting that Lallana looked aggrieved, Tyler (and Neville) sat there in complete silence as the slo-mo clearly showed what Ivanovic had done. It’s hard to imagine they’d have sat there with the mute button on if a Liverpool player had stamped on a Chelsea player!
Before anyone dismisses this as the ramblings of a bitter Red, or points out that every set of fans thinks the media is biased against their club, find a YouTube video of Martial’s goal against us last season and listen to Tyler’s reaction. In fact, check out the clip on Twitter that contains two clips of Hendo’s goal – the first containing Tyler’s actually commentary, the second with the commentary of the Martial goal dubbed on. They’re about as similar as Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn!
Sky Sports claim to be the “home of football.” In fact, they act like they invented the game with the inception of the Premier League in 1992. They proclaim Grimsby signing Notts Country’s reserve goalkeeper as “BREAKING NEWS” in capital letters on a bright yellow ticker, while games between the top clubs are generally over-hyped to US Presidential Election proportions. Mr Tyler himself introduces the ad break preceding kick off by proclaiming “IT’S LIVE” with the excitement of a kid who has just found out they’re going on holiday to Disney World next summer!
So why, when a resurgent Liverpool produced a brilliant display against one of their biggest rivals and capped it off with a goal of the season contender, did Martin Tyler commentate on the game with all the enthusiasm of someone who had just found out his car has been clamped?
Written by @pilnick_Jimmy