The commentator on the Arsenal versus Manchester City game was as surefooted as ever.
Martin Tyler, Sky’s top football man, has been calling the action for commercial and satellite television for 32 years.
He is measured, informative, always finds something interesting in a match and uses his research to help the viewer.
Tyler is respected throughout the game because he empathises with players and officials and commentates as though he has a responsibility to the sport.
He is immersed in football. In between homework, travelling, matches and training sessions he attends to aid player identification, he is the fitness coach at non-league Kingstonian and coaches at a local primary school.
At an age when others retire to the garden or the golf course he wants to continue for as long as they let him,
“I signed a three year contract with Sky which started in January. I love the game with a passion. Football is my life. It is not just a job and I am very lucky to have this life.
“You have to want to keep going. Like players who get beyond a certain age you have to ask yourself ‘when you get to the ground do you still get that excitement?’ I still do. That will be my litmus test.”
Tyler does, though, have some way to go to match one of the broadcasters he admires most. Vin Scully has been the voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for 61 years and counting.
“I only met him once but it was a real privilege. His use of words and timing are staggering. He is a wonderful example of a consummate professional.
“I did the World Cup for ESPN in America and it did strike me at one point that he may be listening. It was another reason, among many of course, that if one of my comments worked for him it would be the ultimate accolade.”
Tyler first encountered baseball in the 1970′s on visits to watch the North American Soccer League. He took the opportunity to present the World Series on Channel 4 during the 1980′s and remains a fan.
Just as Scully will always be associated with the Dodgers so Tyler will forever be the voice of English football’s golden age.
Many people have helped him become the most capable of broadcasters and he insisted on mentioning the former Daily Mail football writer Brian James, Jimmy Hill who encouraged him to take a job at LWT, the late Brian Moore, ITV’s number one who led by example, Andy Gray, his co-commentator of 20 years who he feels privileged to have worked with and Sky’s outstanding production and technical matchday staff.
” Throughout my career I have been very fortunate.”
Yes, Martin, and so have we, the viewers.