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Ian Wright’s Embarrassing Commentary Against Chelsea Fans On FOX Soccer Sours A Brilliant Game

ian wright gus johnson png Ian Wrights Embarrassing Commentary Against Chelsea Fans On FOX Soccer Sours A Brilliant Game

FOX Soccer’s adventures in providing its own commentary for the most high profile European soccer matches of 2013 took another embarrassing turn Sunday afternoon. This time it was for the FA Cup quarter-final between Manchester United and Chelsea, commentated by Gus Johnson and Ian Wright.

Surprisingly, it was Wright who made several glaring and controversial mistakes that had viewers shaking their heads wondering when this experiment will end.

In his role as a co-commentator, Wright chastised Chelsea supporters on numerous occasions in the game, repeatedly calling their actions embarrassing and seemingly painting all Chelsea fans with the same brush. The former Arsenal footballer was way out of line in his criticism of Chelsea supporters and immediately destroyed his impartiality when he began his tirade in the second half.

After Eden Hazard scored Chelsea’s first goal, here’s what Wright said:

“Chelsea fans ain’t singing about Rafa now. I almost want Chelsea to win the game so they can embarrass [the fans] again. [They are] such an embarrassment.”

Then after Ramires scored the equalizer for the Blues, Wright again attacked Chelsea supporters:

“I’ve got to say Chelsea fans, look at them now. So embarrassing!”

“He’s made two substitutions that they didn’t like. They gave him stick and now they’re back in the game. What are [the Chelsea fans] going to do? Embarrassing.”

It’s one thing for Wright to say those things as an analyst on radio or in newspapers, but it’s a different thing entirely when you’re supposed to be an impartial color commentator who needs to be providing insights to enhance our viewing experience. Wright was completely out of order by saying those things in a game where he instantly demonized half the audience.

To be fair to both Johnson and Wright, I thought they formed a very strong commentary partnership in the first half. The more conversational Wright seemed to fit better with Johnson’s commentary style. The calls by Johnson for each of the two Manchester United goals in the first half were excellent, perfectly capturing the energy and excitement of the goals as well as succinctly describing what happened before Wright cut in to add his insight.

On the first goal, Wright focused in on the importance of Michael Carrick’s inch-perfect cross to Javier Hernandez, describing it as something that critics would have been fawning over if someone like Andrea Pirlo had struck it.

The second goal was also spectacularly called by Wright who gave valuable insight before the Wayne Rooney free kick was taken, instructing the viewer where the ball should be hit. And Rooney did exactly that, crossing the ball near the far post as it sailed untouched into the back of the net.

But other than those two key moments for Wright and his conversational tone with Johnson, the remainder of Wright’s co-commentary was sub-par. I lost count the number of times he said Gus. He spoke over the top of Johnson far too frequently. And his analysis became very repetitive particularly in describing how Chelsea’s Demba Ba needed to do a better job at holding up the ball to provide service to Lampard and Oscar.

In the second half after Juan Mata twisted his ankle when turning in the Manchester United penalty area, the play continued until referee Howard Webb called a free kick. With the brief stoppage in play, the broadcast showed a replay of Chelsea’s equalizing goal but Ian Wright said that Ashley Cole scored it when everyone knew and could see that it was Ramires.

Johnson, meanwhile, had his best first half of all his commentaries thus far. The American seemed more conscious about his commentating today. Throughout the game, he gave a slight pause before commentating on it, which made a big difference in what he was describing (instead of commentating everything precisely as it happened where he would often make mistakes or describe something with a lot of enthusiasm even as the ball sailed into the top row of the stadium).

However, just as Wright stumbled with his criticism of Chelsea supporters in the second half, Johnson came undone at times too, although not nearly as badly as Wright.

Johnson’s most embarrassing moment was when he asked Wright in the second half “Is [Michael Carrick] their new Roy Keane?” To ask that about a 31-year-old midfielder who’s been at Manchester United for eight years showed a complete lack of understanding of the player, as well as an incredibly poor reading of Carrick’s style of play compared to Keane.

Thankfully, Johnson saved some grace with two more excellent calls — this time for Chelsea’s first and second goals in the second half.

There are still aspects of Johnson’s commentary that are grating to the listener, particularly his turns of of phrase such as “curls it in the six,” “Man U,” “Cleverley trying to dump it in,” and “Wayne Rooney clips it up high.” None of these translate well to the game of soccer, and what is a clip anyway? Is he confusing it with chipping the ball?

Also, I’m not sure what target audience Johnson was trying to speak to when he had this to say after Shinji Kagawa was substituted and on came Danny Welbeck:

“Keep your eye on Welbeck. He’s very good in the air. Scored a brilliant header against Real Madrid in Spain. An away goal as those teams drew 1-1″

I don’t think there was anyone watching this game who was unfamiliar with Welbeck or what the striker provides.

Overall, this was a much improved commentary by Johnson, but he was undermined today by Ian Wright letting his Arsenal allegiances get the better of him. Even still, Johnson’s commentary is still nowhere near the level of competence that a typical commentary for a FA Cup, Premier League or Champions League game provides.

If this experiment is to continue, FOX needs to find a more competent co-commentator. Wright is a liability with the things he says. Warren Barton has improved. Lee Dixon was better than I expected, while Ray Clemence was good at analyzing the game from a goalkeeper’s perspective, but I still feel they haven’t found someone who is a perfect match yet. Wright has been the closest so far, until he opened his mouth and said things that you’d expect a pundit such as Piers Morgan to say. Personally I’d like to see Stewart Robson paired up with Johnson to see if that improves the broadcast.

There were things to be positive about today, but overall it’s still a shame that FOX Sports has decided to change its winning formula of providing the world commentary feed, which has been more than adequate for 16 years.

This entry was posted in Chelsea, FA Cup, Leagues: EPL, Manchester United. Bookmark the permalink.

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 →

121 Responses to Ian Wright’s Embarrassing Commentary Against Chelsea Fans On FOX Soccer Sours A Brilliant Game

  1. Michael losardo says:

    Ok Fox, please end this experiment . Gus is like a screaming hyena with his calls near the net and to be honest, although he may improve I don’t think many if us have the patience to see how long it takes for him to understand the game well enough to announce it properly. As for Wright, well he showed he does not belong on the air

  2. Brad says:

    I agree that Gus was a lot better today and I hope he continues to improve.

    I don’t completely agree with you on Ian Wright though. I appreciate commentators who give their opinion. I don’t think those comments removed the impartiality from his analysis. Later in the match he chastised the United supporters for leaving early.

  3. Ed says:

    Gus’s comment about Wellbeck’s goal in Madrid being an “away goal” would only be of relevance before the second leg. With the tie done and dusted, who cares?

    • Brad says:

      You are nitpicking at this point. With that logic, why mention any goal from the past?

      • De Selby says:

        It’s the fact that saying “away goal” was unnecessary and repetitive and made him sound like he was trying to impress with his knowledge.

      • Ed says:

        You’re missing the point. As De Selby says below, he mentions it’s an away goal just to impress on viewers he understands the value of an away goal in European football. But it no longer matters, the second leg had been played and Wellbeck’s “away goal” did not determine the final result. If the game at Old Trafford had finished 0-0 then, yes, it was relevant. And to say “it was an away goal as those teams drew 1-1″. It would be an away goal if the game finished 10-1. He just came across as trying too hard.

  4. De Selby says:

    I agree with you that Wright was the closest to fitting with Gus. Of course the fact that Gus is announcing at all is the main problem.

    I wasn’t as troubled by Wright’s criticism of the Chelsea fans. (maybe because I mostly agree with him) I suppose he was generalising a bit but other than that it didn’t really bother me.

    As for his terminology, late in the second half he said a Chelsea player (can’t remember which one) tried to “split” Jonny Evans. That would have been quite a feat. I reckon the term “nutmeg” was what he was attempting to describe.

    Overall, Johnson’s main issues to me (in order of importance) are:

    -Not fundamentally understanding the game that he is announcing which leads him to emphasize the wrong things while often ignoring important ones.

    -His phrases that don’t make sense. You described several. (I’ll add “CROSSES OVER!!”)And the FACT that he RANDOMLY and seemingly WITHOUT reason will YELL these phrases out INDEPENDENT of what is happening ON the pitch.

    -The fact that I know that he does not have a historical knowledge of the game. Of course there’s nothing he can do about this but the fact that really all he can do is learn the players’ names (and maybe some rudimentary facts about them)and identify them is just not going to cut it for me.

  5. Terry says:

    So you criticize Wright for saying something negative about Chelsea fans because you think he should be impartial but you defended John Champion for calling Suarez a cheat. Why the double standard?

    As far as Fox’s continued experiment in trying to make Gus johnson acceptable, no matter what they try it just isn’t working. Thankfully, this will end in May. Let’s see what Fox does about the Champions League next season. Who knows they may just surprise us. I live in hope.

  6. Fernando says:

    Ian Wright showed how much class he lacks with his ranting today.

    The mere fact that he knew why Rio Ferdinand wasn’t being picked for England and refused to say it on the air shows that he is not a pundit but rather a man worried about upsetting people in the English game. That’s not offering analysis.

    Let us not forget Wright had no idea why Mikel was coming on before patting Benitez on the back and having a go at Chelsea’s support.

    • Gerry Binks says:

      A Romanan gypsy has a better english vocabulary than ian wright.

      We cockneys do have a unique language, but the syntax must still be correct. Warren Barton is another casualty.

      Wright’s is simply uneducated street moron. He fits in well with Gus (token black with connections).

      • Marcus says:

        There’s seriously no reason to be racist, asshole. Not all black people are uneducated. I have an MD degree.

  7. Mookie says:

    Gus Johnson didn’t improve much at all. “Crossover” is not a thing that happens in soccer. Also just shouting at nothing way too often, particularly crosses that never met an attacking player’s head.

    The issue though was just that Ian Wright was an all-time disaster.

    That was a horrible broadcast. Fox needs to stop tampering with what’s working so they can further their stupid pet project.

  8. Selwyn says:

    I couldn’t disagree with you more about Ian Wright. I think he was absolutely brilliant. His flavor and insight was exactly what a football fun is looking for in commentary. I completely loved it. I by no means believe he was showing partiality by his comments about the Chelsea fans. He was showing how ridiculous it is that the fans, ( the very ones Benitez is moaning about) are treating their Gaffer. I loved his enthusiasm about the refs calls, the players faking and most of all his knowledge if the game. On the other hand Gus the Clown was a continuing embarrassment and should be given a red card immediately with no chance of return.

  9. ed of course says:

    talkSPORT is a great alternative to FAUX-pas Soccer. They even keep an archive of the games played.

    Question for someone who uses talkSPORT: Does the audio (talkSPORT) synch with the TV for you. I have noticed a delay in one to the other.

    • De Selby says:

      For me Talksport seems to usually be 10-20 seconds behind the TV. Sometimes I listen with the headphones in just one ear so I can hear both commentaries and compare them.

  10. aburtyboy says:

    The Webb comments are more alarming. regardless of his epiphany half way through his 12th man diatribe.
    Chelsea fans didn’t need wright to make point of their stupidity. the subs proved the FSW right.
    Fox Soccer are digging a big grave for themselves with this sh&%$ commentating, and that is being polite

  11. huye says:

    Why? Because its a little biased…and downright honest?

    Chelsea fans DESERVE to be embarrassed. Mr Wright pointing out the faults of the chelsea fans is what we need. Enough tip toeing around correctness and not wanting to offend. Lets get real.

    • Clay Olson says:

      I have to agree. I listen to Wright, Stoney and Jim two or three times a week and find him a great radio personality. Had Wright ignored the Chelsea fans, it would have been okay. Acknowledging the flammable atmosphere is just as well also. As you said, it isn’t as if he overstated or lied about anything

    • Fernando says:

      Chelsea fans shouldn’t have to be ashamed of voicing their discontent with a manager they don’t like and a club who is tone deaf.

      Who do you support Huye? Bet your lot have acquiesced to everything your club has done.

      • susan says:

        Learn some history before you post as to why Chels fans dislike Rafa. They have every reason to voice their dislike as that is the only way they are heard. Why is is ok for Man Utd fans to voice their dislike of the Glazers?

  12. huye says:

    And Gus is what U.S. needs for commentary. Lets face it…to the average american fringe soccer fan there are either boring english commentators or the ridiculous latin GOOOOOOOL’s. Gus translates the excitement well in a manner many can relate to.

    But on with your football-snob opinions.

    • aburtyboy says:

      and gus takes commentating football games back 30 years.
      care to explain the wailing on a shot that clearly is going nowhere but he screams like a teenager?
      boring english? any day of the week please.
      If you want American commentators commentating on English football games then please give us the lads off ESPN at least.
      This is nothing more than FSC throwing a woobly at losing the rights and getting back at the expat viewership for their constant harassment of a shite production, as has been for many years

      Huye go watch another spot you have no clue….

      • BuckNastee says:

        “If you want American commentators commentating on English football games then please give us the lads off ESPN at least.”

        Is this a joke? ESPN’s coverage is 2 Brits you arrogant effing Pom.

  13. Fulhamish says:

    Isn’t the headline “Sours a Brilliant game” a bit strong? While I agree with Ian’s comments I’ll concede he should have toned it down. But did it really tarnish anyone’s viewing experience, outside of the most sensitive of Chelsea fans?

    I think we all need to relax a little on the commentary. No shortage of talking points today yet 70% of the match’s EPL thread was dedicated to Gus. And Gaffer, is it really fair to criticize the guy for referencing Welbeck’s header attributes? Gus was actually doing his job correctly there, demonstrating some insight while contributing to the game’s narrative. A commentator cannot assume the viewer saw the last match.

    Today’s broadcast was far from perfect, but why get rid of the only guy who has developed any chemistry with Gus thus far?

    • aburtyboy says:

      far from perfect? it was a travesty
      if that was on FSC+ I’d want my money back it was that appalling.
      At least Warren got things right on his watch but alas he’s a brit and a geordie and that just dont sit right with your product does it?
      Put the Beeb,Sky, ITV commentators back on and give up this very bad decision.

      • Fulhamish says:

        Ok you are obviously winding me up but I’ll bite.

        A Travesty? Really?

        Are you a Chelsea fan by any chance?

        Not sure what your point is on Warren. Ian is English as well and Warren isn’t a Geordie.

        • aburtyboy says:

          i am a United fan, please refer to wrights ABU comments as the basis of your reply… He’s a bar code (NUFC) its called Humor.

          He failed miserably FSC viewers deserve better, end of!!!

  14. Michael says:

    I loved Ian Wright today. I think his comments were such that most people(excluding Chelsea fans) would agree with him on. He called it like he saw it

    • aburtyboy says:

      did he call why Rio is out of the England squad?
      did he call Webb a homer? Punditry not message board and twitter innuendo please. he was utter sh*te bring up the rear was that waste of space Gus…

      • Pete says:

        Ferdinand isn’t in the England team because he sucks now.
        He’s lost a few yards of pace and is becoming a liability.

        That’s besides the fact he’s a mouthy prick.

        Every players time comes to an end and Ferdinand is at that end.

  15. Michael says:

    Why is it the the Gaffer always has the seemingly wrong opinion on everything? He defends Champion when most people agreed he was out of line. Now he attacks Wright with a ridiculous headline on this article, when most people didn’t have a problem with Wright.

    • Sammy says:

      I never knew there was such a thing as a “wrong” opinion.

      Everybody has their own opinion. Just because someone’s opinion goes with the minority does not make it “wrong”.

  16. Mick says:

    The commentary is crap, Gus shouted trough the whole game, it’s not Basketball ! Ian Wright is an Arsenal man hence the Chelsea comments but he did it in the wrong forum. The world feed has been good for many years, Fox it ain’t broke so don’t try to fix it ! Get back to the world feed.

  17. Todd Shenk says:

    I watched the Manchester United v Chelsea match from the FA Cup this Sunday evening. I had dvr’d the match after being out of town and my wife was around while I was watching it. Here are a few of her comments while listening to Gus Johnson on FOX Soccer’s broadcast.

    “This guy needs to go away!” After a call in which Johnson yelled a player’s name while crossing or taking a shot.

    “He’s terrible.” After a call in which Johnson yelled another player’s name while crossing or taking a shot.

    This was followed up with the following: “I don’t think you could have any self respect and suck as much as this guy and be able to accept this job [as FOX Soccer’s commentator].”

    When I asked why she doesn’t like him this is what she said: “All he does is say 2 or 3 word phrases followed by minutes of silence until the color guy jumps in to bail him out. The 2 or 3 words he does say are stupid and sound like he’s having a seizure.”

  18. Clay Olson says:

    Good lord. Fox can put whomever they want on the air. For god’s sake, they paid out the nose for TV rights which were a gamble at the time. Fox has helped make the premier league viewable in this country on a minute by minute basis and should get some credit. As far as the “experiment”, I would argue that the entire FSC profile was an experiment which has helped the game.

    Ian Wright’s comments, like them or not, are relevant to the game. Part of the day to day circus that is CFC involves the turbulent interface amongst owner, fans, players and management.

  19. Colin says:

    I have been an avid watcher of Fox Soccer the past 5 years and have really enjoyed and appreciated the commentary provided up to this point.

    With the hiring of Gus Johnson I have reverted back to my old means of watching soccer matches via internet stream. I echo similar sentiments highlighted on previous threads critical of Johnson that his inability to read the game coupled with his “shoutbursts” of incoherence make for an annoying experience rather than a thrilling and impassioned one that it should be. Soccer is not basketball and should not be broadcasted like it.

    If FoxSoccer thinks this experiment with Gus will bring in new football fans they are sadly mistaken. It is only deterring new fans from the game while causing existing ones to press mute on the TV during games he announces.

  20. Mick says:

    Fox paid for it and are doing exactly what they want ! It’s clearly not working hence the enormous amount of criticism they are getting over the quality of the commentary.

  21. Mick says:

    Guys it could be worse, Watch Bein Sports ! they have Ray a Geordie color commentator on, Man it’s really hard to watch and listen to

  22. Smokey Bacon says:

    You are so wrong on this one Gaffer. Not only was Wright a breathe of fresh air, he was the perfect foil for Gus. Wright calls it likes he sees it. He was right about the Chelsea fans. If Gary Neville had said that you would be praising him for his honesty. Wright was also as good as Nevile when it came to tactics or pointing out the options for a set piece. It was like he was telling Rooney what to do when Shrek scored from that free kick.

    Wright knows his stuff and has the stats to back it up. He speaks his mind and is both entertaining and informative. I hope he sticks around.

    • BuckNastee says:

      Absolutely agree! I learned more about the game from Ignorant Gus and Over-Opinionated Ian Wright than 100 broadcasts of Tyler/Neville or even Darke/McManaman.

  23. Peter says:

    Gus Johnson’s commentary is just terrible, and flat out annoying! Throughout the Manchester United and Chelsea game today, he was just screaming, giving us some facts that he has found on the internet, or asking Ian Wright some questions.

    PLEASE FOX, can we at least have a secondary option (like being able to switch between UK/English commentaries or stadium sound)?

  24. dust says:

    WoW.. the amount of people that actually thought Ian Wrights commentary was good is scary.

    LOL

    UnbelievableNBC if you are reading DO NOT PULL a FOX SOCCER, DO NOT USE IAN WRIGHT…

    if you do please make a secondary feed available so my ears don’t.

    What an embarrassing call by Wright, Being a great player and even a reasonably palatable analyst doesn’t excuse the rubbish and constant talking over each other, how is that the standard to air?

    Clueless!!

    Hey Fox didn’t you perhaps wonder for even a moment why this was his first time on air?

  25. Mark says:

    Gus Johnson asking Ian Wright if Michael Carrick was the “new Roy Keane” made me cringe. It makes me think in his attempt to become more knowledgable about the teams he is covering he using a football version of “The Onion” website as reference.

  26. Garry Craske says:

    10 games to go then order will be restored……

  27. Bob H. says:

    I have always liked Gus Johnson’s work. Although not perfect I think he is doing a good job. Pairing Johnson with Ian Wright was a good move by Fox. They worked well together. I hope they continue together. Wright’s call on the Rooney goal was brilliant. When I watch a match I generally don’t care who is announcing unless it is someone that Gol TV has used to call a game off a television screen. I know I am in the minority but I look forward to hearing from the Johnson/Wright pairing in future matches. They did nothing today that in any way harmed my watching of an entertaining game.

    • Todd Shenk says:

      I am genuinely curious about what you like about Gus Johnson?

      For my part: I don’t mind an “american” voice in soccer. What I don’t like is that he doesn’t understand the sport yet and feel that FOX should not have thrown him at us at the end of a season and only for massive matches that they know people will watch regardless.

      I don’t like his yelling players names anytime they might shoot or cross the ball and i don’t like his catch phrases that sound dumb.

      That said, I am very interested in what you like about him.

      • John says:

        I like the “Law of Gus.” Which American sports fans know means that whenever Gus is calling the game, there is a high probability that the game (itself) will be dramatic and at the very least the most entertaining game that day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s NFL football, NCAA basketball, NCAA football, or even whether you like the commentary, the “Law of Gus” applies.

        • John says:

          Sorry, forgot to include the official “Law of Gus” according to Bill Simmons of ESPN.

          Here it is

          lawofgus.com

          I keep mentioning the Law of Gus without ever really defining it, so let’s do it right now. If Gus Johnson is calling an NFL game, the odds quintuple that (A) the lead will change hands in the fourth quarter; (B) someone will complete a long pass in a big moment that will make Gus’ voice hit an octave only dogs can hear; and (C) the game will go into overtime or at least come damned close. It seems impossible that the mere presence of an announcer would alter the course of the game, but here’s my theory: I think God sits in his Man Cave on Sundays and says, “Which game is that Gus Johnson calling? I get a kick out of that guy. I think I’ll make his game exciting and see if he completely loses his mind.”
          – Bill Simmons

      • Cantona says:

        The law of Gus

        Screaming : excitement

        This is most American sports fans mantra

        Give me some substance, not faux screaming… Most of the time he doesn’t know what he is screaming about

        Cantona—

    • Peter says:

      Seriously, do you really enjoy hearing Gus Johnson screaming “FIRE” every time a player takes a shot…???

  28. BrassMonkey says:

    Before Abramovich’s billions, Chelsea were a mediocre club with modest support. Now they are the NY Yankees of the PL, and their fans are a reflection of that. With a few exceptions, they are front-running, obnoxious idiots who heckle their own manager / players. Was Wright wrong to point out the hypocricy and pettiness of their fan base?

    Like Wright, fans of real, viable clubs like United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool have little respect for clubs like Chelski and City who come in and buy success…

    • Todd Shenk says:

      I would not compare Chelsea to the Yankees. Unlike Chelsea, the Yankees have a history of winning and do happen to be a classy sports club. Suddenly having money does not suddenly make any team the “Yankees” of any league.

    • Sacto Blues says:

      And did Cantona come in on a free or how about Jaap Stam, Van Nistelroy or perhaps Rooney hmm kinda of wonder what Everton would be like if United didn’t rape them or how about Bergkamp ? or the deal that was going to ruin football 11 million to Monaco for Henry ? perhaps a ways back to the 60′s when Spurs tapped up Greaves ? I’m sure Villa or Ardilles were Tottenham born weren’t they or maybe from another country . ..gasp .. bought to play for Spurs ? Did Suarez come over free from Ajax ? was Carroll or Torres for that matter gifts from Newcastle and Athletico for nothing or did Liverpool pay for them ? Respect Chelsea or don’t respect Chelsea nobody cares but when you post something that stupid expect to be corrected.

    • susan says:

      You Sir need to read your football history books more, you obviously don’t know what you are talking about. “viable” clubs….

  29. Heemsz says:

    There was nothing at all embarrassing about dude speaking the truth. They do it in England all the time.

    Gus and Ian were excellent today. Get over yourself.

  30. Marc L says:

    To an extent I am getting tired of the whole debate. The suits at Faux have decided in perfect Faux logic that a horrendous commentator somehow will “increase ratings.” Can’t do much about that. You know, this wasa the bunch predicting a 365 electoral vote landslide for Mitt Romney right up to five seconds prior to the point when Obama was getting inaugurated or some such. What do you expect from them?

    I for one will just be happy if alternatives are offered via FS2Go (as they have been doing with the UCL).

    I found it fascinating during the Filth-Real UCL match to hear Martin Tyler at halftime discussing his opinion of the first half with someone else who was largely inaudible. (And in retrospect rather amusing to hear him compliment the 1st half work of the referee given what later happened.) It certainly beat the hell out of whatever it was that dimwit Rob Stone and Mr. Personality Eric Wynalda must have been yammering about at the time in the studio.

    I think the days of announcers are kind of passing anyway. In the future there will be more options for watching events for those who want them. I’m not an NFL fan but my understanding is that they have started offering some options where you can watch games on a different feed than the TV (camera angle shows whole field, field mic with no announcers, that sort of thing.)

    Yeah, let us have this for REAL football. Web-based customization of how you watch a match. I think that would be damn well worth paying for long after memories of the Gus Johnson debacle have mercifully faded.

    Can’t opine too much about Ian Wright. I only subjected myself to 4 minutes of Gus shrieking like a teenager having his, uh, FIRST TIME at some squibbed mis-hit 6 hopper from Eden Hazard (Gus pronouncing both first and last names wrong, I might add.)

  31. William says:

    I was fan of Wright’s commentary today. Appreciated his honesty. I would rather hear a commentator speak his mind than not

  32. Dust says:

    Having Ian Wright co commentate was a clear attempt by Fox to divert negative comments away from Gus “destroyer of the beautiful game” Johnson.

    Still amazed that anyone actually thought Ian wright was good…

  33. Mickey DR says:

    I take it everyone knows that Wright’s step son, Sean Wright-Phillips, was a big signing and subsequent big failure at Chelsea. That is the main reason Wright continues to bad-mouth Chelsea.

    He is widely known as an idiot, and no one in the UK understands why he still gets media work.

  34. San Fransiscan says:

    FWIW, I though Ian Wright was fantastic.

  35. Muley555 says:

    I don’t have anything personal against Gus but can Fox please lock him in a room with a boatload of Martin Tyler games before he is allowed to commentate again.

    I accept that he is learning the game but my biggest gripe is that he overhypes every incident and doesn’t understand the pacing or flow of the game.

  36. Rob says:

    I thought both were just awful, too much talking from Wright and Johnson has no clue what he is doing. Very poor, Fox Soccer has really gone backwards; needless stats all through the game, stupid sound effects, and novice commentators, terrible. It’s getting close to unwatchable. Why should we have to choose alternative ways to watch and listen when we pay for the damn channel?

  37. Kathy says:

    Watch FOX Deportes with your cable set on SAP. Then you can watch the game with commentary the way it should be done – by English broadcasters who know the game.

  38. Harry Cee says:

    Maybe Ian was a bit ‘strong’ because clearly he had to carry Gus Johnson through the whole 90 minutes.

  39. The Gaffer says:

    Here’s what Sports Illustrated said about the Gus Johnson-Ian Wright commentary:

    “Fox Soccer would be wise to hold off pairing Ian Wright with Gus Johnson in the future, as Wright bludgeoned Sunday’s FA Cup quarterfinal broadcast between Manchester United and Chelsea with an endless stream of commentary.”

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

    • Scrumper says:

      What they missed is Wright had to carry Johnson

    • Cantona says:

      The problem was that Johnson AGAIN relies too much on his number two.. Lets stop pretending Johnson is getting better… This was bad, very bad…listen to the first five mins again. He misses everything.. He is behind the play.its like he is watching the match with a delay…this is because he has to think about what he says.. It doesn’t flow at all..and now he has his anchor call he “fires” which he is too reliant on.. Very predictable

      Gaffer you really are being too nice here..this was the worst game he has called..this was amateur hour at best.

      Cantona—-

    • Smokey Bacon says:

      Wtf does Sports Illustrated know about soccer? Stupid yank magazine should stick to what it knows….swimsuits. It’s not fit to lace Ian Wright’s boots when commenting on the beautiful game.

  40. Scrumper says:

    I want my commentators to speak their mind not sit on their thumbs trying to be “teflon” men and Wrighty is exactly the former. Sure his syntax is rough and ready but that’s part of his charm. We’ve all got our own opinions about football and we all love to argue them with anybody willing to listen. Listening to Ian Wright is like being at a ground and hearing the bloke next to you talk to his mate who doesn’t know very much about the game.

    Let’s face it, if not for Ian Wright talking over Johnson and correcting him several times (which I particularly enjoyed and on second thoughts probably helped Johnson’s understanding) we’d have had to suffer another chronic embarrassing load of drivel from our mate Gus. His enthusiastic grunting when trying to sound excited is pure theatre and passionless. In his more composed moments you could hear Ian Wright say “well played” Johnson would have better use of his time by asking Wright to explain. Wright’s instinct as a striker and his explanation of how Hazard used the Utd defender to mask his shot was excellent.

    So I like Wright in the booth and thought he worked well with someone who knows nothing about the game. Gary Birtles is similar and in my opinion someone we don’t hear from enough As the Gaffer says Stewart Robson would also be a very good choice as he speaks his mind as well.

    • Smokey Bacon says:

      Totally agree with nearly all of this. Wright beats Robson hands-down in my opinion. Robson is overrated in my book and not nearly as opinionated as Wright which makes him less interesting.

      • The Gaffer says:

        Robson is one of the most tactically astute co-commentators in the game today. Wright is akin to someone who you’d find in a pub, belting out conspiracy theories about Rio Ferdinand and Howard Webb.

        Professional versus unprofessional.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • Smokey Bacon says:

          Robson was a journeyman footballer while Wright was a legend for the same club. Your more likely to hear the likes of a bore like Robson your local droning on about tactics. Wright is far more interesting. As for conspiracy theories, Wright and Rio are mates so I suspect he is actually likely to be in the know. Wright is far more in touch with the game than Robson. And I personally would prefer to have a beer in my local with Wright. Imagine the stories given his stellar playing career and media connections. I’ll take that over supposed tactical astuteness anytime.

          • The Gaffer says:

            They are polar opposites. You like Wright. I like Robson. We both enjoy their commentary for completely different reasons. And that’s fine.

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

  41. Pete says:

    At first glance, I don’t have any issue with Wright’s comments. I think the way the Chelsea supporters have been carrying on has been ridiculous. If they want to blast Benitez before and after the match, that’s fine. But they carry on all game. They should try and get behind the players a little more. Rafa will be gone at the end of the year.

    I am a United supporter, but I think Rafa’s decisions were spot on and he actually out-managed SAF in the second half. It also helped that United played extremely sloppy and nonchalant. But Chelsea saw that and took advantage of it. They pressed United all over the pitch and played with a greater desire. They honestly deserved to win and would have if De Gea didn’t make another freakish save late.

    For the record, I didn’t listen to the game on Fox Soccer. I muted the sound and listened to the ITV feed (Tyldesley and Townsend). That’s the way I’ll be handling all matches where Gus Johnson is commentating.

    I know that sounds ridiculous, but I can’t enjoy the match and listen to Johnson’s catch-phrases and screaming.

    • Cantona says:

      Agreed.. ITV was MILES better..there is absolutely no comparison. I watched the replay to see if I could stomach the commentary. Nope.. This was the worst yet… I’m starting to wonder if Johnson even prepares for matches? Does he just take the stat sheet two mins before the game? Forget the “experiment” …. Fox should be embarrassed now.

      Cantona—

  42. Huw Roma says:

    I didn’t have any issue with Wright’s commentary. Yes it was more opinionated than most but to me it was justified. Like someone else said he was carrying Gus. I held off from criticizing Gus over the last month but his effort yesterday really was abysmal. He screams at anything and everything and has yet to translate his basketball terminology into correct soccer terms. It really is incomprehensible as to why Fox is forcing this on the viewers. Last week when I watched the Concacaf U20 tournement I was more than satisfied with Christopher Sullivan, J.P and the other guy. Why aren’t they good enough? The only saving grace is that Fox are losing the EPL very soon. Their coverage has become almost unwatchable. How many times do they have those annoying pop ups on the bottom of the screen? Every other miniute? They’ve lost their focus.

  43. Bergkamp_10 says:

    Gus Johnson’s commentary would be fine if only he knew what was going on in the field. It’s so pity, because he has a great voice and his pitch for describing goal mouth action is perfect. But he just has absolutely no clue what in the world is happening down there with 22 men and thus when a foul is given before a player shoots a ball, his inability to clearly see before a viewer that a foul has been given therefore a shot wouldn’t have counted, is mind blowing. Instead, ignoring the linemen ‘s flag and referee’s whistle, he gets excited, even though the ball is 20 rows back, have zero chance of troubling the keeper.

    A seasoned commentator would instantly know the trajectory of the ball and whether a not it is heading towards the net, and would therefore trouble the keeper or bulge the net. Sometimes players are way to optimistic and shoot the ball. That particular instance in which someone like Tyler would call or Gus would call is so blatantly obvious. Gus doesn’t know that the ball is heading 20 rows back. Maybe he thinks it will drop out of the sky, and was just a hopeless attempt. He gets excited for absolutely no reason, just for someone having an optimistic shot. Someone like Martin Tyler or Garry Taphouse for example, would instantly know there is no reason to be excited. The ball is just skied over hopelessly.

    I want Gus to succeed. Because, I do believe he has a great voice. But unfortunately, he just doesn’t see the game like I do in terms of what it feels watching this game. Gus needs to understand that the viewership for watching the beautiful game is different. He needs to go to every stadium in England, see the atmosphere, talk to fans, see what is feels like being someone’s supporter. Go to dinner and talk soccer with Ian Wright, Lee Dixon, get lunch session with Ferguson, watch Liverpool games of 70s, understand the history, read. Because once he knows what’s going on, that’s when Gus will be a tremendous commentator, educating US viewers (not dumb them down) as well as calling actions beautifully.

    This is just a suggestion for Gus, because I just don’t think he has done the homework, or done the “right” homework to be honest here.

    • Scrumper says:

      Doing homework won’t cut it. You can’t understand the nuances and commentate on a game unless you’ve actually played it. Similar if Martin Tyler tried to commentate NFL.

      • John says:

        Totally disagree. You do not have to have played the game to be the “play by play” announcer.
        Now for the “color” commentator, that is a different story. He’s the one who adds to the perspective of having played the game.

  44. Scrumper says:

    One picture is worth a thousand words.

    Look at the photo above – who has the microphone and who looks like a cardboard cut out??

  45. Cantona says:

    Johnson referred to the Madrid match way too much.. Like as if we missed that game and didn’t know what happened!?!?!?

    I just want to take that flat cap and ram it up his ar@$@$@

    Even the Fox execs must know by now that Johnson is BAD!

    Cantona—

  46. Pete says:

    What’s great about these comments is that this article was written about Ian Wright and his commentary. But people still can’t ignore the elephant in the room (Gus Johnson).

  47. Carter says:

    I have to say that I am probably the type of person that FSC is trying to “appeal” to, and even I was cringing at Johnson. I’m your typical American fan, and only have started watching the last couple of years. I kind of enjoy hearing the different European announcing. I’m American and even I don’t want to hear another American announce the game…especially one with seeminly limited knowledge. I do find it comical at times how dry and uptight the European broadcasters can be, but I guess thats also part of the experience. I just really hate when they always have to dumb it down for the “idiots” in the U.S. I remember watching the Champions League final a few years ago and they took the time to actually compare how soccer and American football are alike. *Cringe* You’ve got to give your audience some kind of credit. If they aren’t as knowledgeable as the fans overseas, dumbing it down is not going to help that. That being said, I really didn’t mind Wright’s comments at all. It sounds like people might be a little sensitive because he hit on something that is true. I appreciate a commentator who gives his opinion and doesn’t hold back. After all, isn’t that what he’s on TV for? You might not agree with him, but it would be pretty boring if he had no opinions at all. And kind of ironic that he’s getting blasted in this article. In the end, wasn’t he right? Chelsea supporters did everything they could to undermine their manager and his decisions. They yelled hate-filled things at him. Then in the end they were proven wrong. Sounds like they deserved to be called out by someone. If not him, then who?

  48. Wongo1 says:

    Dead Horse beaten again, where did it happen? IN THE SIX!!! LMFAO

  49. Daa says:

    I’m not entirely sure if Gus was good – Wright was so bad that he made Gus sound good.

    Horrible!! Atrocious!! Terrible!!

  50. TONY says:

    GET IAN WRIGHT OUT OF FOOTBALL,HE HATES CHELSEA,HE HATES JOHN TERRY,AND I HAVE A VIDEO OF HIM ASSAULTING A BLACK TAXI DRIVER,AND RACIALLY ABUSING HIM.

  51. brn442 says:

    Gaffer, I’m not sure you need to keep digging from the same well, regarding Gus -However – the number of responses justify it I suppose.

    I would respectfully disagree with you on the behaviour of the some of the Chelsea “fans” – it was reprehensible. Some of what I heard yesterday, I can’t say in front of kids.

    I have no problem with fans booing their manager but to do it at a quarter-final cup tie, away @ Old Trafford, in the first half, down by 2 goals? Some way to support your team.

    • The Gaffer says:

      I don’t disagree that the behavior of Chelsea fans was awful, but I don’t think it’s Ian Wright’s place to say that in his role as co-commentator. He’s supposed to be commentating on the match. As a former Arsenal footballer and fan, it sounded like he had something against Chelsea, and completely lost his impartiality.

      I expect that from Piers Morgan, but I don’t expect it from a person in the role as co-commentator.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Larry says:

        But you didn’t think the same of John Champion when he called Suarez a cheat. Why? You praised Champion for speaking his mind.

        • The Gaffer says:

          To me, there’s a big difference. What Champion said was fact and was plainly visible on the TV replay. What Wright says was an opinion.

          Another big difference is that Champion was commentating on what happened on the field of play. Wright was giving his biased opinion about something off it.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

          • kyle says:

            What? Who decided that Suarez was a cheat and that it’s a fact? Did the FA or any other body determine that what Suarez did was cheating? Even a number of players, former and present, said it wasn’t cheating.

            You undermine your own credibility by being inconsistent.

          • The Gaffer says:

            So you believe that Suarez didn’t handle the ball on purpose??

            Cheers,
            The Gaffer

          • brn442 says:

            Actually Gaffer – Suarez did not.

            The ball bounced up on his hand.

            Champion’s own employers felt his “opinions” were out of bounds.

      • brn442 says:

        Fair enough Gaffer, inconsistent as you may seem, if Larry’s point is valid.

        I understand that it’s not the usual role of a color “commentator” to critique anybody past the pitch but I was pleased that Mr. Wright did.

  52. Nigel Mitchell says:

    Fair play to Ian wright. He is right to have a pop at the Chelsea fans . They are a compleat joke and a disgrace with no bottle it’s easy to have a go at rafa but the man they should be venting there anger at is the that appointed him and we all know why they won’t do that , i hope Chelsea win the fa cup and then see rafa stick two fingers up at them that would make my day ,

  53. TK says:

    I thought Ian Wright was hilarious. Keep him in!

    Gus however ehhh he can go.

  54. Martin says:

    Wright and Gus were aweful. Gus doesn’t know how to find a goal post with the floodlights on. And Wright sounded like a low life. And every sentence of Wright’s began with “Gus….” as he was his persona tutor. It was so bad, I turned off the commentary for much of the match. Boy, silence is a blessing with Fox screwing up the world game.

  55. 100% S-D-Flash says:

    2 wrongs = Wright….

    Ian Wright is no commentator nor pundit – the writing was on the walls for Gus’ latest effort. It was a no win situation as Gus’ experience and knowledge isn’t there yet and Wrighty is a bit of a joke tbh.

    I understand what Fox are trying to do but to put Gus in at the deep end isn’t fair… Its like putting a Youth Team Player in a senior squad for the biggest games.

    2Go has 2 commentary options – same for broadcast would be good!!

  56. john marzan says:

    this american MLS commentator is awful

    listen beginning @2:30 mark

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDt3eqB_Z5Q

    • john marzan says:

      lol, watch the video. why do american commentators have to ape spanish commentators in shouting GOAAAALLL when there’s a score?

      gringos just dont sound good doing it. i hope gus johnson isnt doing this in his FA cup commentary.

  57. danny says:

    will Gus be calling any UCL matches this week? Arsenal-Bayern?

    please say “NO”…

  58. Carter says:

    I have to completely disagree with Gaffer here. At what point is a color commentator not supposed to give his opinion? This is the most ridicluous thing I have ever heard, and you kind of lose credibility when you even TRY to make this argument. Wright is in the stadium and hearing and seeing what the audience mostly cannot. But he’s supposed to just stand there and ignore all of it? If they really are saying and doing horrible things, (which I have heard no argument to the contrary) you’re suggesting he not call them out? Now maybe he shouldn’t lump everyone in under one umbrella, but I think anyone with half a brain knows that not every single Chelsea fan thinks the same way. But the truth is, they were acting classless, and in the end Rafa showed that he knew what he was doing. The fans offered no support for their team, and they still came back despite this. They should feel embarrassed.

  59. James says:

    Ian Wright’s commentary was insightful and honest. He says it like it is without sugar coating everything. He is one of my favorite commentators because of these qualities. And he was spot on with the remarks about the Chelsea fans, if they were running the team they would have gone home with a loss. Does that mean he was impartial? No, it means he speaks truthfully without fear of reprisal from not being politically correct.

  60. Bryan says:

    Well, the Gus Johnson Comedy Cavalcade rolls on. His pairing with the excitable and often ungrammatical Ian Wright was a hoot. Two favorite moments of mine: Johnson screaming “LAMPARD”, only to see the player bloop one right to DeGea; and his comment over a shot of Fergie, “Sir Alex Ferguson, buzzing in his seat.” Is Gus implying that Sir Alex was one toke over the line ? Classic.

  61. ian says:

    watching soccer/football in the US on fox soccer channel is horrendous, the announcers are all horrible, except for ian wright, this guy adds so much flavor, and information to the game, i am used to watching baseball where half the point of watching is to hear stories, and such, I had no idea how hated the chelsea manager was until ian wright told me, ian is a breadth of fresh air, keep him on the air and fire everyone else!
    One time he said “its a shame rio ferdinand isnt on the english national team and no one knows why, actually we do know why but i cannot say it on air” I wish he told me because i had to google it

  62. cholliman says:

    I was so irritated that I watched the game on mute for most of the 2nd half, and am now doing the same with the Chelsea-Fulham match less than 20 minutes in.

  63. Jacques Terblanche says:

    Not just that game, every game. I can’t stand listening to a bitter ex-footballer who clearly thinks he could still do it. Go coach a college team. I’d much rather listen to online comentary than him

  64. Kawagoe says:

    Funny how the likes of Wright, Sturridge and (let!s not forget) Tommy Smyth can ruin the visual experience of a game.
    How is that for a ‘dream team!!

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