Consumers are spoilt with the amount of football that’s on TV nowadays.
Yes, we all have to pay a pretty penny for it, but there’s little doubt that the level of entertainment on the pitch is only matched by the knowledge from pundits off it.
We’ve decided to do our very own league table of the pundits we regularly tune into on the BBC, Sky and BT Sport.
Those who are most widely used are here because, frankly, this list could go on ad infinitum otherwise. Michael Owen is on the subs bench because, as a BetVictor ambassador, we’re a little biased!
- 15. Joe Cole. Great player, terrible pundit. Maybe it’s the annoying Beckham-esque high-pitched voice. Maybe it’s the fact he thinks FC Barcelona’s academy is named after a curry. Either way, bottom of the table it is.
- 14. Owen Hargreaves. Whilst Owen Hargreaves tries his best to offer different perspectives to his punditry, there’s a tendency to want to turn the sound down or the TV off when he’s on. A safe pair of hands certainly, but nothing more.
- 13. Peter Crouch. Not too sure why ‘Crouchy’ has been handed a serious punditry gig on TV, because he doesn’t really have the ability to be serious. Anytime the debate gets a little more interesting, Crouch’s inability to construct any argument of note is shown up immediately. More suited to talking about the game down the pub with his mates.
- 12. Roy Keane. The grumpy old fella routine has become more than a little tiresome. Keane carries it off with aplomb, but the constant references to his time at Man United that pepper almost every part of his punditry make him yesterday’s man. Doesn’t have a great deal to contribute other than measuring the modern professional against those from his era.
— Daragh O'Leary (@daragh_leary) May 2, 2021
- 11. Paul Scholes. Another ex-Man United star in mid-table. Scholes’ observations aren’t particularly revelatory, but he at least knows his own mind and isn’t afraid to speak it, even if it goes against the grain of his colleagues. Could do with some more variety in his delivery because that monotone Manchester accent doesn’t make for interesting television.
- 10. Rio Ferdinand. A bit of a cheerleader rather than an ex-pro with a solid opinion to impart. Tends to take the lead from Gary Lineker on the BT Sport Champions League nights and appears not to be able to formulate an argument or point of view for himself.
- 9. Graeme Souness. The elder statesman of this bunch but not quite yet an ‘old man.’ Though there is a little rose-tintedness about his punditry on occasion, Souness knows what he’s talking about and will be vociferous when needed. The tough-tackling midfielder is still in there and if his buttons are pushed...
- 8. Micah Richards. The infectious laughter has won him a legion of admirers, but he’s no laughing stock. Richards is clearly in his element when bouncing off of those more experienced. However, his contributions are always well thought out and his viewpoints interesting.
Protect Micah Richards at all costs. 😂
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) April 29, 2021
- 7. Jamie Redknapp. Has begun to lose his touch just a little recently. Perhaps the ‘crafty cockney’ persona has something to do with that. ‘A little bit woah, a little bit whey’ if you know what we mean. Will stand his ground when pushed, as his recent spat with Roy Keane showed, and has the nous to back it up.
- 6. Alan Shearer. Both as a player and now as a pundit, Shearer is a formidable, no nonsense opponent. Rarely breaking from a more considered tone, the former England man always seems to use just the right amount of gravitas in any given situation.
- 5. Alex Scott. Certainly not just a panel member there to tick a box or two, Alex Scott has been a breath of fresh air. Not out of her depth amongst any of the industry heavyweights, she’s forthright with her opinions and not afraid to speak her mind. Any attempts to trip her up by others who may have had their noses put out of joint by the presence of a female pundit have long since disappeared. A great addition.
The Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit award goes to @AlexScott for delivering “immense knowledge of the game” in a “confident and concise analysis” – congratulations Alex! #RTSAwards pic.twitter.com/QHsLS8bevt
— Royal Television Society (@RTS_media) March 17, 2020
- 4. Ian Wright. Though there’s always entertainment value where Wrighty is concerned, the former Arsenal man is just as comfortable engaging in a more serious debate, without resorting to falling into the usual traps. Tactically well versed, Wright’s bouncy and energetic style is a great foil for Alan Shearer’s more deadpan way of working.
- 3. Jermaine Jenas. Not flamboyant nor bland, Jenas is just an incredibly polished and consistent pundit. In an era when everyone seemingly has an opinion, his skill set is such that he’s able to impart an interesting point of view without being preachy or condescending.
- 2. Jamie Carragher. His Monday Night Football tactical dissection of the weekend’s events are one of the week’s football viewing highlights. As hard-hitting as he was as a player, Carra’s punditry often packs a punch. As with partner-in-crime Neville, it’s the level of detail that elevates him to the upper echelons of this list.
🏆 With not much to talk about in the #FACup!
😡 Gary Neville gives his take on the new European Super League Idea!
— BetVictor (@BetVictor) April 18, 2021
- 1. Gary Neville. No doubting who gets the No.1 position. Neville has shown himself to be an honest, informed, detailed and succinct pundit who always hits the right notes both in commentary and before/after games. His vocabulary, knowledge and delivery make him a must watch and listen every week.
Honourable Mention – Gary Lineker
Ostensibly an anchor man these days, but Lineker knows his (cheese and) onions and has done his time as a pundit before making the move into the hot-seat.
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but the former striker has learned the art of nuance and plays his role in the debate to perfection.