To millions of football fans, the voice of Martin Tyler is a distinctive one. Over the many years he has been at the top of his profession as a football commentator, he has described both joy and pain in equal measure in his role as Sky Sports head honcho. Supporters can hear his voice still in his head as he describes historic passages in their support of their club.
What those supporters perhaps didn’t realise is that Tyler has his own devotion to a club. And, before you ask he is not a glory hunter. Not Manchester City or Manchester United. Nor Liverpool and not Arsenal for that matter. For the unfashionable team that has the support of Britain’s leading football voice is Woking. Yes, little old Woking — nicknamed the Cards — from the Vanarama National League.
It gets better for Tyler. Because not only is he a big fan of the club, he is also part of the management team — having previously been a coach at Hampton & Richmond. And under the guidance of manager Alan Dowson, along with Tyler and fellow assistant coach Ian Dyer, Woking are sitting in the rather envious position of second in the current league stable standings. Only Solihull Moors, managed by former Blackburn Rovers keeper Tim Flowers, are above them in top spot.
And here’s the juicy bit; they play each other tomorrow in a head to head that is being talked about by both sets of fans as nothing short of a humdinger. Woking go into the keenly anticipated encounter just a point behind the Midlanders in pole position with 12 points on the board. They have been accrued from four wins — against Dagenham & Redbridge, Harrogate Town, Chesterfield and AFC Fylde — with the only defeat so far this season coming in the shape of a bit of an upset when they went down to Aldershot Town.
Tyler, who won’t be at the Cards’ game because of his duties covering the Premier League clash between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield, says that to take 12 points from a possible 15 is a good return — but that the focus isn’t looking ahead at a certain number of games:
“We don’t work like that. It’s very much a focus on trying to win the next game. The next game against Dover won’t even be mentioned until Solihull is out of the way.”
“That’s Dowse’s method and he denounces projects and plans, he just wants to win games. You set targets at your peril. You need to win points and the only points available are those in the next game. We focus purely on that and that is what sustains us. You are not distracted and it’s worked for Dowse over many years. We are all keeping our feet on the ground.”