Clive Tyldesley has revealed he is “upset, annoyed and baffled” after ITV announced he is being dropped as their main football commentator from next season.
The 65-year-old learned of the channel’s decision to demote him to a secondary role last month when he still had plans to keep commentating on England games.
Tyldesley – who was the voice of the Champions League in the UK for 17 years and has also covered major international tournaments, the FA Cup and many more high-profile fixtures for a free-to-air audience – shared his disappointment in a video on Twitter.
He will effectively swap jobs with Sam Matterface, who is to carry on combining his work for ITV with his position as Talksport’s chief football commentator.
Tyldesley said: “To be clear, this is ITV’s decision, not mine. I’m upset, annoyed, baffled.”
He continued: “I would have been entrusted with commentating the EURO 2020 final for them less than 48 hours ago, 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.”
Tyldesley admitted he has yet to get his “head around” the demotion, which he sees as a sacking of sorts, and does not know why it has happened amid speculation that his age played a part.
Sky Sports continues to employ 74-year-old Martin Tyler as its lead commentator on the Premier League and some England matches.
Tyldesley said: “Quite a few people have been in touch with me asking me to comment. I’m not sure that would be a very good idea at the moment.
“I love this job, and it’s gone. Why? I don’t know. I do not know exactly why this decision has been taken.
“Already, I’ve got the producer of a broadcast that I am working on asking me if I’ve got any health issues – no, I have got no health issues – asking me if it’s something that I’ve done – no, there’s nothing.
“I gather that one or two sites are reporting that I’ve been sacked. Well, I guess I have from one job, but I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Tyldesley confirmed he has agreed to stay on at ITV as their understudy – a role which tends to involve commentating for highlights shows and less prominent matches at summer tournaments – though he reiterated his bemusement at the new arrangement.
He added: “I’m the same broadcaster, the same person that I’ve always been, like me or hate me, and you’re entitled to do either. Like everybody else in football, I’m a matter of opinion, and I totally get that – and 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 No.2 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 towards retirement or anything like that.”