Clive Tyldesley has said he is “upset, annoyed” and “baffled” to lose his post as ITV’s lead football commentator, saying: “I do not know why this decision has been taken.”
Tyldesley, who has voiced ITV’s biggest matches for 22 years, is to be replaced from the start of next season by TalkSport’s Sam Matterface.
ITV thanked Tyldesley for his “superb work”, saying he will still commentate “particularly at major tournaments”.
Tyldesley said he had not stepped down.
“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, it is ITV’s decision not mine,” he said.
“I’m upset, annoyed, baffled… I would have been entrusted with commentating the Euro 2020 final… 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,” he said.
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“Why? I don’t know, I do not know exactly why this decision has been taken… I’ve got no health issues… I’ve done nothing wrong… Like everyone else in football I’m a matter of opinion, I totally get that.
“I totally respect ITV’s right to change their opinion of me, ITV have been really good for me and yes I’ll carry on as their number two commentator but let me make it quite clear, I have not stepped down, I have been moved aside. I’ve not even thought about winding down about retirement.
“There are thousands of people in this country facing up to job losses and disappointments far more serious than this, I am a lucky boy,” Tyldesley added. “I love my work and I’ve got plenty on. So I’m not making a statement or anything like that, this is not a grave matter of state.
“I’m just telling you that I’m 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 just going to miss the England games so much, even more than I’ll miss the Champions League games, and that’s all.”
‘Glad he’s still with us’
ITV added that he had “guided millions of viewers through Champions League Finals, European Championships and World Cups as one of the most familiar voices in the sport”.
They said Matterface will remain Talksport’s chief football commentator alongside his ITV role.
He also commentates on ITV show Dancing on Ice.
Niall Sloane, director of ITV Sport, said: “On behalf of ITV Sport, I would like to thank Clive for his superb work leading our commentary on some of the biggest occasions in world football throughout his outstanding career with us. We are very glad he will continue with us and look forward to working with him on many more occasions in the future.”
ITV added that Matterface, who is retaining his role as TalkSport’s chief football commentator, regularly commentates for ITV and has worked on coverage of several major tournaments, including the 2018 Russia World Cup.
BBC Match of the Day host Gary Linker paid tribute to Tyldesley.
The Times’ chief football writer Henry Winter said he was “surprised” at ITV’s decision.
Countdown’s Rachel Riley added she was “sorry to hear this”.
ITV Sport’s coverage includes the England football team’s qualifiers for both the European Championship and World Cup, and the FA Cup from 2021.