Top Of The League: Who Is The Best Football Pundit?
September 12, 2015
As anyone who saw Andy Townsend’s performance in the so-called ‘tactics truck’ during ITV’s ill-feted coverage of the Premier League at the turn of the century will testify, football punditry is an art-form that should not be taken lightly. The ability to provide true insight and analysis while also resonating with fans is difficult to achieve, while it is also a combined skill that many lose as they become comfortable in a particular role.
So who exactly is the best football pundit? A recent survey revealed that Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling was worthy of this accolade in the eyes of soccer fans, although this seems like an odd result as he is less of a pundit and more of a host. So, who exactly are the best pundits in the beautiful game?
If you need any proof of Gary Neville’s quality as a pundit, the fact that Liverpool fans rated him more favourably than their beloved Jamie Carragher in the recent poll speaks volumes. A hate figure among Liverpool fans (and many other supporter groups outside of Manchester), Neville has earned respect in the game for this detailed knowledge of the game, tactical awareness and an honest, straight-forward delivery. He would probably make an outstanding manager, but his skill as a pundit makes us glad that he has chosen a media career.
Former Manchester United legend Roy Keane stumbled into punditry, after his managerial career began to enter a decline. His presence on the ITV panel has added considerable bite and personality, with his brash and downright brutal honesty cutting through the more generic patter of Lee Dixon and Gareth Southgate. Not afraid of playing devil’s advocate or clashing with his colleagues, Keane is an honest pundit that every single fan in the UK can relate to.
Interestingly, Sky Sports have their own (if slightly more polished) version of Roy Keane, in the form of former Liverpool legend and midfield general Graeme Souness. A midfielder in the same ilk as Keane, Souness’ rugged accent and intelligent straight-talking has provided some memorable, on-screen chemistry with smooth operators such as Ruud Gullit and Jamie Redknapp. One can only imagine how a punditry partnership with Roy Keane would fair, but it would almost certainly pack as much bite and aggression as they showcased during their playing days. Oh to be the third member on that panel!