If there’s one thing football fans love, it’s sharing their opinions about ‘the beautiful game’. But with so many work, pub and pitchside conversations placed on hold, more fans than ever have turned to audio for their footy chat fixes. Whether it’s in-depth tactical analysis, a good dose of nostalgia, or a sideways glance at the more humorous side of the game, there appears to be something for everyone. Here’s my selection of 13 of the best football podcasts to listen to in 2021.
From a few mates sat around a kitchen table, to a professionally-produced daily show with a rotating cast of presenters, the Football Ramble has changed quite a bit since 2007. One thing that’s been a mainstay is the level of entertainment. The Ramble gang never take themselves too seriously and, while things can often get silly (in the best possible way) they consistently tackle each aspect of the game with a nuanced and thoughtful approach. Listen now >>
After years at the helm of Guardian Football Weekly, long-time fans were stunned when James Richardson abruptly left in 2017. Within days, the first episode of Totally Football Show was out, and the show has gone from strength to strength ever since. Expertly guided by the legendary former anchor of Football Italia on Channel 4, the pod features an eclectic mix of supporting talent from the world of football journalism, providing expert insight and analysis of the Premier League, European football and beyond. Listen now >>
If you’re looking for a change from the daily review shows, GIANT’s documentary-style episodes are a great place to start. Produced by the team behind Mundial magazine alongside Spotify, GIANT focuses on specific stories from the history of football, often speaking to the people who were directly involved. Whether telling a story from the grassroots of lower league football or celebrating the essence of what made a former great great, each episode is beautifully produced and deeply captivating. Listen now >>
The Tifo Football Podcast was created off the back of their popular YouTube channel, with the aim of providing in-depth tactical, historical and geopolitical breakdowns of the beautiful game. The chemistry between the hosts is infectious, and their detailed analysis of often overlooked areas of the game really differentiate them from the pack. Interested in how transfers work post Brexit? Keen to drill down into Premier League tactical trends? Intrigued by full time Fantasy Football players? Tifo has got you covered. Listen now >>
The language of football is unique, bizarre and, of course, riddled with cliché. What is a ‘proper football man’? How late in a game can you score the ‘opener’? What’s the difference between ‘swooping’ for a signing and ‘splashing the cash’? These linguistic quandaries and many more are all examined here. In its forensic and borderline obsessive analysis of how we talk about the game, Football Cliches mines a rich seam of humour and absurdity. Each episode focuses on a specific element of the language of football, and assesses what we talk about when we talk about goals, kits, celebrations, transfer windows and more. Listen now >>
The only show on this list to be hosted by an ex-pro, and one that’s developed a vast following since debuting on BBC Radio 5 Live in 2018. Crouch already had a reputation as a charismatic character, but the show’s format really enables his playful personality to shine even brighter. The main attraction is Crouch’s ability to regale his co-hosts with anecdotes and behind-the-scenes knowledge from his playing days, but his analysis of the modern game is also worth tuning in for. Listen now >>
A show for the everyday fan, featuring fascinating debates between passionate supporters so often unheard by mainstream media. Weekly episodes cover all areas of the Premier League, while they also host individual club podcasts focusing on Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester United. Touchline Fracas is a predominantly Black-owned media platform that by utilising fans, provides a refreshing alternative to the shows dominated by journalists, pundits and former pros. Listen now >>
One of the longest-running football pods, first broadcast in 2006. Football Weekly set the bar with regular news, reviews and matchday previews. After host James Richardson left in 2017, long-time stand-in Max Rushden assumed the role, arguably taking the show to even greater heights with the help of regular co-host Barry Glendenning. While the main focus is English football, the Guardian’s long list of European-based journalists can always be relied on to give expert insight on events in La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga and beyond. Listen now >>
Women’s football continues to rise in both profile and popularity, with big TV deals, proper press coverage and breakout pundits like Alex Scott and Karen Carney all helping the cause. And while podcasts on the women’s game continue to pop up, The Offside Rule continues to lead the way, reporting on the Women’s Super League, Championship and more. Lynsey Hooper, Kait Borsay and Hayley McQueen are passionate and engaging hosts, . They also actively promote female inclusion in every element of the game. Listen now >>
Named after the infamous piece of commentary between Brian Moore and Kevin Keegan at France ‘98 and positively dripping with 90s nostalgia. Hosts Josh Widdicombe, Michael Marden and Chris Scull delight in reminiscing about the ‘golden age’ of the Premier League, interviewing cult heroes from Matt Le Tissier and Paul Merson, to Carlton Palmer and Graeme Le Saux. Perfect if you yearn for the simpler times of sticker albums and staying up for Match of the Day. Listen now >>
When founders Ryan Hunn and Musa Okwonga started Stadio, their aim was to cover much more than just the Premier League. From far-flung European leagues, to wider societal and political issues off the pitch, Ryan and Musa speak passionately and sensitively about the game they love, whatever the subject. A twice-weekly show that will quickly become an essential part of your podcast library. Listen now >>
Highly-respected football writer Jonathan Wilson and The Football Ramble’s Marcus Speller are joined by a guest each week for a deep dive into one of football’s ‘greatest games’. Focusing on a single game gives the show the breathing space needed to closely examine every aspect of the match, from the context around the fixture at the time, to the action on the pitch and ramifications for all involved. A refreshing change from the swift analysis necessary in more general round-up shows. Listen now >>
A limited series produced as part of the FA’s ‘21 Days Of Positivity’ campaign. The show celebrates the importance of building a positive environment in grassroots football and encouraging players to enjoy the game. What sets it apart is it’s exclusive access to current England internationals from both the men’s and women’s teams. This results in intimate and insightful interviews with stars such as Jadon Sancho, Leah Williamson and Joe Gomez. Listen now >>
So there you have it – our brilliant baker’s dozen of the best football pods around, and that’s before we even consider the hundreds of excellent club-specific shows that are available. As an Arsenal fan, it would be remiss of me not to shout out my personal favourites: The Arsecast, The Tuesday Club and The Bruised Banana.
Have we missed any out? If there’s a show you love that deserves recognition, let us know in the comments!