12 of the Best Goal Commentaries of All Time 

Tony MabertContributor IFebruary 9, 2012

12 of the Best Goal Commentaries of All Time 

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    The art of football commentary has come a long way over the years.

    From the upper-class voice prosaically describing events on the pitch from the days before television, to the hyperbolic screeching some favour in today's expensively-assembled broadcasts, the commentator has been a part of our football experience for more than 80 years.

    In that time there have been some seminal moments called by commentators which have helped to augment as well as describe the action on the field for us.

    Here are a dozen great moments of commentary—in chronological order and all involving English teams—from down the years. Most of the entries here have accompanying video too.

    Please feel free to add any others you can think of below.

David Coleman: '1-0!'

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    A true pioneer in the art of sports commentary, Coleman's career in the gantry and behind the desk in the studio lasted almost 50 years and took in 11 Olympic Games and six World Cups.

    Although he was prone to the odd verbal gaffe—ultimately spawning the phrase, "Colemanballs"—his voice was a knowledgeable and authoritative presence alongside myriad iconic images beamed around the globe on the BBC.

    Whenever a team scored the opening goal in a match, Coleman would announce the news with the crisp declaration, "One-nil!" and a catchphrase was born.

Kenneth Wolstenholme: 'They Think It's All Over'

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    Coleman had to repeatedly say his catch phrase for it to stick, but Wolstenholme only had to say his most memorable phrase once.

    With England 3-2 up in extra time of the World Cup final, striker Geoff Hurst charged up the field on the break in the dying moments.

    Some of the over-excited Wembley crowd invaded the field in the mistaken belief that the final whistle had been blown. As Hurst smashed the ball past West Germany goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski, Wolstenholme uttered the immortal words, "Here comes Hurst. Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over. It is now! It's four!"

    Wolstenholme's words have taken on extra significance as the years have passed with no more English success on the international stage, and there was even a sports quiz show which took the famous line for its name in the 1990's.

Barry Davies: 'And You Have to Say That Is Magnificent'

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    One of many memorable calls from Davies, who could turn his hand to many sports—not least the World Stare-Out Championships—but will be remembered by most for his work at football grounds.

    One of his best came at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico during England's quarterfinal clash with Argentina. 

    The game is chiefly remembered for two things, both involving Diego Maradona. The first was his infamous "Hand of God" goal, and the second his exceptional solo goal.

    Davies' commentary of the latter perfectly summed up the mood of grudging respect felt by those watching back in England when he said, "And you have to say that is magnificent."

Brian Moore: 'It's Up for Grabs Now'

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    Quite possibly the greatest finish to a season in the English league, and it was called superbly by Brian Moore. 

    The match between title rivals, Liverpool and Arsenal, had to be rearranged because of the Hillsborough in 1999, and as such was eventually played on a Friday night at the end of the campaign. 

    Arsenal needed to win by two clear goals to stop Liverpool from retaining the title, and when Michael Thomas broke through with seconds of to go at Anfield, Moore cried, "It's up for grabs now" just before Thomas scored a thrilling championship-winning goal.

Barry Davies: 'Is Gascoigne Going to Have a Crack? He Is, You Know…'

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    Davies again, this time calling one of Paul Gascoigne's finest moments.

    The 1991 FA Cup semifinal between North London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal was the first ever to be played at Wembley, though it was due to the demands for tickets rather than because the FA were frantically trying the pay for the new stadium as they do today.

    With just five minutes on the clock, Gascoigne strode up to a dead ball some 30 yards from goal and fired his piledriver of a free kick right into the top corner.

    Davies asking the question out loud followed by his sheer delight at the ball flying in was a treat, as was his immediate summation, "That is schoolboy's own stuff."

Jonathan Pearce: 'Ready… Steady… Teddy…'

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    The 1996 European Championships was held in England and it saw the host nation give one of their best ever performances at a major tournament.

    The crowning glory of that summer was their 4-1 win over Netherlands, and Jonathan Pearce's radio commentary of that match—in particular Teddy Sheringham's goal (around the 1:40 mark)—has been put together perfectly alongside the unofficial anthem of the championships, Three Lions.

    His ecstatic hollering may not have been to everyone's taste, but there is no denying that it captured the mood of a nation perfectly, "The Dutch weren't ready, the defence wasn't steady, and there was good old Teddy!" Mind you, the glass of sherry line was probably overkill.

Martin Tyler: 'He's Cut Arsenal to Ribbons'

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    Another tremendous bit of commentary brought via the FA Cup, this time by Sky's Martin Tyler in 1999.

    With Manchester United down to 10 men at Highbury and Arsenal looking most likely to score the winner in extra time, Ryan Giggs picked up on a poor pass from Patrick Vieira in midfield. 

    No doubt you have seen Gigg's wonderful jinking run from his own half and wonderful near-post finish, but the work of Tyler in the commentary box still added to the drama.

    As Giggs wheeled away, twirling his shirt in celebration, Tyler told it how it was when he said, "Sensational run from Ryan Giggs! He's cut Arsenal to ribbons, and the team with 10 men go back in front!"  

John Motson: 'Emile Heskey, Could It Be Five?'

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    Clearly there is a theme here. Many of these entries are based on some of England's finest moments, but it is the nature of international football for such incidents  to be the ones that are shared by so many.

    When England was beating Germany 4-1 in their World Cup qualifier in Munich, it was difficult for those supporting either side to comprehend.

    That bafflement was summed up perfectly by Motson as Paul Scholes squared the ball to his teammate. The disbelief in the commentator's voice as he asks the question, "Emile Heskey. Could it be five?" is something to behold. 

    The fact that it was a fifth England goal in Munich was crazy enough, but the fact that is was Heskey scoring it was almost too much for many to take.

Clive Tyldesley: 'Remember the Name Wayne Rooney!'

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    The common misconception is that Wayne Rooney's incredible 90th-minute winner against Arsenal in 2002 came on his Everton debut. In fact, the striker had already made nine first-team appearances before then, and had scored twice in a League Cup tie two weeks previously.

    Still, his fizzing, curling strike that beat David Seaman and ended Arsenal's 30-match unbeaten run was the moment he truly announced his arrival to the world.

    ITV's Clive Tyldesley gave a brilliant portent of what was to come after the 16-year-old became the Premier League's youngest goalscorer by ordering everyone at home to, "Remember the name Wayne Rooney!" 

    It has been difficult to forget ever since.

Andy Gray: 'Oh You Beauty!'

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    All of the entries so far have been for the leading men, but here is a shootout to the colour commentator.

    When Steven Gerrard smashed in Liverpool's third goal in the Champions League group match against Olympaikos, ensuring the Reds' progress int he competition, Martin Tyler was the match commentator for Sky.

    However, it was his colleague Andy Gray who did the work on this one, screaming, "Oooh you beauty! What a hit, son! What a hit!"

    Whatever has happened to Gray's career since—namely an enforced move out of Sky and into talk radio—no Liverpool fan will ever forget his wild celebration. The fact that Gray is a former Everton striker perhaps makes it just that little bit sweeter for Reds supporters.

Martin Tyler: 'MACHEDA!'

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    Tyler and Gray again, only this time it's Tyler taking centre stage once more.

    The 2008-09 season was the one in which Rafael Benitez's Liverpool came closer than ever to winning the title. Manchester United were two points behind the Reds when they hosted Aston Villa at Old Trafford at the start of April.

    Cristiano Ronaldo's second goal of the game had the match poised at 2-2 going into stoppage time when 17-year-old debutant Federico Macheda—on for his United debut as a substitute—turned swiftly on the edge of the area and bent his shot around Brad Friedel and into the net.

    Tyler's voice completely cracked as he screamed the name, "MACHEDAAAAARGH!!" encapsulating the sheer thrill and the importance of that goal in one gargling cry.

    Hounourable mention too for Gray's contribution of, "Take a bow, son. Take a bow."

Alan Partridge: 'He Must Have a Foot Like a Traction Engine'

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    All of the aforementioned commentators have served their profession in exemplary fashion over the years, but their job is ripe for parody.

    Step forward Sir Alan of Partridge. Steve Coogan's comedy creation went on to great success with his own chat show and two series of his sitcom, but it was on spoof news show The Day Today where he first arrived on our television screens.

    This montage of a completely random selection of goals from the mid-90's is quite brilliantly commentated by Partridge. It is become one of the most the most quotable comedy sketches ever, with every line a classic.

    If you have never seen this before, I truly envy you.

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