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When Sergio Aguero burst into QPR’s box in the dying moments of their Premier League clash at the Etihad in 2012, the football world collectively held its breath in anticipation of the iconic moment that would follow.
A split-second of pristine silence momentarily gripped the stadium before his shot hit the back of Paddy Kenny’s net, sparking delirium in the stands.
Aguero had done it. City had snatched the title away from bitter rivals Manchester United in the most dramatic of circumstances.
And commentator Peter Drury was tasked with doing the moment justice.
“Staggering! Just staggering! He’s won the league with 90 seconds of stoppage time to play!
“Drama of the ultimate type! Tears of distress turn to tears of unbridled joy!”
Somehow, amid the euphoria breaking out around him, Drury kept his head and delivered those famous lines on the greatest goal in Premier League history.
“In the moment I suppose it’s just very instinctive,” Drury tells SPORTbible ahead his stint in the commentary box for Amazon Prime Video’s Premier League December coverage.
“Those are the moments that all of the ordinary moments prepare you for, and you just hope it goes well.
“I can’t speak for others that have had similar moments but it’s funny – you hear it back afterwards, or not even necessarily hear it back, you leave the stadium and you can be engulfed by self-doubt.
“You think, I hope that was alright, I hope I shouted the right name. All of those things, I suppose, are parallel to what sportspeople go through.
“Will I be able to deliver? Did I deliver? Was it as good as I hoped it was?
“Those are the high-risk moments because if you do get one wrong, it’s there forever. That’s the thing about live broadcasting, there is no safety net. Once you’ve said it, it’s out there. There is no sub-editor.
“So you just give thanks if you get away with it cleanly.”
Aguero’s dramatic winner would usher in a period of remarkable success for both City and the Argentinian striker, who would go on to win four more Premier League titles at the Etihad before moving to Barcelona ahead of this season.
In a cruel twist of fate, Aguero was forced to retire earlier this month at the age of 33 due to a heart condition, having managed only five games for the Catalan club.
While he was denied the chance to become a hero at the Nou Camp, Aguero remains revered at City where scored an incredible 260 goals in 390 games.
“For the Premier League, he is emblematic,” added Drury.
“He scored the goal of goals in the history of the Premier League, there is no escaping that.
“Maybe not the history of all of football, although it arguable that you would struggle to build a top 10 ahead of his goal.
“But that is just one goal, and he scored hundreds and hundreds of them.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that were periods in his career when you would select him, as the supporter of any club, when asked the question: ‘Who do you want in your team?’ – ‘We’ll have Aguero please!’.
“He just scored. He scored spectacularly, he scored simply. What’s more, it seems to me that he did so as a thoroughly decent human being.
“You’ll struggle to find anyone who has a bad word to say about Sergio Aguero. The people who knew him say he is a lovely, humble man who came to work, did his thing brilliantly and went home again.
“You ask about his place in the history of the Premier League? He is absolutely up there.”
While Aguero is rightfully viewed as one of the great forwards of the modern era, Drury could claim to be the current king of commentary – if he wasn’t so modest.
Earlier this month he was named the Football Supporters' Association Commentator of the Year for the second time in his career.
But the 54-year-old insists he’s “flabbergasted” by his popularity.
“It feels surprising to be honest. It’s a lovely thing, I can’t deny it,” added Drury.
“I’m flattered by it, pleased by it. I try to give great respect to it because it’s voted for by fans, which is great.
“But with respect to whether it’s important in my head, I don’t take it too seriously because there are some very good commentators out there.
“If what I’m doing resonates with people then that is obviously a nice thing. I don’t set out to do that. I’m just very lucky that I do a job where I can express myself and enjoy football, and who wouldn’t love that?
“All I am is an enthusiast and if my enthusiasm somehow echoes with fans then that is a brilliant thing. It does mean a great deal that fans vote for it and leaves me a bit flabbergasted, I’m really, really touched by it.
“Anyone in any job knows that if somebody gives you a tick and says that you’re doing okay, that is a really reassuring moment.
“As commentators we speak out into the ether. We speak to a lot of people and yet we speak to nobody, in a sense, so to get that feedback is very rare and precious.”
It is easy to understand why Drury has won so many plaudits with his eloquent, poetic style of commentary.
From describing Kostas Manolas as ‘The Greek god in Rome’ after the defender’s late goal for Roma against Barcelona in 2018, to his exuberant reaction to Wayne Rooney’s famous overhead kick in the Manchester derby, Drury always seems to get the big moments right.
When asked to select one memory which stands out to him from his career, Drury names Siphiwe Tshabalala’s goal for 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa in their tournament opener against Mexico.
“That was a very, very special day [but] I’m always worried when I recall it that I’m going to sound sort of saccharine about it,” admits Drury.
“I’m not just trying to say the right thing for the benefit of this conversation. It is genuinely true that walking up to the stadium that day, there was a sense of pride and togetherness and happiness in Johannesburg, where blacks and whites were smiling and entering the stadium together, and there was a unity about a hitherto massively divided nation. A genuine joy that the World Cup had come to Africa.
“I remember saying then that if you could bottle that mood and somehow retain it, the world has cracked it. In a few short minutes that day you felt the world had cracked it.
“Then this boy from Soweto scored a worldie, beyond anything else that I’ve been lucky enough to see and commentate on. That is still the moment that puts the hairs up on the back of my neck.
“It was just a beautiful moment.”
It is hard to picture Tshabalala’s goal without Drury’s commentary, rising above the noise of countless vuvuzelas.
“Tshabalala! Goal Bafana Bafana!
“Goal for South Africa! Goal for all Africa!”
However, Drury is reluctant to take any credit for the iconic moment.
“I really do think that a commentator has to remember that nobody turns on the telly for the commentator, they turn it on for the football,” added Drury.
“So if you happen to be the commentator when something remarkable happens, that remarkable thing isn’t you – it was him.
“Aguero scored the goal, Manolas scored the goal. I didn’t. I was just the bloke who was fortunate enough to be sat there watching it happen.
“So I’m really, really wary about suggesting that a great sporting moment is in any sense my sporting moment. It’s not. I was just there telling the story.”
Amazon Prime Video will be broadcasting 10 Premier League fixtures between 28th – 30th December, including Leicester vs Liverpool, Chelsea vs Brighton and Arsenal vs Wolves.
Peter Drury will provide commentary at the Brentford vs Manchester City fixture on December 29th, alongside Ally McCoist as co-commentator.
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