Eilidh Barbour led coverage of Scotland's matches for the BBC

Credit: BBC

When the Euros were last played in England, in 1996, BBC and ITV did not have a single female broadcaster in front of the mic or camera.

I don’t remember any great clamouring for change at the time but we have moved on and the two broadcasters have at least a dozen females on our screens for the current tournament.

They seem to be doing a good job but the only actual commentator I’ve heard is Robyn Cowen who covered the Finland v Russia and Sweden v Slovakia matches for the BBC.

She had Martin Keown and Danny Murphy respectively alongside her. She has an understated and light-hearted style and is easy on the ear. 

I have no argument about women’s inclusion in the coverage of football and other impressive performers during the first phase of the competition have been Eilidh Barbour and Seema Jaswal. Mind you there was little to get too excited about in the matches Robyn covered.

The big commentary job came of course on Friday and England’s poor performance against Scotland. It was the first major showing for Sam Matterface, appointed ITV’s number one ahead of Clive Tyldesley who was much put out by being demoted. 

Matterface seems to be the sort of performer who rightfully accepts that the game is rather more important than him. I can’t remember him coming up with any memorable lines but then again there haven’t been too many in football commentary since dear old Ken with "they think it’s all over" all those years ago. 

Sam has a pleasant voice and was ably assisted by Lee Dixon and Ally McCoist. After he mentioned that the England goalkeeper Pickford had been employing a psychologist to keep him calm, Ally wondered if he could have his number because he was in a state of high anxiety himself. Once a rascal…. 

Roy Keane, Graeme Souness and lan Wright were outstanding with their comments at half and full time. If you’re of a nervous disposition, better to avoid them. 

Graeme Souness was forthright in his opinion about England


Tyldesley’s strident tones could be heard on the Denmark v Belgium match. Once again McCoist was his sidekick. In the 10th minute, play paused in honour of Christian Eriksen and Tyldesley dealt with it by showing much understanding and compassion. 

I have always wondered why ex-professional players have rarely if ever tried their hands at football commentary. Legions of them turn up on various channels as pundits or co-commentators but never have a go at the number one job. It may be to do with the workload involved.

I have known commentators on foreign trips who lock themselves away in their hotel rooms as they pore over notes and statistics, so that they can produce a fact in case a similar action happens in the game