Rob was born in Dudley, Worcestershire now West Midlands. He was a pupil at Foxyards Primary School and later the Blue Coat School.
His media career began at the age of 14, when he was still a pupil at the Blue Coat School. After participating in a local radio talent spotting competition, he was taken on by Beacon Radio in Wolverhampton as a member of the team for the Sunday morning show, “Kid’s Stuff”.
He then became one of the regular commentators on live broadcasts for BBC Radio 5, shortly after its launch, before moving on to BBC Radio Five Live with the rest of its sports team in 1994. After senior commentators Mike Ingham and Alan Green, Hawthorne and colleague Ron Jones formed the second “tier” of commentators. During his time on radio Hawthorne commentated on several Division One Play-off finals, the Scottish Cup Final, a number of FA Cup and League Cup semi-finals and two major international tournaments – Euro 92 and World Cup 94.
His first live television experience came in 1991, when he covered Brazilian championship football games for Screensport.
Hawthorne’s move to television was completed as he became part of the Sky Sports commentary team covering Monday night games in the F.A. Premier League; his first live game was Leeds United v Liverpool in August 1995.
After his first season covering Monday Night Football (having commented on the title showdown between Newcastle and Man United) Hawthorne worked alongside Alan Brazil and had the privilege of commentating on memorable play off finals.
He has commentated on League Cup Finals and FA Cup matches. He commentates on all of the Republic of Ireland’s matches. In 2003 when Sky got Champions League football live, Hawthorne added this tournament to the ever growing list of tournaments he has commentated on. He did the famous Liverpool v AC Milan Champions League Final in 2005 as Sky’s lead commentator Martin Tyler was covering England.
He has now established himself as one of Sky Sports’ top commentators. Hawthorne was given several opportunities on big Premiership matches in the 2006-2007 season, including Liverpool vs Chelsea January 2007 and Manchester United vs Liverpool (both games), the Manchester Derby at the City of Manchester Stadium in 5 May 2007 during the same season. In the 08-09 season, he also commentated on Liverpool vs Manchester United in September 2008, and Arsenal vs Manchester United two months later. In the 2009-2010 season, he commentated on matches such as Liverpool v Manchester United in October and Arsenal v Barcelona at the end of March.
Rob now appears to have a reputation of commentating on games of high drama and exciting finishes with his famous “Surely now” phrase near the end of games appearing to galvanise the hitherto losing team into providing a grandstand finish.
Rob has developed an excellent reputation on the after dinner circuit with his fascinating insight into the Premier League and World football scene.