Image: Karsten Winegeart/Unsplash
Image: Karsten Winegeart/Unsplash

The definitive guide to Euro 2024 podcasts

Whilst many football fans still prepare for a major international tournament by poring over the pages of FourFourTwo, World Soccer or When Saturday Comes, or by plastering their Panini sticker book full of shiny players, tastes have undoubtedly changed. Podcasts are increasingly a staple of the sport’s fan diet for these big competitions, a way to wade through the seemingly incessant number of matches, dramas, and stories. I know for a fact that a large part of how I followed the last World Cup was listening to 5Live’s Football Daily each morning, unable to watch as many games as I would have liked due to assignments and workload. But what are the best audio assistants to help us through this summer’s competition in Germany?

Guardian Football Weekly, Totally Football Show with James Richardson, The Game

First up, I have gone with some of the elder statesmen of the football podcast fraternity. James Richardson established himself back in the ’90s as the face of Channel 4’s Football Italia, an authoritative encyclopaedia on everything the country’s leagues had to offer. A global interest in football had yet to fully embed itself in Britain, nor indeed the saturation of TV coverage more broadly. It felt revolutionary, but by 2002, the programme ceased to air on the broadcaster. When the Guardian launched their Football Weekly podcast in 2006 (yes, podcasts have been around that long), Richardson was the obvious choice to lead this new endeavour.

Continued to go from strength to strength … benefitting from a rolling circuit of excellent guests

What started as a series for that year’s World Cup blossomed into a podcast still running nearly two decades later. However, in 2017, Richardson left to start his own independent show, which became a part of The Athletic fold in 2020. Despite this, Football Weekly has continued to go from strength to strength under the new helm of Max Rushden and continuing lead contributor Barry Glendenning, benefitting from a rolling circuit of excellent guests taken from the paper’s pool of sports writers and external journalists and experts. The Game meanwhile is The Times’s flagship football podcast. It has gone through several evolutions since first emerging around the same time as Football Weekly, and is now ably steered by the paper’s sports editor Tom Clarke and writer and former footballer Gregor Robertson. It won’t however benefit from the analysis of former chief football writer Henry Winter, who was made redundant from the paper earlier this year. He has mooted that he will be launching a podcast of his own for this summer’s Euros, so watch out for that. 

The Football Ramble, Football Daily

The next two on the list will be familiar titles to many football fans. Football Ramble is the first podcast in the guide to have not emerged at least partly out of broadcast and print media. It is a very popular and very frequent podcast which produces several episodes through the week on a whole variety of podcasts, but no doubt will prove a reliable choice for Euro 2024 content and feedback. Their spin-off, On The Continent, will also be a good shout. The aforementioned Football Daily is meanwhile 5Live’s leading programme, presented by their range of on-air sports hosts and regularly featuring insight from pundits and journalists alike. One of the benefits of Football Daily during a major tournament is not only do you get the insight, but the atmosphere too. Most if not all of the contributors will be beaming in from Germany this summer, and so expect plenty of anecdotes on hotel quality and trips to stadiums from the likes of Pat Nevin, Chris Sutton, and co. 

The Rest is Football, The Sports Agents, Heroes and Humans of Football

All of the podcasts described so far have been on the market for some time. But as I outlined at the start of the piece, this is a fast moving and developing field. The Rest is Football arguably bolsters the best podcast line-up (Sky’s Stick to Football notwithstanding), featuring England’s former leading men Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer, as well as ex-pro and popular pundit Micah Richards. It is just one of a huge and growing stable of podcasts owned by Lineker’s company Goalhanger, prominently featuring The Rest is Politics. But the BBC presenter’s turn to football has been all the more interesting. When it launched in August 2023, I wrote curiously about how the show would fit in amongst the trio’s existing broadcasting commitments. And how this will work in a busy major tournament month, when they already have plenty of opportunity to pick over the bones of the Euros for the BBC, remains to be seen.

Talking of the BBC, two of their most respected broadcasters have also started a new programme of their own. The Sports Agents is hosted by Gabby Logan and Mark Chapman, and as the name suggests, is a sister programme to Emily Maitlis, Jon Sopel and Lewis Goodall’s The News Agents. Although it might be a sports sister show, like The News Agents, Logan and Chapman really seek to get under the nail of the big issues of the day. Whether it is doping, football finances, or the war in Ukraine, the pair adeptly move between stories with their typical journalistic and quizzical nous. Though the pair will also feature in the BBC’s Euros coverage, they won’t be on our screens as regularly, so this summer should prove a good opportunity to grow the programme further.

The last podcast I have featured on the list is both the newest and probably least prominent, but perhaps most interesting. Heroes and Humans of Football is co-anchored by journalists Simon Kuper and Mehreen Khan. Kuper is one of the most revered writers of his generation, a long-standing columnist of the Financial Times and author of several books on football and other topics. Khan, meanwhile, is the economics editor of The Times but began her journalistic career concentrating on the sport. In this series, the two dissect one footballing figure each week, aiming to see the human and the hero in one detailed and fair-handed analysis. It might not be very Euro-specific, but many of the figures they have discussed will feature, whether it is Kylian Mbappe or Jude Bellingham. Either could end this tournament as a European champion, and this podcast might be the best way to find out who they really are. 

This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a decent panoply of series to tune in to over the next four weeks. So get the sticker book ready, the magazine open, and the AirPods in. And most importantly, the football on.


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