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25th May 2015

SportsJOE’s Premier League end of season pundits table

There can be only one

Robert Redmond

Who’s won the Premier League pundit championship this season?

With another season ending, we’ve decided to compile a table of football pundits. From those who need to relegated off our screens, to the pundits who are comfortable in mid-table mediocrity to the undisputed Premier League punditry champion.

*Hint, it’s not Robbie Savage.

20. Mark Lawrenson

The pundit doesn’t feature on Match of the Day much these days, but when he does, we’re reminded why. Lawrenson gives the impression that he stopped liking football a long time ago. That he’s forced on-air against his will and, now that he’s here, he’s going to ruin it for everyone.

12 Sep 1984:  Portrait of Mark Lawrenson of the Republic of Ireland before the World Cup qualifying match against the USSR at Lansdowne Road in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Ireland won the match 1-0.  Mandatory Credit: David Cannon /Allsport

18. Owen Hargreaves

Give us one good reason why we shouldn’t relegate this BT pundit…. Thought so.

18. Michael Owen

Another pundit that gives the impression he dislikes football. Owen also doesn’t like films, and described Charlie Adam’s goal from his own half as ‘a long kick’. It appears the former Liverpool striker was born without an imagination, a considerable hindrance for a football commentator.

michael owen

17. Thierry Henry

Wage bill and performance have failed to align, Henry has been the QPR of Premier League punditry this season. Much was expected of Henry before he joined Sky Sports, but the former Arsenal striker hasn’t made a good first impression.


16. Robbie Savage

We can’t believe it either. Robbie Savage isn’t in the relegation zone. The Welshman is like the Nigel Pearson of punditry. Yes, he may be not be to everyone’s tastes, but the league would be a lesser place for his absence. A less annoying place, but what would we do without Fletch & Sav? Who would Paul Scholes call a ‘knob head‘ live on-air? And who would sound like a pirate while commentating on a game?

2012 World Darts Championship - Day One

Savage managed to spend most of his playing career in the Premier League, despite limited talent, and his career as a pundit may follow a similar trajectory.

15. Niall Quinn

The Dubliner is in a unique position as a football pundit. He played at the highest level, he managed Sunderland (for about three games) and he was the club chairman for a few seasons. Unfortunately, he’s not proved popular in his role as a pundit.

Barney Ronay of the Guardian wrote that: ‘during his TV appearances, (Quinn) looks increasingly like a corrupt policeman falsifying evidence in front of a local authority subcommittee…’

Twitter users aren’t as eloquent in their descriptions of the former Ireland forward’s punditry skills.

14. Steve McManaman

The BT pundit was confident Liverpool would beat Manchester United in March. In fact, he was certain, predicting a three-nil win for his former side. There’s nothing wrong with making a incorrect prediction, it happens to us all, but McManaman was so adamant it was as though no other result was possible. It bordered on smugness, as though he was marginally offended someone would ask such a stupid question.

United won 3-1.

As for David James, we actually forgot he was a pundit until we seen this clip.

13. Phil Neville

BBC logic: Former Manchester United defender is a well respected, interesting pundit. So his brother, another former United defender, must therefore also have the potential to be an interesting pundit, right? Right?


Well, not exactly, so far at least. Phil doesn’t have the air-time to convey his football knowledge the way his older brother Gary does on Sky Sports, and lowlights include saying he’d put a two-foot tackle in on Tomas Rosicky if he performed a no-look pass against him. Phil did seem to improve as the season went on though.

12. Jamie Redknapp

A former player wearing a well-tailored suit, not saying a lot and being deferential to famous players. Sorry Thierry, but that’s Redknapp’s job. He literally invented that. Literally.

Henry Redknapp

11. Soccer Saturday

After 172 years, the Sky Sports crew are still going, still producing gaffes and engaging in ‘banter’. This isn’t the place for hard-hitting analysis, but if you enjoy watching middle aged men watch football, while referring to each other by their childhood nicknames, Jeff and the lads are always there.

10. Alan Shearer

In the words of Andy Towsend: ‘Better’. Shearer won’t ever be as good as pundit as he was a footballer, but he’s improved and he’s definitely more suited to being on Match of the Day than he was in the dugout.

9. Paul Scholes

The former Manchester United player spoke for the entire football nation world with his description of Robbie Savage. However, we’re docking Scholes points for trying to claim Jonny Evans didn’t spit at Papiss Cisse, despite millions appearing to witness just that.

"The Class Of 92" - World Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals

8. Lee Dixon

He’s afforded barely any air-time on ITV, but Dixon has a sharp tactical eye and can do what a lot of pundits can’t: tell the viewer how and a why a game was won a lost.

7. Brian Kerr

A joy to listen to, and not just for his Dublin idiosyncrasies and expressions. The former Ireland manager is insightful, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of players and a detailed memory. Kerr is very much the anti-Redknapp or Henry.

6. Graeme Souness

The elder statesman of the Sky Sports football pundits, Souness, unlike many football pundits, has no intention of working in football again. This allows him to be a freer with his views, and offers a refreshing balance to the younger pundits in the Sky studios, particularly when he took on Jose Mouinho earlier this season.

5. Roy Keane

The former Manchester United captain doesn’t offer tactical insight, or appear to be really enjoying the gig, but he’s still box office. Articulate, honest and cutting, Keane is a welcome presence for any football broadcast.

Villarreal CF v Manchester City FC - UEFA Champions League

4. RTE Panel

John Giles, Liam Brady and Eamon Dunphy may be regarded by some as out of touch with modern football, and they probably are, but they still put on a good show. Giles maintains a keen eye for dissecting a game, and cutting through bullshit, Brady expertly plays the role of alternative opinion while Dunphy is still Dunphy. His opinions change between ad-breaks, but he’s still showbiz, baby.

Younger pundits like Didi Hamman, Richie Sadlier and Kenny Cunningham offer a welcome counter-balance to the veterans.


3. Richie Sadlier

On the RTE panel, the Second Captains podcast and in his Sunday Independent column, Sadlier approaches each topic or game with a refreshing level of objectivity. The former Milwall striker speaks honestly about his time as a footballer, goes against perceived football logic and manages to find relevance from his own time as a player to current topics.

Giles may remind Sadlier in the clip below that he didn’t play at a high level, but the Dubliner completely debunks any notion that one needed to play at a high level to be able to talk about the game and offer insight.

2. Jamie Carragher

When it was announced Jamie Carragher would be featuring alongside Gary Neville on Monday Night Football, many football fans were worried. The best football show on television had the potential to become diluted by another pundit’s presence. The consensus was ‘if it’s not broke, why fix it?’

Well Carragher not only didn’t adversely affect the show, he helped improve it. He and Neville have good on-air chemistry and the former Livrpool defender more than holds his own next to his former rival. Carragher has become one of the most prominent voices in football over the past two years.

Carragher MNF

1. Gary Neville

Never in doubt, Neville is the undisputed champion of pundits… again. The former Manchester United defender has the luxury of a lot of air-time on Sky Sports to pour over seemingly minute details of games, but offers unparalleled insight into games.

Neville has shifted the goalposts for pundits. It’s not enough any more to just show up, reel off a few cliches about ‘character’ and ‘fighting spirit’, (although many still do), but football analysts are now expected to actually respect the viewer’s intelligence and tell them how a game has been won or lost.

You learn something every time you listen to Neville.

Gary Neville rugby


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