The start of the Premier League is upon us once again, with teams spending more than the biggest lottery jackpot winners on players whose names most of us can’t even pronounce, said players releasing on-brand messages on their Instagram accounts, and clubs releasing third strips that look like they were designed in a dimly lit basement. In order to make sense of the madness, it’s nice to have an aural accompaniment to cut away all the nonsense and tell it like it really is.
That’s where a really good podcast comes in, and we are going to point you in the direction of five of the best.
The Football Ramble:
No podcast reproduces the sound of mates bantering about football in their local pub more accurately than the long-running Football Ramble podcast. There is a fair deal of rambling in between the football chat, which is not for everybody, but the four hosts (Pete, Luke, Jim and Marcus) have an easy charm and a clear off-pod friendship that carries it off.
Second Captains Football:
This Irish pod has grown a cult following in the UK, thanks to its intelligent and deftly humorous approach to football chat. Presenters Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early and Ciaran Murphy have graduated to national TV and radio appearances in Ireland, but the podcast remains their strongest achievement to date.
Expect a quirky approach, with no guff and no time for the pretensions and hype which football can sometimes attract.
One of the elder statesmen of the podding world, Football Weekly from the Guardian tops many people’s lists of the best soccer podcast out there. Host James Richardson brings his cultured urbanity to proceedings, with long-serving wingman Barry Glendenning providing light relief. With the ability to call upon a pool of Guardian football journos, Football Weekly easily mixes japery with serious football chat.
Another old-timer, The Game is brought to you by a rival UK paper in the form of The Times of London. Gabriele Marcotti is the host, offering a drily assertive counter-weight to some of the more earnest contributors. As with Football Weekly, there is a strong roster of experienced sports journalists to call upon, although The Game tends to take a generally more serious approach than its counterpart at The Guardian.
The Big Interview with Graham Hunter: This is a relatively new podcast compared to some of the others on our list, although host Graham Hunter is a long-established and respected football journalist. This show is a long-form interview, often over two parts, giving Hunter the chance to drill down into the history of his guests. Normally the podcast features retired pros so this is not the place to come for info on the current season, but the conversations often throw up interesting revelations.
That’s our five-a-side of top footy podcasts, but if you want to go for the full eleven then here are six more that finished just outside our list:
Men in Blazers: Wildly popular US-facing soccer podcast.
The Football Show on Off The Ball: Another Irish podcast with a relaxed and humorous style. The 2 Robbies: former players Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle deliver the punditry.
The Magic Sponge: Every-bloke ex-pro Jimmy Bullard plus two comedian pals chat footy.
The Spanish Football Podcast: Sid Lowe and Phil Kitromilides analyse La Liga.
A Team of John O’Sheas: Answering the football questions that no-one is asking!