In the middle of all the glam that sports these days offer, the art of commentating is slowly ebbing away into dust like the ones in profession these days have made it merely into a narrating business, as their voices lack the emotions, the fervour and most importantly the soul of the game. A profession which brags about a glorious past through appellations like Clive Tyldesley, Martin Tyler, Barry Davies and Brian Moore, has now been passed on to pedestal monikers who are busy in showcasing their expertise instead of living the game through the eye of a spectator.
However, there is a still a living legend amongst all who has not only been carrying on the magnificent legacy of commentators but his booming cadence on the microphone helps a spectator on the other side of the television to let his skin loose in a sea of supporters who are basking in the electrifying ambience on the pitch. We are talking about none other than the football poet, Peter Drury.
Known for his magnificently febrile voice that goes in perfect harmony with every single bit of magic which a player on the pitch conjures, Drury imbues life into the game with a league of words weaved effortlessly that draws perfect contrasts from the folklore, blending it in most perfect proportions with epithets that transcends a moment beyond reality. We will look at five legendary snippets of commentary in the Champions League made by Drury that made sparks fly.
1. Ajax versus Real Madrid, 2019 Champions League
Who would have thought that an unheralded team from the hearts of the Netherlands would have come all the way to Santiago Bernabeu and crushed the defending champions, Real Madrid in an emphatic fashion? Not even the craziest football followers would dare to believe. However, this was exactly what Ajax did when they took Los Merengues head-on in their return-leg fixture in the 2019 UCL Round of 16.
However, the moment where the world was silenced as Drury magically sung those heroic words was when Dusan Tadic dropped a shoulder, shrugged off his marker and speared an emphatic pile-driver in the top-left corner of the net. As soon as the third goal was hammered and Ajax ascertained a 4-2 lead over Real Madrid, Drury’s exotic commentary was, “Ajax has their boots on the throats of the champions”!
2. Ajax versus Juventus, 2019 Champions League
After Real Madrid, Ajax was up against Juventus in their quarter-final battle. Despite the home game for Ajax petering out to a 1-1 impasse, the return leg found them behind as Ronaldo thundered an emphatic opener to give the lead to Juve.
However, the young lads from Amsterdam were simply not in a mood to capitulate and what followed thereafter was stuff from the folklore. Van de Beek restored parity with one of the coolest finishes of the Champions League while De Ligt outjumped his marker to nut a thumping header to snuff out the Italian hopes of European glory. As soon as the final whistle blew, Drury blared out what seemed like to be a verdict for the Italian champions. He cited, “The Ajax boys have kicked over the Old Lady. The Upstarts have plundered the establishment. And the famous Ajax of Amsterdam is into the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 1997. Ronaldo is out! For Juventus, the wait goes on. Youth has had its day.”
3. Chelsea versus Atletico Madrid, 2017 Champions League
In 2017, the Spanish giant, Atletico Madrid was on a roll. In their first encounter with the Premier League stalwarts went down the wire in what seemed to be a dramatic conclusion to a high-octane battle.
Griezmann hammered home the opener from the spot which was cancelled by a devilish finish from Alvaro Morata. It was Batshuayi who side-footed the ball home in the last kick of the game to conjure the impossible as Atletico Madrid was left reeling. Drury knew the symbolic importance of the moment and when he put it down in words, it sounded as “Chelsea has beaten the hitherto insuperable Atletico Madrid.”
4. Real Madrid versus Wolfsburg, 2016 Champions League
Real Madrid surprisingly found themselves trailing by a punishing margin of 2-0 as Wolfsburg exhibited a crushing display at home. In the return-leg fixture, Ronaldo spearheaded the Galacticos’ attacking force all by himself and smashed a wondrous hattrick to annihilate the German stalwarts out of the Champions League.
Given the special bond which Drury’s words shared with CR7, after he hammered the third goal that sealed the fate of the tie, the football poet’s verse was, “He’s turned the tie around all by himself. Another Champions League hattrick from the head of the Real Madrid glitterati.”
5. Roma versus Barcelona, 2018 Champions League
Drury underlined his poetic brilliance in a game that would remain etched in the scruffy pages of history forever, where Roma left Barcelona undone in a performance that was nothing short of a cosmic explosion.
Trailing 4-1 down in the first leg, the Italian colossus hosted the Catalans and Edin Dzeko didn’t take much time to kickstart the proceedings as he surged past his marker to score the opener and half the deficit.
Once again it was Dzeko who was the heart of the affairs as he hustled and rattled through the Catalonian defence only to be brought down in the box by an extremely clumsy challenge from Gerard Pique. De Rossi thundered the spot-kick past Ter Stegen, bringing back the game into life.
The telling blow came from the Greek central defender, plying his trade for Roma, Kostas Manolas who outwitted everyone with one of the wittiest header that ousted the Spanish Giants of the prestigious European hunt.
As soon as the ball imbricated itself into the net, Drury’s magical voice bombed from the microphone, blaring out, “Roma has risen from their ruins! Manolas, the Greek God in Rome! The unthinkable unfolds before our eyes! This was not meant to happen. This could not happen. This IS happening. It’s a Greek from Mount Olympus who has come to the Seven Hills of Rome and pulled off a miracle!”