Soccer is a sport that has the power to dominate the lives of its keenest fans. It's not just about matchday on a Saturday — the build-up lasts all week, from TV debates to manager press conferences, player interviews, and think pieces in the back pages of national newspapers. And in the last few years, the football media landscape has seen a new type of platform for discussion take centre stage: the podcast.
Podcasts have surged in popularity in the last decade, and soccer fanatics have arguably benefited more than most. Nowadays, pretty much every professional football club has its own dedicated fan podcast (as well as other blogs and supporter video channels), while a large number of journalists, pundits, ex-players, and even current pros have turned their hand to podcasting, creating audio content that provides insight into various different aspects of the beautiful game.
In this article, we'll be taking you through some of the best soccer podcasts out there, from pods that dive deep into complicated tactical trends, to insightful interviews with experts, all the way to light-hearted podcasts that are simply designed to make listeners laugh and poke fun at a sport that can sometimes be taken too seriously… whatever you're into, there will be something here for you. Let's get into it.
Presented by sports journalist and former Soccer AM host Max Rushden alongside regular name Barry Glendenning, the Guardian Football Weekly features a diverse range of articulate, intelligent writers and pundits like Jonathan Liew, Barney Ronay, Nedum Onuoha, and Robyn Cowen.
The serious issues the podcast tackles, which have included disability and accessibility in sport, racism in football, and the human rights issues that plagued the 2022 Qatar World Cup, have led to Football Weekly - available to listen to here - becoming one of the most widely respected football pods around.
The Football Supporters' Association (FSA) have regularly named it the Podcast of the Year at their annual awards event, and it's easy to see why; blending informative analysis with jokey punditry and personal insight, it's one of the best soccer podcasts around, and becoming a regular listener is sure to improve your knowledge of world football.
The success of Football Weekly, coupled with the ever-growing popularity of women's football in the UK and the rest of Europe (over in the US, it's already been huge for years) caused The Guardian to launch a special women's football edition of the podcast last year.
Set up to run alongside the 2022 Women's Euros, the platform has gone from strength to strength, continuing throughout the 2022-23 season and beyond to keep track of events in the Women's Super League and Women's Championship, as well as any pressing international business. When the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup rolls around this July (with Australia and New Zealand hosting), this is the podcast you'll want to keep an ear out for — you won't regret it. Check it out on The Guardian site.
The Kevin Day and Kieran Maguire Price of Football podcast has done a lot great work when it comes to broadening people's understanding of how football finances work.
With a clear, knowledgeable style and the help of fellow presenter Kevin Day (a well-loved football writer and stand-up comedian), Maguire spends each episode analysing a different topical area of finance in football, whether it's exploring the nuts and bolts of how Financial Fair Play works, examining the misconduct that has led toward a team receiving a points deduction, or talking about the details of shirt sponsorships and other big brand deals in football.
Given how well-respected Maguire is for his expertise in this area of the sport (he teaches Accounting and Finance at the University of Liverpool and is frequently featured on various other pods when money matters are discussed), it's unsurprising that this show has been instrumental in shining a light on the murkier waters of football finance. The show is available on Apple Podcasts, as well as various other platforms.
Whether it's previewing the weekend's football on Friday with outlandish predictions and lively competitions, or reminiscing about the old-school hard men, dressing room banter and marvellous on-pitch talent that dominated 90s football, the Football Ramble is a show that's committed to seeing the funny side of football. If you're after a light-hearted lens on the week's football, the Ramble is the place for you.
However, that doesn't stop them from discussing the big issues, too, as evidenced by their fascinating 'The Drop In' interview series, hosted by Kate Mason, and their expert reporting on issues such as the financial imbalance across European football or the corruption scandals impacting some of the elite club and international competitions around the globe. Check out this Stak production here.
Created under the Football Ramble umbrella, this podcast is dedicated entirely to women's football, and it's one of the most entertaining women's soccer shows there is.
Transferred to its own flourishing platform after the success of the Football Ramble: Upfront coverage of Women's EURO 2022, the show sees hosts Rachel O'Sullivan (from Girlsontheball) and former Spurs and Crystal Palace goalkeeper Chloe Morgan discuss all corners of women's football, with help from other expert pundits like writer and QPR fan Flo Lloyd-Hughes.
Receiving huge critical and commercial acclaim in recent times, Upfront is not only one of the best women's football pods around, but one of the best soccer podcasts full stop. Listen to Upfront here.
Presented by EFL guru Ali Maxwell alongside The Athletic's football tactics writer, Michael Cox (author of 'The Mixer', an authoritative book on the history of Premier League tactics) and The Athletic's football analytics writer Mark Carey, this is a podcast that's certain to improve your soccer knowledge.
The Athletic Football Tactics Podcast is jam-packed with presenters and guests that have astounding knowledge about the tactical intricacies and details that make modern football so interesting. Whether they're discussing the aggressive tactical strategy of gegenpressing, examining how to defend in a low block, or looking into the pros and cons of formations like 4-4-2, 4-3-3, or 3-5-2, The Athletic's flagship tactics show consistently has some of the most illuminating insight you'll find on the game. Check it out here.
We mentioned Ali Maxwell in the previous listing, and if you don't know this man and his co-presenter on 'Not The Top 20', George Elek, get to know — the knowledge these two broadcasters have about English football outside the top flight is absolutely astonishing.
Each week, the pair release two shows, one in which they recap the weekend in the Championship, League One, and League Two, picking out key events and exploring some of the most interesting developments in the EFL, and another that previews the weekend in a 'Betting Show' format, making predictions about what's going to happen in the English Football League.
If you're a football fan who's getting increasingly bored by all the Premier League hype, looking for something a little bit lower down the pyramid, this is the podcast for you. In terms of improving your knowledge about the world's slightly less glamorous teams, there's nowhere better than NTT20.
Presented by Joe Devine (one of soccer podcasting's most entertaining voices) and featuring voices like soccer tactics expert Jon Mackenzie, award-winning writer Seb Stafford-Bloor and star names on The Athletic network like Carl Anka and Michael Bailey, this is undoubtedly one of the best soccer podcasts around. In fact, Tifo as a brand have played a massive role in reshaping global football fans' understanding of tactical concepts and the importance of data and analysis in the sport in recent years.
Since launching six years ago, the Tifo podcast - available to listen to here - has consistently offered in-depth tactical, historical, and geopolitical breakdowns of the beautiful game, in a way that very few other shows have delivered. If you want to understand the sport outside the confines of the green turf and the white chalk, this is a pretty good place to start.
Another show that's part of The Athletic's podcast network, Football Cliches is perfect for anyone who's interested in nerding out about the strange bits of speech, language, and cliche that dominate football discourse.
Presented by Athletic writer Adam Hurrey, who has become a Twitter phenomenon for his comments on footballing interviews and the cliches and traditions that dominate them, it's a cracking listen that refuses to take football too seriously. At the same time, they've featured big-name guests like Jamie Carragher, Nedum Onuoha, and Tom Rosenthal, with each conversation getting into the nitty gritty of football language, mannerisms, and quirks within the game.
At the end of the day, football is all supposed to be about entertainment and fun, and that's something the Football Cliches team seem to understand. You can check out the podcast here.
This BT Sport show replaced the channel's old Football Writers Podcast, and the level of insight and detail offered in the former has remained strong. Presented by award-winning sports journalist and author Michael Calvin, the Football People podcast focuses on interviewing interesting characters and figures within the game and shining a light on different aspects of soccer.
Past guests have included Everton manager Sean Dyche, who spoke to Calvin about how to achieve Premier League survival, retired pro Marvin Sordell who was articulate about the importance of acknowledging mental health within football, and Liverpool midfielder James Milner on preparing for a post-playing career in coaching. The conversations featured on the channel are the kind of focused, purposeful, and insightful footballing discussions that most fans of the game will be desperate to get their hands on. You can listen on various platforms including Apple Podcasts.
Remember — podcasts aren't the only way to boost your knowledge of the game. There is a wide range of entertaining and informative resources out there dedicated to all areas of football, whether it's deep dives into progressive clubs like the Bundesliga's Union Berlin, or guides to the importance of set-pieces in the modern game.
One great way to expand your understanding of football is through reading. Name a subject to do with the sport, and someone's probably written a book about it. Thankfully, to narrow down your search a little, we've compiled a list of some of the greatest books about football ever written. Check out our round-up of 10 soccer books to broaden your knowledge of the game.