Although Bayern Munich were pushed all the way by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, their victory allows us to reflect on a remarkable season. They've set a high bar...
That's the difference between him and someone like Cristiano Ronaldo - his body just isn't right. We have mails on him, Sparky, Brendan Rodgers and the Europa Lge...
10 - Tim Lovejoy on Ray Parlour, 2002 FA Cup final
Scadenfreude is not only funny, but it's also both big and clever, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Particularly when you're laughing at someone so terrifically pleased with themselves, and particularly when that person has very little cause to be quite so delighted with what they see in the mirror. Of course, writing anything about Tim Lovejoy is basically pointless, because all one needs to do is refer, once again, to Taylor Parkes's magnificent review of 'Lovejoy On Football' from When Saturday Comes. So read that, and savour Lovejoy's 'FanZone' commentary for the 2002 FA Cup final, as Ray Parlour picks up the ball. When Bradley Walsh is comfortably the second-most objectionable person in any duo, it's time to think about how you're living your life.
9 - Barry Davies on Italy v South Korea, 2002 World Cup
The first of several appearances for Barry Davies on this list, the reason simply being that he's the best. Hearing Davies at the Olympics and Wimbledon these days is both comforting and frustrating, as assorted blowhards and men with prepared lines continue to describe football today, while Davies withdrew from the game in 2004. In an interview with Rob Smyth from The Blizzard, Davies was asked a few times why he chose particular words in his more iconic pieces of commentary, and his response was simple: "I just said what I thought. It's become a bit of a personal cliché: I say what I think and hope the foot is sufficiently far away from the mouth." No affectation, no rehearsed quips, no awful puns, just a man who understood the sport, articulating it perfectly.
On this occasion, Italy took the lead over the underdog hosts in the 18th minute, only to sit on it for so long with little further ambition until South Korea inevitably firstly drew level, then got the golden goal winner in extra-time. Like an exasperated school master after hearing of bad behaviour from a talented yet errant pupil, Davies exclaimed: "And the Italians are out because they will not learn." It summed up 20 years of irritation at an Italian side constantly filled with gifted players, but didn't fulfil their potential. It would no doubt have satisfied Davies that, four years later, they did learn.
8 - Martin Tyler on Tony Adams, 1998
Seven years without winning the league doesn't sound quite so bad for Arsenal these days. Especially since, between 1991 and 1998, they had the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup to tide them over. Still, it was a relatively barren spell, but on a sunny day at the end of the 1997/98 season, Arsenal were 3-0 up over Everton, the title was won and it seemed like anything could happen at Highbury. Indeed, Steve Bould clipping a perfect pass through to Tony Adams to run through and score encapsulated how Gooners must have felt on that day - they'd gone from cloggers to champions, playing wonderful, often audacious football. Tyler spoke, with an air of incredulity in his voice: "And it's Tony Adams put through by Steve Bould...WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!? That...sums it all up." And it did.
7 - Barry Davies on Tottenham v Arsenal, FA Cup semi-final, 1991
Not one moment this, but a couple. Firstly, as Paul Gascoigne lined up that goal, Davies vocalised what everyone was wondering about this free-kick from a seemingly outrageous distance. "Is Gascoigne going to have a crack? He is you know...", and then as the shot rocketed into the top corner; "OH I SAY! BRILLIANT! That...is...School Boy's Own stuff...is there anything left from this man to surprise us?" Alas, the answer to that latter statement was 'Yes', but rarely in a good way.
Then, later in the game, Gary Lineker broke from the Spurs half and used the run of Vinny Samways to deceive the Arsenal defence, and Davies took over: "Nayim to the left, Samways ahead...Lineker uses him by not using him...good try...HE'S SCORED!" As was usually the case with Davies, it was simple, without needless flourish, but still perfect.
6 - Brian Moore on Ronald Koeman, World Cup qualifier, 1993
There aren't many situations in which Brian Moore and Al Pacino are similar. Moore, the wise old man of ITV's commentary team, was a comforting, avuncular presence in the days when live top division football was on terrestrial TV. By 1993 that had gone, leaving only the odd England game for Moore to dispense his knowledge on, in this case the penultimate game of England's doomed and hilarious qualifying campaign for the 1994 World Cup. England of course needed to beat the Dutch to stay in contention, and even a draw would have been okay with the gimme of San Marino to come for them, and a tricky trip to Poland for the Netherlands.
After an hour, the Dutch were given a free-kick on the very edge of the area, which Ronald Koeman lined up. The Barcelona defender had a reputation for blasting set-pieces, and indeed had won the European Cup for Barca the previous year with just such a pile-driver. He tried such a tactic with the first effort but Paul Ince, for reasons passing understanding, thought he could charge down the direct free-kick and get away with it - he ended up five yards away, and was quite correctly booked. Everyone assumed Koeman would try the same thing with the re-taken kick, but Moore knew different. As Koeman lined it up, Moore had a moment of clarity and realised what the defender had planned. "He's gonna flick one now...he's gonna flick one...HE'S GONNA FLICK ONE...AND IT'S IN!"
It was said with a mixture of urgency and panic, in the manner of a man who had spotted the danger but had no time to warn the players, because that's exactly what he had done. It sounded like Moore desperately wanted to freeze time and rush down to the bench to let Graham Taylor know what was about to happen. He sounded like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, when he realises that Appolonia's car has been rigged with a bomb, but can't get there in time to stop it from exploding. For Appolonia, read David Seaman.
5 - George Hamilton on David O'Leary, 1990 World Cup second round
Penalty shoot-outs are simultaneously the best and worst thing about football. Hugely unfair but enormously entertaining, and of course dramatic. When it involves a national side, it must be tricky for any vaguely patriotic commentator to maintain an air of calm and professionalism while still conveying the obvious tension of the situation. It's actually a balance that isn't absolutely essential (see the top of this list), but it is something that George Hamilton managed in the 1990 World Cup.
Ireland faced Romania in the second round, and after a goalless 120 minutes the tie went to spot-kicks. The first eight went in, then Pat Bonner kept out Romania's fifth from Daniel Timofte, leaving David O'Leary with the chance to put Ireland through. "The nation holds its breath," said Hamilton as O'Leary stepped forward. "YES! WE'RE THERE!"
4 - Clive Tyldesley on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Champions League final 1999
Sometimes, the simplest and most obvious ones are the moments that, even as a neutral, still send shivers down the spine.
3 - Barry Davies on Diego Maradona, 1986 World Cup quarter-final
As the football world grows smaller, with games from across the globe freely available to anyone with a respectable broadband connection, the role of the commentator is changing. It's no longer really acceptable for English commentators to be flag-wavers, one-eyed summarisers referring to 'we' and with only scant regard for the opposition. However, commentators are still reflections of us as fans, and as well as describing the action, we want/need them to encapsulate a mood. Very occasionally they manage to perfectly capture the way we feel.
This was of course the game in which Diego Maradona gave Argentina the lead by punching the ball into the net (a goal for which Peter Shilton receives curiously little criticism, incidentally), then a few minutes later provided one of the great goals the World Cup has seen. Bryon Butler's commentary for BBC Radio ("Maradona, turns like a little eel, he comes away from trouble, little squat man...") was of course wonderful, but Davies exactly summed up how any England fan must feel with, "You have to say that's magnificent."
Actually, it was half what he said, half the momentary pause between the anguished "Oh" when the ball went in, and the vocalised recognition of what an extraordinary goal it was. In that pause Davies, like most England fans, went from seeing Maradona as a cheating little bastard to a genius. It was almost grudging, an acknowledgment that this man was better than anything 'our' team had then, and would probably ever have, and that one simply had to put partisanship aside and admire a sensational footballer.
2 - Peter Jones describes Hillsborough, 1989
It might seem a little incongruous for such an event to appear in a whimsical and light-hearted list, but Peter Jones's final minute on air for BBC radio's coverage of the Hillsborough disaster had such a simple, poignant beauty that it would be even more incongruous to leave it out. Of course it's best to listen to the whole thing, but here is his address, looking over a ground laid to waste by tragedy.
"The biggest irony is that the sun is shining now, and Hillsborough's quiet and over there to the left are the green Yorkshire hills, and who would've known that people would die here in the stadium this afternoon. I don't necessarily want to reflect on Heysel, but I was there that night, broadcasting with Emlyn Hughes, and he was sitting behind me this afternoon, and after half an hour of watching stretchers going out and oxygen cylinders being brought in and sirens screaming, he touched me on the shoulder and said 'I can't take anymore', and Emlyn Hughes left.
"The gymnasium here, at Hillsborough, is being used as a mortuary for the dead, and at this moment stewards have got little paper bags, and they're gathering up the personal belongings of the spectators. And there are red and white scarves of Liverpool, and red and white bobble hats of Liverpool, and red and white rosettes of Liverpool, and nothing else. And the sun shines now."
1 - Jack van Gelder on Dennis Bergkamp, 1998 World Cup, against Argentina
Sometimes, it's best to remember that commentators are fans too. Jack van Gelder has been reporting on sport for assorted Dutch outlets for over 40 years, and it's fair to say he's an emotional man. His description of Patrick Kluivert's goal in the 1995 Champions League final proved that, but it's the commentary on Dennis Bergkamp's utterly brilliant winner for the Netherlands in Marseille that was perhaps the most perfect example of fandom meeting journalism.
We in England had Davies's brilliant "Beautifully pulled-down by Bergkaaaaaamp...WHAT A GOAL!", but the Dutch had Van Gelder. Speaking at a pace where words almost became one long phlegmy noise, as Bergkamp brought down Frank de Boer's brilliant cross-field pass, Van Gelder simply began shouting the Arsenal forward's name. Those shouts turned very rapidly into guttural screams as Bergkamp firstly brought down the ball, then beat Roberto Ayala with a masterful second touch then flicked it past Carlos Roa with the perfect third. Van Gelder continued to bawl "DENNIS BERGKAMP!" over and over, before losing the ability to hold it in any longer and burst into tears. In a run-of-the-mill league game, it might have been strange, but in the quarter-final of the World Cup, it was as perfect as Bergkamp's goal. At that point sport was pure emotion, and Van Gelder was just like you and me.
Special mentions to 'It's up for grabs now', 'Look at his face, just look at his face' and this piece of extraordinary American hyperbole.
With thanks to Matt Furniss and Chris Skinner on Twitter.
Jim Montgomery's save in 1973 Cup Final is up there because the two commentaries actually said it was a goal "And a great save....AND A GOAL..NO" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZmFoo4payA- TheGuru