Since the advent of radio and later television, those charged with describing the events on a football pitch have in some cases become almost as famous as the players themselves. The right commentator can add their own slice of genius to a brilliant or otherwise vital goal, sharing in the immortality of the moment. The following microphone wielders have in their own way left just as much of a mark on the game as the sport's biggest stars, with their words and voices synonymous with football across the world.
When English football first appeared on television in the 1950s and 60s, it was to the lilting tones of this legendary late Lancashire native. Wolstenholme commentated on the first-ever transmission of stalwart program Match of the Day and also brought the FA Cup final into people's homes for the best part of two decades before finally leaving the BBC in 1971. It was the 1966 World Cup final, however, that guaranteed the broadcaster's place in history. In the final seconds of the clash between England and West Germany the Wembley crowd could no longer contain themselves and burst onto the field. “Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over,” Wolstenholme exclaimed, before adding as Geoff Hurst netted England's fourth, decisive goal... “It is now.”
Victor Hugo Morales
He may have been born in Uruguay, but few commentators are as closely linked with Argentine football as Morales. Now in his 70s, the veteran has been based in the South American country since 1981 and continues to add his own distinctive style to games on radio and television. Like Wolstenholme, Morales reached his broadcasting peak during an England World Cup match, but with the Three Lions on the losing side. His description of Diego Maradona's amazing second goal in the 1986 quarter final – 'Cosmic kite, what planet did you come from' – formed the perfect backdrop to one of the finest strikes in the competition's history.
“It's finished! It's finished! The fourth! The fourth!” With those words Brazilian icon Galvao Bueno celebrated Roberto Baggio skying his penalty in the 1994 World Cup final, ending 24 years of drought for Brazil as they secured their fourth win. As well as covering both the 1994 and 2002 wins for media giant Globo, Galvao has also been there for one of the saddest moments in the nation's sporting history, the death of Formula One legend Ayrton Senna. While he is also known in Brazil for his frequent gaffes behind the mic, at 69 he is still going strong after almost 50 years.
Currently president of the Ghanaian Sports Writers' Association, Yeboah has earned a sterling reputation over the years for both his work as a journalist and his exuberant commentary style. His trademark catchphrase, “oluwaa”, whenever a goal is scored has entered popular parlance in his home nation and across Africa, as has his use of the German exclamation Wunderbar when the action gets particularly heated.