It seems to be a natural progression – have a successful sports career and then move into the media to talk about the sport you were successful in. In August, Gary Neville became the latest sports personality to go down this well trodden path. But who are the other sporting personalities who have made the transition from being good at playing their sport, to being good at talking about it? Here are the top 5 sports people who have transformed into good presenters and/or journalists.
5. Jonathan Agnew
Affectionately known as Aggers to regular listeners of BBC Radio’s Test Match Special, Jonathan Agnew had a successful cricketing career. He played for Leicestershire from 1979 to 1990 and played 3 test matches for England. Having retired, Agnew became even better known for commentating on TMS, and was on duty to report England’s famous Ashes series victory at the beginning of this year.
4. Alan Hansen
Alan Hansen was a superb central defender for both Liverpool and Scotland. He won 8 League Championship medals and 3 European Cups during Liverpool’s glory years of the 1970s and 1980s. Having retired in 1991, Hansen went on to become a regular pundit on BBC’s Match of the Day. He is best known for his analysis of defending, which often highlights shocking mistakes, and for his famous phrase ‘’you can’t win anything with kids’’.
3. Gary Lineker
Before television presenting, Gary Lineker was a prolific striker during the 1980s. He remains England’s top scorer in World Cup finals with 10 goals, and was the top scorer in the 1986 World Cup. At club leve,l he played for Leicester, Everton, Barcelona, Tottenham and Nagoya Grampus Eight scoring regularly for all of these clubs. In retirement, he became known for advertising Walkers crisps, before becoming the main presenter on Match of the Day.
2. Martin Brundle
Martin Brundle was a talented driver, finishing second to the great Ayrton Senna in the 1983 British F3 Championship. He then moved into F1, where he became known for his gritty and determined drives but unfortunately, he did not win a grand prix throughout his entire F1 career. However, upon his retirement in 1996, Brundle may well have found his true calling in the form of commentating and punditry. His grid walks before the races have become an essential part of F1 coverage, and his commentating style filled with witty comments and one-liners continues to entertain.
1. John McEnroe
John McEnroe was among the greatest tennis players of his era winning 7 Grand Slam titles between 1977 and 1992. He was even more well known for his fiery temper and on-court outbursts, making famous the phrase ‘’you cannot be serious!’’. Now a commentator, McEnroe remains outspoken and opinionated, and is an entertaining contributor to BBC’s Wimbledon coverage every year.
Images courtesy of Jonathan Agnew, Alan Hansen, Gary Lineker, Martin Brundle and John McEnroe