Smitten by the sound of his own voice and ‘playful’ way with words — an ITV trait — Clive Tyldseley is, to many people’s ears, the most annoying commentator in his history of mainstream sport. Which, when you think about it, is quite an achievement.
Take Saturday’s FA Cup Final when, with Chelsea testing the metal of the Portsmouth goal, Tyldesley raced to declare Didier Drogba’s first-half free-kick had crossed the goal-line after it smashed downwards off the crossbar.
His co-commentator, Waterford’s Jim Beglin, was equally adamant. At first. Instantly Clive decried the absence of technology to “prove” that Chelsea had been cruelly denied. “How long did it take us to prove it was a goal? Fifteen seconds?” he asked, as if he’d invented the very future of association football.
In fact — and facts shouldn’t be underestimated — the replays were unable to definitively show anything other than that in all probability the whole of the ball hadn’t been behind the line. Hence play on.
Yet Tyldesley continued his setpiece rant, insisting the slow-motion pictures had illustrated just why the referee should be able to turn to a video ref in order to award the correct decision. In this instance, with either a little luck or extraordinary eyesight, the referee and his linesman got it spot on without consulting each other or a monitor.
Tyldesley called it wrong a couple of times despite having the benefit of a screen in front of him in real time and a view of various angles afterwards. Just as well he isn’t a would-be TV official, whose only role (in the unlikely event that those feckin’ eejits in FIFA ever sanction such a thing) should be to call back play where a clear injustice has been committed, such as Henry’s double helping in Paris.
Give me Trevor Welch any day.