Sam Matterface replaces Clive Tyldesley who has been the lead commentator for ITV Sport for over two decades.
“I totally respect ITV’s right to change their opinion of me, ITV have been really good for me and yes I’ll carry on as their number two commentator but let me make it quite clear, I have not stepped down, I have been moved aside. I’ve not even thought about winding down about retirement.” – Clive Tyldesley
42-year-old Sam Matterface will take on the role of ITV Sport’s lead commentator from the start of the new season. Sam is familiar to the channel’s viewers as a regular commentary voice on ITV, working on coverage of several major tournaments, including most recently the 2018 Russia World Cup.
It means that after 22 years voicing the biggest matches in the game, 65-year-old Clive Tyldesley will no longer hold the role of ITV’s main football commentator from the start of next season. News that he hasn’t taken too well, posting a video on social media.
“I was told about three weeks ago so I have had some time to get my head around the decision, but I haven’t got my head around it. To be clear, it is ITV’s decision not mine… I’m upset, annoyed, baffled… I would have been entrusted with commentating the Euro 2020 final… but now I won’t 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,” – Clive Tyldesley on social media
In a press release before his comments, ITV Sport made it clear that Clive would ‘remain part of the setup, continuing to commentate with the team, particularly at major tournaments’. Over more than two decades as lead commentator for ITV, Clive has guided millions of viewers through Champions League Finals, European Championships and World Cups as one of the most familiar voices in the sport.
Sky Sport’s Jeff Stelling placed the blame on ageism at ITV, saying on Twitter ‘Clive does more prep and stats than me – and his are useful! Baffling as you are as good as ever! Oh, I forgot Clive you are 65. Ageism alive and well in UK broadcasting.‘
Matterface will also remain with TalkSport as their lead football commentator.
“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. We are very glad he will continue with us and look forward to working with him on many more occasions in the future.” – Niall Sloane, Director of ITV Sport