Gus “Rise and fire” Johnson has made his name announcing American sports like college basketball, hockey and NFL, but now the king of the catchphrase has entered a new phase in his career announcing soccer games.
Johnson has five games under his belt as FOX Soccer’s new lead announcer in just under a month commentating soccer. There have been some highs but there have been many lows. Here are 10 of the worst mistakes he’s made in his short soccer career:
10. The Premiere League. It’s one of the most basic errors, but Gus Johnson continues to mispronounce the name of the world’s most popular sports league. It’s not the “Premiere League,” as Johnson pronounces it. It’s the Premier League.
9. The phantom goalscorer. While recapping who scored for Manchester United against QPR during the recent commentary of Manchester City-Chelsea, Gus Johnson claimed that Chicharito and Ryan Giggs put the ball in the back of the net for the Red Devils when it was in fact Ryan Giggs and Rafael da Silva.
8. Man U. Many Manchester United supporters wince when Gus Johnson continues to refer to United as “Man U.” It’s the first tell-tale sign that someone doesn’t know the club that well. And it’s an insult to many United supporters who know the history of rival clubs using it to mock the Munich Air Disaster.
7. Mistaking a free kick for a corner kick. Maybe it was first game jitters, but Gus Johnson told viewers in the Real Madrid-Manchester United game that Los Blancos had been awarded a corner kick, when it was actually a free kick on the edge of the penalty area (view the screengrab).
6. British Premier League! After a recent commentary, Gus Johnson flubbed on air by referring to the official name of the Barclays Premier League as the British Premier League. Whoops!
5. Mispronunciations galore. By now, Gus Johnson’s pronunciation of Juan Mata as “MADA” and Oscar as “AZ-CAR” are permanently implanted in your brain after listening to Gus Johnson shout his way through games. But embarrassing mispronunciations of player names have undermined his credibility. A couple of pearls include “Sergio Romos” and “Sag-na.” Plus, mispronunciations aside, Johnson misidentified a player in the Real Madrid-Man Utd game, incorrectly pointing out the wrong Real Madrid player who cleared the ball off the goal-line from a Robin van Persie attempt on goal.
4. Pay attention to the game. In the match between Manchester City and Chelsea, Gus Johnson waxed poetically about Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech’s sensational save from a Matija Nastasić header. Later in the game, Johnson referred back to the save and commented how Cech was keeping Chelsea in the game. But both Johnson and co-commentator Lee Dixon missed the fact that even if Nastasić’s header had gone in, it wouldn’t have counted anyway since one of Manchester City’s footballers was in an offside position.
3. Eden Hazard is a Frenchman. During Gus Johnson’s first call of a Premier League game, the American put his foot in his mouth when he described Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard as a Frenchman. Problem is he’s Belgian.
2. Ryan Giggs is an Englishman. It was a slip of the tongue, but Gus Johnson called Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs “one of the greatest footballers in English history.” He’s not English. He’s Welsh.
1. Is Michael Carrick the new Roy Keane? This one wasn’t a mistake per se, but it shows the complete ineptitude of Gus Johnson as a respectable soccer commentator because he had no clue that Michael Carrick is a completely different type of player than Roy Keane. Out of everything he has said thus far, this one question to Ian Wright was the most embarrassing incident.
School is in session at FOX Soccer with Johnson learning his trade on the biggest soccer matches of the year. Let’s hope he’s a fast learner and improves moving forward.