Sports broadcaster Clive Tyldesley has said he is “upset” at ITV’s decision to remove him as ITV’s main football commentator after spending 22 years in the post, explaining that he does not know why he’s been “moved aside”.
ITV Sport announced its decision to replace Tyldesley, who has voiced some of football’s biggest matches over the past two decades, with pundit Sam Matterface earlier today, adding that Tyldesley will remain part of the ITV Sport team and continue to commentate on major games.
However, in a video posted to his Twitter account, the 65-year-old senior commentator said although he was told of the decision three weeks ago, he still “hasn’t got [his] head around it”.
ITV have replaced me as their main football commentator… pic.twitter.com/S8UOjvwEck
— Clive Tyldesley (@CliveTyldesley) July 14, 2020
“To be clear, this is ITV’s decision, not mine. I’m upset, annoyed, baffled – I would have been interested with commentating the Euro 2020 final for them less than 48 hours ago, but now I wont be commentating on any of the big England games in the coming year and I’m going to miss them. I love this job and it’s gone,” he said.
He continued: “Why? I don’t know. I do not know exactly why this decision has been taken. Already I’ve had the producer of a broadcast that I am working on asking if I have any health issues. No, I have no health issues. Asking me if there’s something that I’ve done. No, there’s nothing.”
“I gather that 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, you’re entitled to do either.”
He added that he will continue to work for ITV as their “number two commentator” and respects the channel’s decision to “change their opinion” of him, but has not voluntarily chosen to leave the post.
“Let me make it quite clear – I have not stepped down I been moved aside. I haven’t even thought about winding down towards retirement or anything like that.”
He ended the video by saying that thousands of people in this country are facing job losses far more serious than this so his removal “is not a grave matter of state”, but he is “really really disappointed” by the decision.
“I don’t know why I’m being replaced, I’m well, I’m able, I’m available and I’m just going to miss the England game so much even more than I’ll miss the Champions League games and that’s all.”
talkSPORT’s chief football commentator Sam Matterface, who commentated the 2018 Russia World Cup, will be taking over as ITV’s senior commentator from the start of the new season.
“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,” said Niall Sloane, Director of ITV Sport.
“We are very glad he will continue with us and look forward to working with him on many more occasions in the future.“
Tyldesley joined ITV as an understudy to Brian Moore in 1996, leaving his role at the BBC. He became ITV’s senior footballer commentator two years later, following the 1998 World Cup final.
He led ITV’s commentary crew at four World Cups and four European Championships since, as well as the last 17 UEFA Champions League Finals, during which he famously cried, “Solskjaer has won it!” as Manchester United beat Bayern Munich in 1999.
Tyldesley provided football commentary for the biggest British audience in history for a single game, when over 24.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the Three Lions losing to Croatia at the 2018 World Cup semi-final.