I am a little bit obsessed by football podcasts and, as a Sunderland fan, I’m almost spoiled for choice; we have The Roar from the Echo, the BBC’s Sunderland AFC podcast, Wise Men Say, The Wearside Podcast, and of course, our very own suite of regular Roker Rapport podcasts all covering the weekly goings on at Sunderland AFC in great depth.
Now football has been suspended for the rest of March, and who knows when it will come back, the topical podcasts will all but grind to a halt. But whether you’re looking for something nostalgic, a history lesson, a laugh or something a little bit more in depth and academic, there’s still something out there for you.
The team at Roker Rapport are currently working away on some timeless content to fill your days in self-isolation or working from home, but in the meantime we’d like to share with you some of our favorites “evergreen” football shows.
Roker Rapport Interviews
Let’s start with what we know and love. We have an unrivaled back catalogue of interviews with former Sunderland players, coaches and — yes — even the current owners of the club available for you to download or stream for free.
The pods feature all the legends you could ever want, including Lee Barry Cattermole, Niall Quinn, Bob Murray, Lee Howey, Kevin Ball, Lorik Cana, Vito Manone, Chris Makin and Phil Bardsley and Mel Reay.
The Price of Football
The finances of football have never been more interesting or topical, and this reasonably new podcast, still in its first season, is one I consume as soon as it appears on my feed.
Between them Premier League clubs had just over £1 billion in their bank accounts in their most recent annual accounts. pic.twitter.com/ip0GxnJZkn— PriceOfFootball (@KieranMaguire) March 13, 2020
Palace fan and former Match of the Day 2 presenter Kevin Day hosts football finance guru Kieran “The Baron” Maguire of Liverpool University for what is now a twice weekly chat about the latest goings on behind the scenes at clubs and leagues, big and small.
There’s a warmth and overriding concern for the plight of the ordinary fan that runs through every show. Kevin asks all the questions that the average punter wants to know, and Kieran answers them expertly without resorting to much accountancy jargon.
Charlie Methven’s comments about fans and the ongoing saga of Sunderland’s impending sale have come up more than once and, as the coronavirus crisis starts to bite, it will be exposing the precariousness of clubs such as ours in the lower leagues — 2/3 of the revenues of League 1 clubs come from matchdays, and this pod will keep us up to date on the latest as this outbreak evolves.
It’s on all the podcatchers, and their website is http://priceoffootball.com/
Quickly Kevin, Will He Score? The 90’s football show
If you’re 30+, this podcast will make you yearn for the lost golden age of football. If you’re younger, this is what the game was like when it was good.
Hosted by comedian Josh Widdicomb alongside Chris Scull and Michael Marden and special guests, there are eight series available for your audio delectation. Highlights include deep dives into Steve Bruce’s legendary “Striker”, “Sweeper” and “Defender” novels alongside Ivo Graham and a look back at the legendary Championship Manager 97–98 video game.
And which self-respecting Sunderland fan could resist Nish Kumar’s review of the original SAFC documentary, ‘Premier Passions’…
QUICKLY KEVIN REWIND— Quickly Kevin (@QuicklyKevin) March 1, 2019
S01E08: With us to analyse Peter Reid’s steadfast refusal to spend any money in the 1998 BBC Sunderland documentary ‘Premier Passions’ was comedian @MrNishKumar
Listen to the full episode here: https://t.co/M2f5V6qkc3 pic.twitter.com/q1omhrFxEw
The new series starts this coming Monday, 16th March, but the old episodes, available on all the usual platforms, can be dipped into and enjoyed at any time. www.quicklykevin.com
The Sound of Football
This is a long running topical football podcast, with weekly episodes that deal with the current state of football but with an independent and critical eye.
The latest episode considers the impact of Covid-19 restrictions, but the back catalogue includes discussions on every imaginable aspect of the game we love. It is topical but timeless, so well worth scrolling through and seeing if anything takes your fancy.
Hosts include Sunderland fan Jan Bilton, and, again, this one is available for free on all good podcasting platforms. Their website is https://www.sofpodcast.com
TwoHundredPercent — An Echo of Glory
It’s day 45 of the lockdown and you can’t go out even if you want to. What better time to sit back and listen to a 16 part lecture on the history of the beautiful game from it’s origins to the modern day? Starting at Episode 191, ‘An Echo of Glory’ is one of my current favourite listens, with Ian King taking us through the story of football’s evolution from inter-village brawl through public school codification all the way to the globalised, hyper-financed and technically augmented spectacle we are currently craving.
TwoHundredPercent itself goes back a good few years now and is now up to it’s 200th episode, so there’s a whole lot more to discover. It’s an unashamedly geeky look into the parts of fan culture and football stories that those with a commercial imperative tend to miss.
It’s on Apple and Spotify, and the website is http://twohundredpercent.net/podcast/
Vic Reaves/Jim Moir has no interest in football. Bob Mortimer loves a small town football club in North Yorkshire.
So when Bob met up with a bloke from Sunderland, Andy Dawson, they decided to make a football podcast. But then they realised that they don’t really know that much about football, but they can make each other giggle by doing daft impressions of familiar faces from the Premier League and beyond.
It’s now one of the biggest podcast around, with a paid-for spin off “Athletico Parsnips” and live shows up and down the country.
It has lots of jokes at the expense of the thick-skinned people of Sunderland (such as the hillariously offensive “Mackem Christmas” song) and we’ve all met a few C̶h̶a̶r̶l̶i̶e̶ Barry Homeowners in our time haven’t we.
So if you’ve not yet met Peter Beardsley and his charming wife, Jordan Henderson and the Gangs of the EPL, Steve McLaren and Casper, or the British Manager’s Lunch Club, this is surely this is the time to find out what all the fuss is about.
Go to https://athleticomince.com or, as ever, give it a search on your phone.
Top Flight Time Machine
Okay, I get it. Not everyone likes Top Flight Time Machine. I, however, am obsessed.
Another podcast featuring Mr Dawson of Athletico Mince fame, this time working alongside former Heat magazine editor and West Ham fan, Sam Delaney. TFTM was originally meant to look back through the seasons of the Premier League, but has mutated into an infectious overview of the contrasting lives of two blokes in their mid forties from the opposite ends of England as they attempt to make a living from the freelance podcasting game.
The regular, free-to-listen topical shows still include a bit of football chat and a season-long prediction league. The real highlights, however, are the “evergreen” deep-dive Odysseys, which to date have included two volumes of Roy Keane’s life story, Kevin Keegan’s autobiography and a read-through of Roy of the Rovers from the 1980s that has extended to over 40 weekly episodes (that’s 20 hours of quarantine sorted right there).
Paying Iron Filing Society members like me can access the whole back catalogue and the new “Owen Odyssey” looking into the self-reflections of Hawarden’s finest export.
It is not safe for children, it is always on the coins and it is glorious.
You’ll find it on your podcast apps and their website is https://tftimemachine.com
Life Goals with Theo Delaney
This new podcast is hosted by Sam Delaney’s older brother, Theo, who has taken the format of Desert Island Disks and twisted it, to focus on the eight defining goals and tunes that have shaped his guests’ lives. Music and football memories intertwine with reflections on life in general; it has some truly moving and funny personal stories that are easy for most fans to identify with.
The 24 guests so far have included the Guardian’s John Crace and Simon Hattenstone, Kevin Day from The Price of Football, author John O’Farrell and comedian Bob Mills. Andy Dawson makes an appearance in episode 3, talking about Sunderland from the 1973 FAC Cup Final up to the Checkatrade final last year, and brother Sam has a double episode of his own — yes the world of the football podcast is a little the nepotistic.
A mid-table Premier League club, owned at a distance by an American corporation, is left in the hands of an vain and unscrupulous Chief Executive and his barely competent team. Managers come and go, players misbehave, the spector of money is always in the background and the fans are revolting.
No, it’s not Sunderland ’Til I Die, it’s a sweary audio sitcom set at Gillingham’s bitter Kent rivals, Ashwood City, and now coming to the end of its second season.
The club can confirm that Head Coach Eric van Smit has NOT tested positive for COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/sJenGn8SNx— Ashwood City FC (@AshwoodCity) March 13, 2020
Start at the beginning. I’ll not say any more for fear of spoilers. It’s on all the podapps https://ashwoodcity.com
A slightly left-field recommendation to end on, but after listening to The Offensive you might want to reflect quite deeply on why we even follow football in the first place, as well as looking at some of the wider social and cultural aspects of the game.
Try this episode of Thinking Allowed, the long-running BBC Radio Four sociology and ethnography programme — Sport and Philosophy — inside a Carribean Football Club
It can also be found on BBC Sounds and other podcast apps.
Other Roker Reporters Recommend…
Undr the Cosh
Former lads player, Chris Brown, is one of the three regular hosts of this rambling podcast focusing on the lifes of professional footballers. Our editor-in-chief and many of my fellow Exiles love Undr the Cosh, and Gav told me:
It’s hours and hours of funny football stories, career retrospectives and then sadly in the vast majority of cases, players talking about how retiring from playing affected their mental health.
You can get all the episodes on Audioboom, which also has links to the show on the other podcast apps.
That Peter Crouch Podcast
Probably the best known podcast in football, and currently ranked #3 in the UK podcast charts, I am probably in a tiny minority here who has never listened to an episode of The Peter Crouch Podcast. Gav is a regular listener, and writes:
That Peter Crouch Podcast is just… daft. You’re guaranteed to laugh along each week as Crouchy and his co-hosts Tom Fordyce and Chris Stark pick a different subject each week to focus on that gives some insight into the light-hearted side of the beautiful game. What’s clear is that despite being a Champions League and FA Cup winning former England international, Crouch is no different to your or I. It’s quite literally three pissed mates talking shite in the pub, and I love it.
All 45 episodes are waiting for us to download or stream on BBC Sounds now.
At Home with Colin Murray
Gav also higly recommends this one from BBC Radio 5 Live:
At Home With Colin Murray is one of my favourite podcasts, though sadly not many have been released recently — that said, there’s a massive back catalogue of interviews that you can go through that are well worth your while. Whilst Colin does of course talk football with the vast majority of his guests, what makes the show stand out is how personal and informative it is. Listen to the most recent episode with Jurgen Klopp if you’re looking for somewhere to start!
It definitely sounds like my kind of thing, I love Colin Murray so I’ll be digging into this one in the coming weeks for sure.
It’s on BBC Sounds and other pod apps now.
Newly recommended to me by Roker Report’s Phillip Butler, who writes:
For former fans of Gazetta Football Italia on Channel 4, former host James Richardson — joined by James Horncastle and Gab Marcotti — takes a trip down memory lane with episodes on the famous, and infamous, characters of Italian football.
I’ve listened to the first part of the “Totally Totti” one so far and I can see me, a child of the 1990s, getting heavily into this one over the next few weeks.
The Athletic is taking over the British football media, so with no actuall football to cover their “evergreen” offering — Football Cliches — will be one that I am sure will be pushed to the fore. My Exiles pod job-share partner, Brett Lyons-Davis, recommends this one, commenting that:
It’s a pod based on football cliches each weeks a different subject — first was transfer talk — talking about “war chests & transfer kitty’s” - it’s light hearted and one of those where you spend most the time nodding in agreement.
Go to their website to listen, or search and subscribe on your favourite pod app.
Before you go….
Bravo! You’ve made it through the reviews and are now fully prepared for the era of social distancing.
Before you get listening, we just want to let you know that the Roker Rapport podcast elves (okay, it’s mainly Sean) are working away on some special treats for you in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on our feed, and remember to subscribe and give 5-star-reviews to us and your new favourite podcasts.
Have we missed anything good? Leave a comment sharing your own favourite football podcasts.
(Originally published on medium.com under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives International 4.0 licence)