Andy Townsend was trending on Twitter during England’s drab 1-0 victory over Estonia on Sunday night as the world of social media grew tired of his constant stream of generic football clichés.
A number of Twitter users questioned why broadcasters ITV hadn’t replaced Townsend for England matches, given that the action on the pitch certainly wasn’t enough to draw in the mass audiences that used to follow international football.
As a result, The Independent carried out a poll to determine who was the worst football co-commentator that forced people to turn off live coverage even if they wanted to watch the match live.
Over 2,500 people registered votes in four-hour voting period, and the results don’t make good reading for ITV’s go-to man.
The poll closed at 3pm on Monday afternoon, and after the votes were counted, we bring you the results everyone wanted to know.
Leading the way was former Republic of Ireland international Townsend with nearly 900 votes to take a majority 37%, as the public demanded for change. ITV have stuck by Townsend even though his basic detail of the matches he covers has been criticised for a number of years, and at a time when interest in the English national team is at a worryingly low level, Townsend isn’t the man to convince fans to switch on the TV and cheer on Roy Hodgson’s side.
In second place with nearly 600 votes is BT Sport’s Michael Owen. The former England striker may have been a rampant success in front of goal, but he can’t reproduce his form on the gantry as he takes 23% of the vote. There’s no doubting Owen has improved since making a monotonous debut when the sport channel launched in 2013, but he still has some way to go before winning over the public.
Estonia 0 England 1 player ratings
Estonia 0 England 1 player ratings
1/12 Joe Hart
Another quiet night for England’s No 1. A spectator for the most part in Tallinn, though his distribution was wayward at times when required. 6/10
2/12 Calum Chambers
Often sloppy on the ball but matches like this will stand him in good stead for the future, especially when being played out of position. 5
3/12 Gary Cahill
Fast becoming Mr Dependable in England’s backline. Always in the best position, and gave Estonia’s forwards no chance during rare attacks. 8
4/12 Phil Jagielka
A slightly subdued performance but made up for that with a couple of well-timed challenges. Not over-worked but solid alongside Cahill. 5
5/12 Leighton Baines
Plenty of time and space to attack, with his passing as slick as his hairstyle. Rooney should have put away left-back’s cross in the first half. 7
6/12 Jack Wilshere
Despite his starting position as the deep-lying midfielder, he constantly looked to set England on the attack. A couple of delightful through-balls. 9
7/12 Jordan Henderson
Steady from the Liverpool midfielder, with some great movement but the 24-year-old lacked incision with his final ball. Can do better. 6
8/12 Fabian Delph
Often found himself reverting to left-back as cover for the adventurous Baines who was always looking to get forward. Replaced after 61 minutes. 5
9/12 Adam Lallana
The attacking tip of Hodgson’s diamond. Linked up well with Rooney, Henderson and Wilshere and made promising runs into dangerous areas. 6
10/12 Wayne Rooney
His celebration was one of pure relief after his missed chances began stacking up. Stepped up with fine free-kick when it mattered. 7
11/12 Danny Welbeck
Sluggish. The Arsenal man just could not get going at all in Tallinn. Heavy in the touch. Had to drop back to get any involvement in the game. 4
12/12 Best of the bench: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
His pace posed some problems as the clock wound down, and he came close to setting up Rooney for a late second which the captain couldn’t finish. 6
And completing the podium is veteran BBC co-commentator Mark Lawrenson, who received 328 votes which results in 13% of the overall result. Having seen his former Match of the Day colleague Alan Hansen call it a day at the end of last season, it might be time for ‘Lawro’ to do the same, at least when it comes to calling the shots during matches.
At the other end of the spectrum, Gary Neville unsurprisingly received the lowest number of votes, and the former Manchester United and England star retains his reputation as the best co-commentator and analyst currently going on the market.
Of course, these results only show the opinion of those who voted and are in no way a factual reflection of the individuals in question and their talents on the microphone. But at a time when voicing an opinion has never been easier due to the advancements in technology and social media, it appears the people have spoken.
The winner of the poll is undoubtedly Sky Sports, as their three main co-commentators in Gary Neville, Smith and Quinn fill the bottom three positions. It seems their main rivals still have work to do if they are to catch up the competition.