Lindsey Dean of GolTV was kind enough to speak with me about the Bundesliga. Those of us in America will know Lindsey as the voice of Hallo Bundesliga, the league’s review show on GolTV. Lindsey is originally from Maine and grew up in New England; however, he enrolled at the University of Copenhagen in 1977 at the age of 19. He spend a year in Denmark and during that time he played for a small Danish side by the name L.I.F. Allerød/Lillerod (now Allerød FK), which has produced Peter Løvenkrands and Danish womens national team player Bettina Falk . While Lindsey has a varied background in sports broadcasting having done almost every sport imaginable (including suffering through the painful pre-Belechick era of the Patriots), he isn’t some American who stumbled into the Bundesliga because there was a paycheck. Lindsey has a pedigree.
1977 was a golden year for Borussia Mönchengladbach, who won their third straight title that year, and also met Liverpool in a memorable final of the European Cup. One of the star players of that side was the Dane Allan Simonsen, who won the European Player of the Year and Lindsey watched this magical season in Denmark, where every Gladbach game was aired and watched religiously. This was his introduction to the Bundesliga.
When he returned, he kept up with the Bundesliga the way so many of that generation did, by watching Soccer Made in America with Toby Charles. I asked him if it’s in anyway odd to him that he would become the modern version of Mr. Charles. He was humbly unwilling to compare himself to Toby Charles, but he did fondly remember the man that brought America the Bundesliga for so long. He remembered his eloquence with words and could even recount a time when Toby said “Dusseldorf Dogs were wagging their tales in delight.” I asked him if we was ever tempted to use the phrase “that shot was high, wide and not very handsome” which he enjoyed, although I don’t think I convinced him to use it. But while Toby Charles would help shape the style of his commentary, he was quick to note that he grew up in a golden era of sportscasters. His influences include the likes of Johnny Most, Jim Karvellas, Gil Santos and Marty Glickman.
The next subject in our conversation was how he got started at GolTV. At the time, he was working as an associate attorney at a South Florida law firm. However, he really felt unsatisfied by the work. He returned to sports broadcasting, (having done a plethora of work in New England prior to his move to Florida for law school), as the P.A. announcer for the NHL’s Florida Panthers, and also as the radio/internet voice of the defunct Miami Fusion of MLS. After the Fusion folded, Phil Schoen called him to tell him that someone was starting a soccer channel in Miami. Dean auditioned and has been with GolTV ever since. Besides his work on Hallo Bundesliga, Lindsey is both a play-by-play and color analyst commentator for various GolTV matches. As we talked about the start of GolTV, we realized that the Bundesliga owes a big bit of gratitude in the states to the Miami Fusion, where Ray, Phil and Lindsey were once all employed.
I asked him about his preparation for the weekly show and he gave me the breakdown of the week. He is obviously privy to the matches he does commentary for, of course, but he has the full library of games at his disposal. By Sunday he is reading game reports and summaries. By Monday he has the DFL’s productions package and makes notes on each match. Tuesday, he looks for news and finalizes his script. The last minute check is invaluable as so much can happen from Sunday to Tuesday afternoon. With U.S. players like Steve Cherundolo and Michael Bradley, as well as Canadians Paul Stalteri and Rob Friend, Lindsey keeps a close eye on the North American players in the league, and tries to include information about their appearances and status. For example, because of the situation with Landon Donovan and H1N1, Steve Cherundolo and Michael Bradley were quarantined by their respective clubs. By the time he enters the studio, it usually takes him from an hour and a half to two hours to voice the show, due in part to the preparation completed in the 48 hours leading up to the show’s final production.
I asked him about his expectations for this year. He doesn’t see the season as a one-horse race (and I did this interview before the last two Bayern debacles). While he feels that Bayern have a plethora of talent , he mentions the lack of a top class goalkeeper as one issue, and he also wonders about how well new signings like Mario Gomez will perform. He feels that Wolfsburg are quite capable of repeating, due to having a very balanced squad, with a strong defense, a good central midfield pairing and great flank play to complement Grafite and Dzeko. He, like Andy Brassel, brought up Ziani as a signing to look out for.
He feels that it will be more difficult for Hoffenheim this season, as they will not be able to surprise anyone like they did in the first half of last season. He thought that the challenge for them would be tactically, in that their opponents are now much better prepared for Hoffenheim’s intense attacking play. Finally, he feels that, although it’s very early, it appears that Felix Magath has already made big improvements at Schalke, similar to how he began to improve things at Wolfsburg. But for Magath, the job is a bit easier this time around, as Schalke already had the makings of a good team. He could see them as dark horses.
Mostly he was looking forward to the season as the Bundesliga is so high-scoring and full of attacking play. He says that one of reasons why the Bundesliga has so much scoring is the number of big, strong strikers, who are typically very hard to defend for a full 90 minutes. (Don’t tell the EPL). And he said something that I felt needed a quote as it was quite a great insight by Lindsey, “the mentality of attacking play comes in part from some of the philosophies of legendary players as far back as the 70’s, some of whom manage clubs and work to keep that attacking mentality.” That a deserving place to end this piece, don’t you think?