Come on Clive...

Published: Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Just for a minute I thought something really serious had happened. There was my mate Clive Tyldesley - sitting at what looked like his breakfast table - with a glorious backdrop of green grass and fir trees - full of emotion. What was he about to tell us? Was somebody in the family a Covid victim? Did he have a terminal illness? No. It was worse than that - he was being replaced as ITV’s lead commentator. Not sacked. Replaced. Kept on as No. 2 - a job he’s previously had. No-one was trashing him - his work or his reputation. Replaced. And replaced by a dammed good operator.

Come on Clive. You’ve had a wonderful run. Of course I know how you feel. It hurts. But it happens.

Try leaving a company for good - watching them drip feed nonsense into the media and then calling your prospective employee to a meeting to threaten them with financial penalties if they continued with their plans to employ you. ‘We thought we’d buried them. We don’t want this’ three senior Sky executives told the commercial manager of talkSPORT - summoned to a meeting at Gillette Corner. Oh, there’s so much more, but that’s for another time.

I mention that only because I too was emotional about my decision to leave Sky. It wouldn’t have been such a problem had it been left there - but it wasn’t. So I’ve rattled back at times.

This is different. This is like moving an important piece on the chess board. Not having it taken. Just moving it   You’re still on the board Clive.

I’ve known Clove since we were both babies. We grew up together at Radio City in Liverpool. He was a brilliant operator. He was the best. He was better than anything national radio had at the time and he knew it, although it didn’t help that he told the bosses at the BBC that his ‘grandmother was a better commentator’ than they had!! And this was at a job interview!! He returned from London to a Birkenhead pub for drinks with me and Bob Paisley. He never applied to radio sport again!!

But I repeat - he was good. Very good. I had ideas of making it as a commentator as well - but I wasn’t anywhere near as good as he was. After four years working together I left to take charge of the sports dept at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester. I was always going to be No 2 had I stayed. No 2!

Clive is a nice guy. He’s deeply thoughtful and cares. He cares about so many people and he’s always the first to show if you’ve got a problem - although I haven’t heard anything from him these past five years. I don’t know why? 🤷‍♂️ That’s how I know ITV’s decision will have cut him to the core. But it isn’t terminal Clive. It isn’t over. Far from it.

I have to say I’m chuffed to bits for Sam Matterface. Like me and Clive - and so many more down the years - he’s done his time and he deserves his chance. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him at TalkSPORT. He’s a top pro.

Sam took a big risk when he left Sky to join TalkSPORT. His gamble has paid off handsomely.

Clive has years left in him yet. There’s a big world outside the borders of the U.K. Clive. Like me, you could always try you hand on the radio again. You were brilliant on the radio.

At beINSPORTS we’re lucky enough to have Peter Drury and Andy Townsend to listen to. Without question this pair are now the unrivalled kings of the mic. They’re the best in the business. Andy is the rightful successor to Andy Gray. He’s calm. Thoughtful. Doesn’t pretend everything matters - and he’s unique because he tells me something I haven’t seen - just like my mate used to. That’s the art of co-comm - tell me ‘why’. Don’t just talk over pictures that I can see.

So many these days talk for the sake of it and bury you in stats. TV has pictures. Let them tell their own tale - ‘names and numbers’ as I was once told. You don’t have to talk for 90 minutes - or try and work a game out after two.

I digress. It’s not the end of the world Clive, although I know it feels like it right now. It’s the end of an era. Sam is a good call. Enjoy it mate. Oh - watch out Martin!!!!