Players come and go in the world of football, and the same can also be said of pundits. It was not always Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and co leading the debate – famous names from yesteryear, once the loudest voices on the game, have been silenced.
Some had to make way for a new batch of ex-pros who have fresher insight into the modern-day dressing room and an appeal that can stretch to a wider audience across all ages; others had more controversial departures from the TV screens.
These are the most notable stars to have vanished from punditry prominence – and what they did next.
Venison enjoyed an excellent playing career after stating out at local club Sunderland, joining Liverpool to win league titles before embarking on Premier League spells with Newcastle United and Southampton, picking up a couple of England caps on the way – and a trademark mullet hairstyle.
After retiring his profile rose further. At ITV he became a key pundit on their football coverage for five years up until 2002 – he even played himself in a cameo role for the cult classic film Mike Bassett: England Manager.
But then he vanished from TV screens – forever. Venison moved to the United States after leaving ITV, washing his hands of the game to become a property developer.
In 2016 he had a short stint as manager of US second-tier side Orange County but it seems his punditry days are gone for good.
To a younger generation, Hansen may just be known as the guy that once wrote off a Manchester United team by saying ‚you can’t win anything with kids‘ before they went on to win the Double.
But it would be grossly unfair to remember the former Liverpool legend, who won eight league titles at Anfield, by one infamous quote.
The Scot’s insight into the game was refreshing when he started working for Match of the Day in 1992 so it was no surprise he became their main pundit for the next 22 years. Not a defence in the land would survive his favoured adjectives such as ‚diabolical‘ and ’shocking‘.
Hansen’s no-holds-barred approach saw him become the leading football pundit throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the authority on the game that everyone waited to hear on a Saturday night.
However in 2014 he disappeared from the TV screens without a trace. His role within the BBC had been scaled back slightly and he retired following that summer’s World Cup. He never makes any media appearances and, as far as football is concerned, he has now vanished.
No need for any search parties though, you can almost certainly find him on the golf course alongside former Liverpool pal Kenny Dalglish – both are members of the beautiful Hillside Golf Club next door to Royal Birkdale in Lancashire.
While not so much as a regular on the main Match of the Day programme, Peacock was a highly-respected pundit on the BBC team which he joined following his retirement from the game in 2002.
The former Chelsea, Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers midfield star was engaging in getting his points across and featured often on Match of the Day 2, Score and the long-running magazine programme, Football Focus.
Peacock was an important part of BBC’s coverage of major tournaments too, but after Euro 2008 he turned his back on the game to become a Christian minister.
In doing so he moved his entire family to Canada such was his strong faith, but 10 years on the former midfielder is still based in North America with no regrets over leaving football.
In 2015 he was accused of posting sexist tweets after he aired his religious views on marriage. One tweet read: ‚Wives: one of the primary ways you are to respect your husband is by gladly submitting to and encouraging his leadership.‘
Football presenter Jacqui Oatley, who used to work with Peacock at the BBC, wrote ‚Gav?!‘ in reply, while many other users voiced their concern. Nigel Adderley, another former colleague, said: ‚I used to really enjoy working with Gavin Peacock on the radio but won’t be implementing his views on marriage at home…‘
Earle enjoyed a productive career as a midfielder at Port Vale and more famously Wimbledon during their Premier League heights of the 1990s. He also scored for Jamaica against Croatia at the World Cup in 1998.
But after retiring from the game in 2000 he quickly settled into a new life as a pundit and became a key member of ITV’s team in their live coverage of the Champions League, as well as being a regular for ‚The Premiership‘ when ITV had the highlights for the English top flight.
Earle’s time as a pundit in England was ended overnight though as he was involved in an incident that saw his allocation of around 40 World Cup tickets in 2010 eventually sold on by a friend for use in an ambush marketing scandal, resulting in the termination of his contract.
However, Earle has since moved to the United States and he has resumed his punditry career across the pond as a regular on NBCSN’s Premier League coverage, having also featured on debate panels with ESPN.
For a while, Atkinson was TV gold. The former West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United and Aston Villa manager, known for his larger-than-life persona and bling jewellery, was knowledgeable and entertaining as part of ITV’s Champions League coverage as a pundit and co-commentator from the late 1990s to 2004.
Sometimes he would come out with lovable nonsense as if he was playing cliche bingo, for example: ‚Chelsea look like they’ve got a couple more gears left in the locker.‘
But then things took a sinister tone when ‚Big Ron‘ was heard describing Marcel Desailly’s performance in Chelsea’s semi-final defeat by Monaco using horrific racist language, saying: ‚He is what is known in some schools as a f*****g lazy, thick n****r.‘
Although not covered live on air in the UK it was heard in parts of the Middle East and Africa, and it led to Atkinson’s resignation shortly after.
Since then he has appeared on numerous reality programmes but is largely ostracised from football’s mainstream. He made a punditry return with fringe broadcaster Bravo in the mid-2000s for their Italian football coverage, and has appeared recently in a similar role for Manchester United’s in-house station, MUTV.
Co-commentators were not new by the time Andy Gray became a part of Sky’s coverage ahead of them bagging the rights for the Premier League in 1992.
But his performance in the role took punditry and coverage of the game to a new level. His excitement as a co-commentator was part of Sky’s glitzy appeal, as was his cutting-edge analysis.
It may have been rudimentary white arrows everywhere and tiny football pitches with players represented by over-sized tiddlywinks, but no-one else was doing punditry like it at the time.
Up until 2011 he was still a major player at Sky, but along with presenter Richard Keys was involved in a high-profile sexism scandal which led to both being dismissed by the broadcaster.
After joining talkSPORT with Keys shortly after, Gray had a very brief return to British TV in 2014 as a co-commentator for BT Sport. He is still on the box somewhere in the world, however, having along with Keys signed up with Middle Eastern channel beiN Sports where since 2012 he has been a lead analyst on their football coverage.
Shoot from the hip, that was Marsh. So it was no surprise he would become a favourite with viewers on Sky.
Not as high profile as Gray, Marsh was however another Sky regular from the Premier League’s inception and he would go on to carve out a regular spot on the highly popular Soccer Saturday show for 11 years.
His outspoken comments on the game mirrored a playing career with the likes of Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers where everything was attack and there was no consideration for caution.
As an example, he was once so confident Bradford City would be relegated in their first season in the Premier League that he claimed he would shave the hair off his head if they stayed up. Fast forward 12 months later and he was on the Valley Parade pitch meeting a pair of clippers…
But in 2005 a joke on-air in a Sky Sports phone-in saw him make light of a devastating tsunami in Asia, saying ‚David Beckham has turned down a move to Newcastle United because of trouble with the Toon Army in Asia‘.
Despite apologising he was sacked and he has only been back on the box in reality TV roles. Since 2015 he has gone back to football, co-hosting a show called ‚Grumpy Pundits‘ on American radio show Sirius.
You remember the song, ‚Thursday nights, Channel Five‘, a chant used by supporters to mock high-flying Premier League clubs that ended up in the Europa League, which at the time was shown on the channel.
However ‚Football on 5‘ could stand up to the likes of BBC and ITV with their coverage and part of their strong show included John Barnes, who has done what no other pundit in the modern era has done and occupied every slot on a football presentation.
The Watford, Liverpool and England legend presented live games, acted as a studio analyst, featured as a pitch-side reporter and even took his place on the gantry as a co-commentator during his six years on the show up until 2009. He even had his own magazine programme called ‚John Barnes‘ Football Night.‘
Barnes left Channel Five to take over as Tranmere Rovers manager and his only punditry roles since have seen him appear on ESPN shortly before the channel was absorbed by BT Sports.