Clive Tyldesley has expressed his frustration and annoyance at being dropped as ITV’s main football commentator after 22 years in the role.
The broadcaster confirmed on Tuesday that Tyldesley will be replaced by Sam Matterface as their head commentator, who will also remain as the chief commentator for the radio station TalkSport.
While ITV did not give a reason for their decision, they thanked Tyldesley for his “superb work” and confirmed that he will still work with them in the future.
Speaking in a video posted to Twitter, Tyldesley said he was “upset” and “baffled” by the decision.
“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, this is ITV’s decision, not mine. I’m upset, annoyed, baffled. I would have interested in commentating on 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.
“I love this job and it’s gone. Why? I don’t know. I do not know why this decision has been taken. Already I’ve had the producer of a broadcast that I am working on asking me if I have any health issues. No, I have got no health issues. [They were] asking me if it was something that I had done, no there’s nothing.”
Tyldesley became ITV’s main football commentator after the 1998 World Cup having joined from the BBC two years previously.
He adamantly stated that the decision to demote him from main commentator was not due to a change in behaviour or attitude while he expressed his disappointment at not being able to cover England’s international games anymore.
“I gather that one or two sites have been reporting that I’ve been sacked, well I guess that I have from the job but I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m the same person, the same broadcaster that I’ve always been, like me or hate me, and you’re entitled to do either.
“Like everybody else in football, I am a matter of opinion and I totally get that. I totally respect ITV’s right to change their opinion of me. ITV have been very good for me and I will carry on as their number two commentator.
ITV have replaced me as their main football commentator… pic.twitter.com/S8UOjvwEck
— Clive Tyldesley (@CliveTyldesley) July 14, 2020
“But let me make it quite clear, I have not stepped down. I have been moved, moved aside.
“I have not even thought about winding down towards retirement or anything like that. There are thousands of people in this country facing job losses and disappointments far more serious than this. I’m a lucky boy, I love my work and I’ve got plenty on.
“This is not a grave matter of state, I’m just trying to explain, I’m telling you that I am really, really disappointed about this. I don’t know why I’m being replaced, I’m well, I’m able, I’m available and I’m going to miss the England games so much, even more than I miss the Champions League games.”