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When Football Commentators Sound Better With The Volume Turned Off

martyn hindley When Football Commentators Sound Better With The Volume Turned Off

The mark of an exceptional football commentator is when they add value to a match you’re watching on television. Otherwise, if they’re not adding anything worthwhile, you’re better off watching the game in silence.

Take for example the incident when Dirk Kuyt scored for Liverpool in the first half of Tuesday’s Champions League match against Lyon, only for the goal to be disallowed. Here’s what commentator Martyn Hindley said the moment after the ball found the back of the net:

“Liverpool, through Dirk Kuyt, thought for a moment that they had the lead. Two away from that second highest scorer for Liverpool in European footballing history. The man who scored the winner on Matchday One against Debrecen. Dirk Kuyt with a moment of frustration. A bit too much pressure, a bit too much urgency from Kuyt as he stole in there for the header. Not too much of a complaint from ground level.”

Now if you’re a casual or newbie soccer fan (there may be quite a lot of them especially if they watched the game on the more accessible Fox Sports Net), you may have absolutely no idea why the goal was disallowed. Hindley’s above description of what happened after the ball went in is babble. There’s no explanation of what happened and why the goal was chalked off. Instead, you get a couple of quick stats to fill the dead air, and a vague comment that there were few complaints at ground level (from who, the players or supporters or both?). While Hindley didn’t say it, the goal was disallowed because Kuyt pushed down the Lyon defender before he headed the ball into the back of the net.

If I had my volume turned down for that disallowed goal, I wouldn’t have missed out on any insight from Hindley.

By the way, I was amused to find out that Hindley is the Operations Director of the Tim White Media Consultancy, the firm responsible for some atrocious commentary during the Champions League this season.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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19 Responses to When Football Commentators Sound Better With The Volume Turned Off

  1. F1Mikal says:

    Now if only we had an option that only lets us hear the nat-ambient sound of the stadium/fans/players…that would be awesome.

    Imagine another form of SAP, no commentators. Sometimes that is great.

    m

    • Greg says:

      I don’t see why more TV stations don’t do this. You would figure it would save them a decent bit a coin and make quite a few of their viewers ecstatic.

      I think it might have been American football, but for a couple of games I remember being able to turn it on SAP on a certain station and you would hear the natural sounds with no commentators. It was excellent.

  2. Zola612 says:

    I wonder if Mr. Hindley ever looks over a transcript of his work. Any professional interested in improving his craft needs to assess his own work, and that passage of commentary is truly an embarrassment by any standard.

  3. eplnfl says:

    Was able to look for he quote during FSC late night showing of the game. A sound track that told us nothing of value from Mr. Hindley. I suppose that he was at a remote location broadcasting from a monitor and suspect that did does not help his presentation. A one man broadcast is another factor that could lead to a complete lack of a description of what is taking place on the field.

    Yes, FSC has a right to be unhappy for what they are paying for by way of audio feeds. Let Max Brentos and Chris Sullivan do a remote from LA, it won’t be any worse.

  4. RedMD says:

    Once again FSC dont seem able to figure out a way to put this package together right. Crap production values, crap commentary. Anyone who has ever listened to uefa.com broadcasts of the champions league in the last 5 or 6 years knew this was what we were in for. Setanta is on its last legs, but still is smart enough to know when to use its Setanta Ireland feed for football matches. But FSC for whatever reason will not use SKY Sports. And on another note, what freaking contract did FSC sign for these broadcasts that says they have to mercilessly flog Heineken at every single possible moment? Every commercial at least twice, before beginning the broadcast, then right before kick-off, then right after the whistle, then before going to commerical again…I swear ESPN only mentioned the sponsors half as often (going into and coming out of commercials only)….ugh, its just shitty.

    • Duke says:

      The Heineken commercials are MUCH less annoying this time around, IMHO. The commercials from last season’s Champion’s League made me want to go postal by the time the match was over. They must have bumpered everything with the same two or three spots with that $#!@&* choir singing that cursed, ear-splitting tune! Gaaah!

      I mean, yeah, it’s still annoying, but it’s better than before…

    • SSReporters says:

      The Inter Milan vs. D. Kiev game was the Sky Sports feed.

  5. cb says:

    I’m sick of these awful UEFA commentators – they are ruining the experience of a fine tournament – I wonder what match White himself will ruin tomorrow?

  6. Jay says:

    Is it just me or is the audio for these matches really bad? I swear I can’t hear anything other than the announcer who is 100 times louder than the action on the pitch. FSC has been pretty lackluster so far with there coverage.

  7. hedi says:

    You will get used to bad comentator when you watch the games through Indonesian television. So, perhaps Hindley is better than Indonesian one who have less understanding and knowledge of the game. Shame on them.

  8. AtlantaPompey says:

    Where are the commentators from on the DirecTv channel 461-469 feeds? FSC, Setanta, and a regional Fox Sports Net channel are showing three of those matches, but the other five are coming from Europe, I believe. Usually only one announcer too, which I prefer.

    I’ve gotten to the point where I prefer to watch mediocre matches in HD rather than potentially great matches in standard. The DirecTv channels have been fantastic. I had yesterday off from work (coincidence, I swear!) and watched Barcelona, Liverpool and Rangers all lose. Seeing all of those on the same screen at the same time was a little confusing, but you get used to it. Anyone else watch yesterday’s action that way?

  9. Leeboy says:

    Tim White Media Consultancy must have put together a VERY competitive tender for ‘commentary’! I’m sorry the US is lumbered with it, as the CL is the most prestigious club football tournament, and in terms of coverage it should be treated that way. NB. SKY SPORTS in the UK show every match live (minus 1 on Wednesday which is shown FTA on ITV) and have full commentary at every game. Why not take this? Or why not go one better FSC and just rebroadcast the SKY SPORTS coverage WHENEVER POSSIBLE!
    As a footnote – In the UK for NFL coverage the studio segments on SKY are local from London, but the game coverage is from the network covering the game, with the same graphics, commentary etc. Even though that means having ESPN/Fox/NBC logos on screen. Its always been this way – people want to see and hear what you see and hear over there. Why is the policy not the same for our football over there?

    • Zola612 says:

      Leeboy,
      It is great that you get the US commentary in the UK for the NFL. But please let me apologize for the often sub-par commentary you are get even then. The truth is that the commentary on any sporting event is often underwhelming.
      During last Sunday’s Vikings-Ravens thriller the national TV broadcasting team for CBS failed to mention the 2nd quarter injury to the Vikings All-Pro starting cornerback Antoine Winfield. Winfield replacement was abused by the Raven’s passing game and lead to what was nearly a memorable comeback. This was THE storyline of the second half and it was never mentioned. It was equivalent to a UK broadcaster failing to acknowledge a Nemanja Vidic injury in the 20th minute and that is why John O’Shea was playing and being abused by Didier Drogba, simply inexcusable.

  10. May Kerr says:

    When monotone Des Curran and monotone Lou Macari get together they would depress anyone, they take a good game, and make it depressing, in fact Curran never stops talking about nothing, then you can hardly hear him which is good, so Setanta I will be looking for a better Sports Provider if that is the best you can do. I think you should have let the Depressing Duo go, and kept John Champion and Craig Burley they are missed they made a bad game interesting also they new the game more than the depressing duo. Canada

  11. May Kerr says:

    Watching the Man United game with the worlds worst commentators Curran and Macari Setanta must be hard up, please bring back Jon Champion and Craig Burley and put this Depressing Duo out of their misery, we can hardly hear them both rambling on about nothing, and Macari with his DEAR DEAR DES its enough to send a football fan to strong drink.

  12. Piyush says:

    Today’s commentary on the Manchecter vs Moskow game was utterly awful. The commentator went meandering on about stuff not even remotely related to the game and his voice sounded as if he has had a cold all his life. FOX he recognize that its viewers have been complaning about the Champions League commentary for a while now and should step in and sort the matter out. The commentary on Sky Sports is much better and enjoyable and i would suggest FOX to switch to that stream and kick these commentators who sit in LA during the game out!

  13. colin king says:

    I wonder how many of you watch Barclays Premier Football and wonder why so many of these comentators persist in given results and other detaills from other games which we are going to be able to see right after the one we are seeing.I find this most anoying and the worste affender in this regard is DES CURRAN.I also do not want to have those boxes droping down at the top of the TV scene with scores of ongoing games in.Where can one complain about this to and get it corrected ?

    • The Gaffer says:

      Colin, it’s pretty rare that they do that (except for Setanta Ireland (and Canada), which does it all the time). But as we get closer to the end of the season, you’ll see/hear the TWI do it more. As for Setanta Ireland (and Canada), they constantly have the Game Flash that pops up the latest score, as well as Des Curran ruining it too.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  14. Bon says:

    It would be nice and more enjoyable soccer/football matches If we have an option to turn off or volume down the sound of commentators

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