In the build up to the Champions League Final, Avram Grant spoke of great opportunities and great moments. I don't think he quite had Martin Tyler and Andy Gray in mind when he spoke, but once again they showed why they are the best football commentators/announcers around.
Tyler, for those of you who don't know, has been at the top of his business for over 25 years, commentating on almost every major moment there's been on a football field, whether for ITV, Sky or other international broadcasters.
Gray, the former Scotland and Everton striker has been at his side for the best part of twenty years and has become somewhat of a cult figure for his cries of "Take a bow son" and "What a ... , Martin."
Over the course of the season they do more games together than I care to remember, and they do on occasion drive me mad with their opinions on various issues, but in Moscow they were peerless. Gray for once put his head above the parapet and latched straight on to Chelsea's crowding of Lubos Michel, the Slovakian referee, emphasising his displeasure.
He continued that while watching the farce that led to Didier Drogba's sending off, afterwards remarking that if they had just thrown the ball back as to Cech, as they subsequently did, the whole situation would have been avoided.
Tyler was as accurate as ever, especially in his array of information—even recalling Ryan Giggs missing in an FA Cup penalty shoot-out against Southampton so long ago that even Giggs would have trouble recalling it. His best efforts though were reserved for his on-screen best mate relationship with Gray.
After Drogba went down from a mid-air collision Tyler dropped his right hand man in it by asking, as a former striker, whether Gray had suffered from many impact injuries in his career. Gray, not willing to call it a blatant dive or show too much sympathy for the striker, laughed it off with a "it can happen" remark.
Later when Tyler wondered how the fans would be getting home from the ground, Gray replied with the obvious, "I'm worried about how we're getting home." Tyler, on the ball as ever, fired back with a joke about Gray having a limo to take him back, to which the Scot could only laugh.
Their finest moment, however, was saved for penalties. Tyler was armed with all the facts while Gray seemingly second guessed every situation. "I daren't say it let alone think about it," Gray said as Cristiano Ronaldo wandered forward, "but what if he missed?"
A similar comment followed as John Terry wandered forward with victory in his sights and the Scotsman also immediately picked up on Terry's slip. The clincher though was saved for the final act. Anelka put the ball down and as he lined up Gray echoed the thoughts of many, "I don't like short run ups," and then after a brief pause said, "But what do I know."
He picked the save perfectly, doing all that an expert analyst should do and capping a great game for two men who work at time when commentary standards are dropping.
Tyler and Gray, take a bow.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!