(Picture: Action Images via Reuters)
By Matt Bishop
He has one of the most iconic voices in football, and has witnessed some of the greatest moments this sport has ever produced, but broadcaster Martin Tyler – just like many others across the country – will be dreaming of FA Cup glory this weekend.
Despite commentating on thousands of games at the highest level, and interviewing stars such as Pele and Sir Alex Ferguson, the 72-year-old’s heart lies in non-league with boyhood club Woking, and Hampton & Richmond Borough – where he is first team coach.
The National League South side take on their league rivals Truro City on Saturday afternoon, with a place in the FA Cup first round proper up for grabs – where League One and Two clubs will join the draw on Monday evening.
Tyler can’t make the fourth round qualifying tie, due to the small matter of Liverpool vs. Manchester United at Anfield, but the former Corinthian-Casuals striker will be eagerly anticipating the full-time result at the Beveree Stadium.
“Broadcasting is my number one job,” Tyler told BBC Sport. “I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t doing Liverpool against Manchester United.
“I’m a commentator first and foremost who helps out at Hampton & Richmond Borough when I’m not commentating.
“I’ll be on the train back home when the match is going on.
“The guy who does the club updates on Twitter is away celebrating his wedding anniversary this weekend so I’ll wait for a call from Dowse [manager Alan Dowson] to find out the result.”
Tyler has a special relationship with Dowson, having been part of his backroom staff at his two previous clubs – Kingstonian, and Walton and Hersham – but the commentator goes even further back with the ex-Millwall man.
“Dowse used to coach my son Adam’s Sunday League team – Cobham Boys – and I used to help him put the cones out,” added Tyler.
“He got the manager’s job at Walton and Hersham and he asked me to come and help. I thought he meant as a press officer but he said come and coach. I loved being back in the dressing room.
“I wanted to be a footballer, I never had any intentions of becoming a coach. I’m really there to put the balls, bibs and cones out, fill the water bottles.
“The players are great, I’m old enough to be their grandad but I don’t feel my age. I can’t run anymore but I make them run!”
Tyler was most recently on the touchline during Hampton & Richmond’s draw with FA Cup opponents Truro last week, a game that ended 1-1 to make it five draws in a row for the Beavers, a predictable result for those with Sports Betting at Betdaq.
“We’re unbeaten in our last seven league games but the last six have been draws – so don’t rule out a replay in Cornwall,” said Tyler.
“I love being in the dugout, even though every now and again I get ‘you should have stayed on the telly’ shouted at me’!”
“Nobody has said to me I’m too old for it. I’m sure that day will come. Someone will retire me from broadcasting and someone will retire me from coaching. But as long as I can contribute, I will carry on.”
Catch up with all the weekend’s FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying action in Sunday’s @NonLeaguePaper.