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Stay On Your Feet Ray Wilkins

ray wilkins Stay On Your Feet Ray WilkinsThere were several storylines that came out of the Bernabeu Tuesday night after Tottenham Hotspur sunk to a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Real Madrid. One of the most interesting to me was the annoying commentary by co-commentator Ray Wilkins, the former Chelsea assistant manager. He made his colleague Alan Parry’s mispronunciation of Spanish surnames seem trivial in comparison.

Wilkins began the match like a bossy headmaster, ranting and trying too hard to make a point instead of adding color to the match. He seemed on a mission to prove his points instead of concentrating on the minutiae of what was happening in front of our eyes.

His observation that Tottenham players should stay on their feet was a key argument. However, he repeated the same point over and over again so much that I was ready to put my hands through the TV screen and throttle Mr. Wilkins.

In many ways, it seemed that Wilkins was trying too hard as if he was rehearsing for a job interview to become a football manager. Most of his observations were welcome. It was just the delivery of those observations and how he monopolized the conversation that were annoying. Co-commentators are meant to chirp in and provide clear and concise analysis. Wilkins ended up sounding like a broken record.

I can only imagine how annoying Wilkins must have been as an assistant manager.

When referees have a poor game in the Premier League, they’re often demoted to a Football League match to improve their skills before they ref a top flight match again. Perhaps it’s time for Sky Sports to give Wilkins the same treatment so he doesn’t ruin our football viewing experience again?

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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 →

41 Responses to Stay On Your Feet Ray Wilkins

  1. tina butterfield says:

    i agree

    his choice of words and descriptions were annoying, irritating, there was no banter between the 2 gentlemen.
    and he used the expression ” oh my god ” too many times

    get him off the commentry team
    he ruined the game

  2. sucka99 says:

    Good thing I didn’t watch. Spurs Champions League matches this season have been the most unwatchable in terms of the commentary. Poor form, Sky.

  3. Evan says:

    He referred to Spurs as “we” a few times. It got very annoying.
    He kept saying Spurs didn’t deserve to lose, when in fact they did. If you defend like sh*t, you deserve to get beat.

    • King Eric says:

      exactly! one use of “we” in particular was when he said we need to get gareth bale the ball. i’m glad this was mentioned as well as the article, it was sooo annoying to watch. he was trying to play manager or something and making his points instead of really commentating.

  4. DGS says:

    Yes, the “Spurs didn’t deserve this. Harry didn’t deserve this line.” was amusing.

    They quite earned that thrashing, methinks.

  5. Simon Burke says:

    I’ve heard worse but he wasnt good! Keep the ball and stay on your feet were the 2 lines he kept repeating. They dont deserve this??? I know what he meant but it was a poor choice of words. Also I like it when the commentators at least try to appear impartial. Alan Parry is okay but Wilkins and WE was very poor.

    I am sure his coaching was fine – the principles he has are great when shouted at players .. but not an audience.

  6. Nick says:

    I thought the “they don’t deserve this” bit was by far the worst, just cause he was using it to basically shrug off a pretty good goal from Ronaldo. LIke “Oh yeah, it’s a good goal, but Harry doesn’t deserve this, we don’t deserve this” as if this was a punishment, like what should Mourinho and Ronaldo do just go “Ok, Harry, we scored enough, we’ll stop now.”

  7. pete says:

    Wilkins is giving his views to an English audience, and they are all behind spurs. no other country is any different, did you hear C Coleman when England played Wales, he was going on about Wales players needing to put these English players on their backside, this was to English viewers.

    The guests are usually bias towards a group and it doesn’t matter where they are from, England Wales, Scotland, America and they are just the ones i can understand, you really think the spanish guys are any different or the italian?

    • Pakapala says:

      Actually he was not just talking to an english audience. But even if he was, he’s commenting on a live game, not being asked for pre or post match opinions. As such his bias was over the top. Sure you can sense bias on other english and foreign commentators when they’re covering a team from their own country, but Wilkins was over the top.

  8. Ronald says:

    @pete. I can categorically guarantee we are not ‘all behind spurs’ just because they are English. A fair few of us, detest that club and its fans who have spent the last 15 years telling us they are a sleeping giant. There’s none so delusional as a Spurs fan. I used to love wilko as a pundit on Football Italia, but just as I supported Bayern in 1999 when they played the Red Scum, so I supported Mourinho’s lot last night.

    • Matt says:

      wow. someone sounds a bit grumpy that they are out of europe…or because they lead the life of a chelsea fan…

      • Ronald says:

        I support neither Arsenal or Chelsea! I just dislike Spurs and Man U intensely – Spurs for their fans, and United because, well, any right thinking person finds them disgusting.

  9. esperenza says:

    LOL at this dude’s comment, “Wilkins is giving his views to an English audience, and they are all behind spurs.” Get off your high horse matey, majority of the audience don’t give a hoot about spurs. Moreover, it was broadcasted worldwide and the biasness of this baldy is appalling.

    • pete says:

      If it’s being given to a world wide audience, who’s fault is that. He is doing this for sky sports in ENGLAND, if american espn or fox sports are so cheap they can’t have their own guys do it and use the english feed then i would get on to them.

      • esperenza says:

        cut the crap, don’t tell me they commentators don’t know if it’s aired locally or worlwide. Just listen to the experienced ones like Alan Brazil (no more with Sky), Gerry Armstrong etc, they can be impartial. Why can’t the baldy? I can tolerate a biased commentary provided it’s made for local audience i.e. BBC Sport or Channel 5 which is only for British isles.

  10. DaveG says:

    I have a different approach to it.
    I was watching the game with my 12 year old son and was loving everything that Wilkins was saying…he rammed some good principles of defending and keeping possession down my sons throat all through the match!! LOL
    My son also picked up on the “we” comments though and I pointed out that at this stage in the competition its doesn’t surprise me that an english commentator would be wanting the English team to progress. Not a huge issue for me personally, but I can see how it would piss the tits off others.
    Wilkins was a top notch player at club and international level and a very under rated coach so I think that I will give him the benefit of the doubt and shut up for 90 minutes while in my armchair and listen to what he has to say.

  11. osama khalid says:

    Wilkins always does not have an idea about what he is speaking and does that make sense or not ? I think he needs to be DEMOTED

  12. pete says:

    And before you guys get on your high horse i’ll ask you to remember this, ‘GO, GO USA’.

    very neutral.

  13. JC says:

    He made some valid points (such as Spurs not trying to drive forward so fast, and instead trying to slow down Madrid). But he’s not easy to listen to because of his repetitiveness and his odd use of phrases.

    The “We” comments bothered me not because of the homer-ism. I’m not shocked by an English commentator rooting for an English club. He said it in such as way that it was clear he assumed his whole audience was rooting for them too, which was wrong, and THAT’s the part of the “we” comment that bothered me.

    • pete says:

      The ‘We’ comment maybe true, but I had to listen to Ian Darke along with 20 million other people in England screaming Go, Go, USA. Do you really think anyone in England cares whether the U.S team went through? He therefore is assuming that his entire audience is American.
      That would not have been the case even if it was only broadcast in America let alone when it goes out to other countries.
      I actually wanted the U.S to draw or lose so England would finish top, The way he was carrying on he may as well have put his uncle sam costume on and waved his pom poms. Better still just stick an NFL cheerleader on the air so we can hear her scream USA USA over and over.

      • JC says:

        Slightly difference circumstances I think because it’s a safer assumption (yet still not always correct, as you point out) during the WC that the majority is rooting for one or the other. But I can see why that would be obnoxious to someone not rooting for USA, no doubt.

        That said, Ian Dark acting like a twit doesn’t forgive Ray Wilkins for doing the same.

        I’m waiting for the day when I can use my remote control to choose “sounds of the game” as an option and not have to hear any of these dummies. :)

      • sucka99 says:

        Was Ian Darke’s call for ESPN English in the US even broadcast in England? I was pretty certain that only BBC had the rights to the English language feed in the UK. So if you were watching the pirated feed of the match and heard Ian Darke addressing what he assumed to be an American audience (and believe me the way he dumbed down the commentary you can be sure he was) then that’s on you, not him.

        For the record I thought it was a bit amateurish too, but it’s to be expected. I can’t see Martin Tyler (or comparable BBC commentator) going deadpanned if a similar situation had befallen England in the 90th minute of a game they had to win.

        • pete says:

          Yes the BBC had the rights and to be honest i can’t remeber where i heard it, but i did. Maybe the bbc were using espn’s feed for that game, I can’t remember. That wasn’t the point anyway, the point was, it was said and therefore it goes to show that wherever you are in the world the commentators will edge towards a team, especially if that team is playing a team from a different country.

          I watched the recent game involving the U.S on a stream and i can remember Harkes (i think it was) saying ‘we’ instead of the USA quite a few times.

          • sucka99 says:

            I think there’s a difference between a country’s official broadcaster showing a homer bias for the country’s official team in international competition versus a broadcaster that covers 20 teams in the country broadcasting a game of one of them in international club competition.

            That and ESPN/Harkes are terrible.

      • Pakapala says:

        You are missing the point Pete:
        For starter, I am still not sure whether he said “Goal goal USA” or “Go go USA”, but Ian Darke was the play-by-play announcer in that game, so it wasn’t a matter of him being bias toward the US; he is supposed to show that excitement about a goal, whether it is by the US, England, or Algeria. You would have a point if you had pointed out that his partner of the day, John Harkes was acting like Ray Wilkins during the world cup; he was for all practical purpose a team USA cheerleader to the point that it bothered neutral viewers.

        • pete says:

          No in fact that’s worse, the play by play guy is suppose to be the pro, it is the other guy who is usually some ex pro footballer who has a bias towards a certain team (see C Colemen, Wales vs England).
          And yes he is suppose to show excitment, GOOOOOOAAAAL or ROOOOOOOONEY not get his pom poms out and start cheering USA USA USA

  14. onions says:

    I don’t get FSC in HD so I just turned to Fox Deportes and the Spanish commentary instead after about 15 minutes.

  15. hank says:

    Good read. I also found the commentary annoying, but I had a hard time putting my finger on what was annoying about it. Its not that I particularly disagreed with anything he said, but how it was said. A bit of personal bias is fine, but in this instance, it clouded his ability to provide insight into the match. E.g.:

    “Spurs didn’t deserve this. Harry didn’t deserve this line.”

    Which (1) ignored an amazing goal and (2) ignored reality (Tottenham were being outplayed decisively on the field).

    On some level, I appreciate what I think he was getting at: That Tottenham has put on a good (and entertaining) run in the Champions league, and it would be unfair if the only thing people remember is them getting mauled (a man down) at Real Madrid. He didn’t say that though! What he said, was somewhat absurd. Even if he had, probably not the right moment in the match to discuss it.

  16. Howard says:

    Ray Wilkins was a brilliant player. He understands the game and knows what he’s talking about. He actually gave plaudits to Real and Spurs players even to the ref. So what if he’s biased towards the English clubs. He IS directly commentating for the UK not North America. Ex players are entitled to give their opinion, that’s what they are on there for. It’s what I want to hear, not the same old teflon bilge from the commentator. “Stay on your feet” is sensible advice and something Crouch could have heeded.

    • Mike says:

      As an American Spurs fan, I caught the “we” of Wilkins comments and rather liked it. Sure, it was biased but being somewhat accustomed to having ‘home team’ coverage of a game as we get in the States, it gave me something I’d never been able to get from watching the team: a homer. In this instance, I could relate. Honestly, if it was a non-Spurs game, I probably wouldn’t bother watching (other things to do). I also thought the ‘stay on your feet’ comment: one I’d not heard previously, but makes total sense. That said, Spurs totally ‘deserved’ to lose. They need some strikers: Defoe & Crouch’s best days are behind him, Pavlyuchenko unreliable.

  17. Matt says:

    Completely agree with you on this one Gaffer. Wilkins was insufferable yesterday, and I was mostly watching the Inter-Schalke contest so I only caught snippets of his commentary. I actually rather enjoyed him on a CL game earlier in the competition, but I found it hilarious when he said that Spurs “didn’t deserve” what was happening to them. On the 4th goal in particular, he kept saying that Spurs didn’t deserve it instead of giving actual analysis. I’m pretty sure they “deserved” every goal that they allowed, especially the 4th one Gomes ole’d into the net.

  18. sheldon says:

    he also said spurs can defend corners against real madrid and it was the open play that was killing them. when in fact the first two goals came from corners. what did spurs deserve then? could’ve been worse if the penalty call against dawson was made.

  19. Smokey Bacon says:

    Wilkins is a f-kin embarrassment! And wtf is wrong with the sound on FSC? The crowd noise for the Chelsea-Man U game was almost non-audible. But then again, it was Chelsea I suppose.

    • sucka99 says:

      FSC has had sound mixing/syncing problems since they started taking the SKY feeds last February.

    • DaveG says:

      FSC sandard feeds are a joke
      I watched the game on a stream from ITV and the sound AND PICTURE is 10 times better
      COME ON COMCAST!! Get yer finger out!!!

  20. Daisy Meek says:

    Spot on for all the above comments about Mr Wilkins’ lack of ability as a co-commenmtator – also his comment about the ref. being “top drawer” one minute and criticising him a few minutes later when “we”??? didn’t get the decisions “we”??? deserved. Stick with coaching Ray, this really is not your style or area of expertise.

  21. Indigo says:

    Commentary aside, it is a little crazy how big this has gotten, we printed the t-shirts (that got featured in the Metro). If you want an idea of how things like this go viral have a read of this blog I wrote http://blog.indigo2go.com/

    Enjoy!

  22. Wayne says:

    “RUN GARETH” LOL what a clown

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