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The Dumbing Down Of Soccer Announcing By Gus Johnson and FOX Sports

gus johnson eric wynalda The Dumbing Down Of Soccer Announcing By Gus Johnson and FOX Sports

Last season, it was the Gus Johnson Experiment, with FOX Soccer throwing basketball announcer Gus Johnson into the deep end to announce several high-profile European soccer games for US television. The “car crash” was filled with numerous mistakes, with Johnson learning on the job as he fumbled his way through until the summer, where he raised his game for the commentary of Gold Cup games.

After an 8-month sabbatical away from soccer commentating, Johnson was dropped in to Old Trafford on Tuesday to commentate the UEFA Champions League quarter-final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich. Standing alongside Johnson in the gantry was FOX Sports analyst Eric Wynalda.

So how did Johnson do in his 2014 soccer debut?

Overall, he was tolerable, which by Gus Johnson’s standards is an improvement. There were fewer glaring mistakes than last year, but at the same time, he’s still a poor option compared to more experienced and listenable American announcers such as Phil Schoen and John Strong. Schoen and Strong may not have the “Gus Johnson Effect,” but both Schoen and Strong are better for it. Soccer commentary, after all, is an art form, not a bucket of catchphrases and shouting.

Still, there were mistakes. Johnson pronouncing David Moyes name as “Moyce,” referring to Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez as “Martinez,” describing a throw-in as a “sideline throw,” and so on.

But the main complaint I have with Gus Johnson is that he doesn’t use a soccer vernacular. His turn of phrase is incredibly awkward especially when he has to think on his feet when something spontaneous happens in a game. When he talks about “Man U with the nil-one lead,” as he did in the game today, he’s talking another language to soccer fans. He’s trying too hard to win credit with anglophiles by using a British expression for no goals (i.e. nil), which I don’t think he should even do, but then he gets stuck by saying that United are the away team.

Even when Bayern Munich scored their equalizer, Johnson’s awkward turn of phrase with “Schweinsteiger as he goes up high” doesn’t sound like anything a soccer announcer would say. He still seems to be stuck in basketball terminology, throwing in the occasional “dumps it inside” phrase, too.

Overall, Johnson handicaps games by dumbing down the commentary for mainstream America to better understand. He relies on the co-commentator, in this case Wynalda, to bail Johnson (and presumably the thinking goes, the mainstream American sports fan) out by taking the lead at times and explaining what’s happening — such as telling Johnson that the Welbeck goal was disallowed even though Johnson didn’t hear the referee’s whistle before the shot was taken, or explaining what Bayern Munich are trying to do while keeping possession and passing the ball around, waiting for United to make a mistake, etc.

Johnson’s MO to dumb down the overall broadcast may fit into FOX Sports’ philosophy, but as both ESPN and NBC Sports have shown, finding the perfect balance between speaking intelligently to its soccer viewers without talking down to the hardcore base is not only attainable, but also results in record TV ratings. By dumbing down its coverage of soccer to the US audience, FOX Sports not only infuriates sports fans but it also hurts the bottom line as viewers turn to alternative means of watching games, which ultimately hurts TV ratings and delivers weaker numbers to advertisers.

Gus Johnson will return to FOX Sports next week as the announcer for one of the second legs of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final games on April 8 or 9.

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 →

107 Responses to The Dumbing Down Of Soccer Announcing By Gus Johnson and FOX Sports

  1. Gerry says:

    Agree that Gus Johnson is poor but have to disagree that Phil Schoen is the answer. Schoen is also poor even if not as poor as Gus. Haven’t heard Strong so I cannot comment on his fitness to commentate.

    • Velija says:

      You cant say someone is bad without reasoning, what is the reason you think Phil is poor? For me personal he is terrific and undoubtedly the best American commentator. He actually knows how to pronounce players names, and he actually knows the players rather than needing a fact sheet in front of himself at all times to find out Bastian Schweinsteinger has been at Bayern since he was a kid for example. He also understands the history of the game and the way it ebbs and flows, as well as the ways in which the game has changed in the past few years, going from defensive to possession based to direct etc.

      • Martin J. says:

        Schoen talks loudly and too much. He has very little knowledge of tactics and what teams are trying to do so he just says the same things week in and week out. He does both La Liga and Serie A games and if you weren’t watching the TV you’d think he was commentating on the same league.

    • michael says:

      Phil Schoen is by far the best American option. Wynalda was horrible.

      • mike reynolds says:

        why does there have to be an American “option?” why not just get the best announcer? in this case that would be the international feed.

        • restipulate says:

          We American soccer fans have a serious inferiority complex when it comes to supporter/soccer culture in the US compared to the rest of the world. Having an American option is another step for us to feel more secure on the global stage. It is silly, but an understandable sentiment in our current culture.

    • mike reynolds says:

      I think I can sum it all up with this question: Could Martin Tyler broadcast the NCAA final four basketball? Of course not. It’s not in his blood or his dna. He was not reared on the game of basketball. More importantly, unlike Gus with soccer, he would refuse such an assignment because he has regard for his dignity.
      This has the feeling of one great big, giant lab experiment which is going horribly wrong.

  2. Brad says:

    Phil Schoen is intolerable.

  3. Bradley Edwards says:

    Gus isn’t any good for basketball either. I always turned the volume off until the final few mins where his screaming might make sense. He did boxing on Showtime. He was bad. He would say a right handed fighter threw a right hook (which isn’t a punch a right handed fighter throws). His knowledge level was not improving over time. The worst was when he would scream or yell that a fighter “was hurt”. Most of the time the fighter wasn’t “hurt”. The analyst, Al Bernstein, had to correct him many times. He lacks knowledge of the sports he calls, tries to get by on screaming and yelling, and his knowledge improves a little, but he never becomes knowledgeable. He needs to go.

  4. Faithless says:

    Fox has lost ALL credibility.. With everyone, not just hardcore fans but with EVERYONE

    I think you are giving him too much credit by saying he was tolerable, he wasn’t.

    • Patrick says:

      E-mail them to compalin, I’m terrified that he’s listed as fox’s “#1 announcer for the world cup”. I’m going to have to find foreign streams…

  5. Rob says:

    As Bayern were knocking the ball around looking for an open man, and controlling the game, Johnson asked Wynalda, “What are they doing Eric?” Wonderful knowledge of the game at its highest level.
    He shouldn’t even commentate at a non league level, it’s an insult to the millions of American fans who have great knowledge, and respect of the game.

  6. R.O says:

    “Still, there were mistakes. Johnson pronouncing David Moyes name as “Moyce,” referring to Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez as “Martinez,”

    Well to be fair (and I’m not a fan of Gus Johnson) the English commentators (including Arlo White) can’t pronounce Felix Magath last name correctly (not even close)and some of the English announcers pronounce Everton Manager last names as “Mar-te’nez” (incorrectly) while other do pronounce it correctly (Martinez), but very few.

    Having said that, since I haven’t had a chance to watch today game, did Gus yell and get hype excited when a player had the ball within 40-50 yards of the goal?

    As I posted on another post, Gus does have football (soccer) play-play experience – he was the Earthquakes TV announcer for a few years. Gus should know how to do it by now. Guess not.

    Also, Phil Schoen is ok (so-so) far better than Gus. Phil get’s too talky too. A syndrome most US announcers have.

    The best CL commentator for me has been Derek Rae when ESPN had the CL.

    • mahluf says:

      There is no much bad information in this comment, it’s not even worth pointing it out.

    • CH says:

      Dude thank you very much! this is what ive been trying to say all along. Firstly Gus is a fan of the game hes not an clueless guy like the rest of the members seem to think. Secondly most british announcers that these guys seem to love mispronounce names too. Stop attacking the guy personally,just because he isnt a good soccer announcer doesnt mean he lacks integrity.

      And most importantly you can take your overrated ian darke and “would you believe it everytime somebody scores” john strong, Derek Rae is the best announcer to ever commentate on US tv. Yes i am taking him over martin tyler, although Tyler is a damn good commentator.

    • jobi says:

      I think there needs to be a “Bring Back Derek Rae” online petition. He was doing a random Europa League game I watched awhile ago but other than that – where has he been??

      • Christopher Harris says:

        He’s been commentating games for the Scottish Premier League, but he’ll back on US TV this summer commentating World Cup games for ESPN.

  7. ktbffh says:

    fox has the rights to UCL thru 2017-18 and i’m afraid by then i will be so turned off by their coverage that i’ll stop watching completely.
    it isn’t even tolerable NOW. i would much rather illegally stream games at low quality than watch fox’s coverage cuz its so piss poor.

    • Velija says:

      Ive already hit that level, their coverage of the Champions League this year has hit a new low, starting with the presentation (The ticker, 15 logos saying Fox Sports 1 during a broadcast). Then the commentating, finally the fact that they use scoreboards and such saying full team names and showing the colors of the teams (useful but as a designer, horribly done). Im at the point where if there is a champions league game on I watch it on FS+, luckily it comes with my subscription, or I stream it. BTW Were at the point where you dont have to watch shit quality stream, every game is available in HD and more often than not in english, go to http://www.reddit.com/r/soccer

    • Joe says:

      Thats how I watched the better of the two games today. I dont understand how Fox can only play one game per matchday. They did that in the group stages too. Its incredible. Im curious to see how many people are actually watching FS2. I cant imagine that the number is very good. They put the lesser game on FS1 and then put the game that everyone wants to see on FS2 hoping that they will pay a crazy monthly fee just to watch their terrible production. Gus Johnson and Eric Wynalda. They should throw Taylor Twellman and Julie Foudy on their too…

      • R.O says:

        ..”how many people are actually watching FS2. I cant imagine that the number is very good.”

        Not many people are watching FS2 because most people don’t have FS2 because most providers don’t care FS2. You’re correct, why only one game per day. Fox on FS1 should show the 2nd game after game 1 and on FS2 show the game that was on FS1.

        I’m disappointed ESPN wasn’t able to win the bidding for CL.

  8. john marzan says:

    anybody has a video compilation of gus johnson doing the bayern, ManUnited game today?

  9. tim says:

    JP Dellacamera is still my favorite American commentator….Gus isn’t good for euro ball but I truly didn’t mind when he called USA games during the gold up.

  10. Nigel says:

    What I would like to know is if any of these “commentators” actually study some of their predecessors? Do they then study the laws of the game? Do they study the game itself? Seems to me that they would do a hell of a lot better if they did some real homework. Then, they may begin to understand the culture of the game as it applies to each country, team and player.

    • Cantona says:

      You would having done a Bayern game last year and the complaints he had he could have gotten EiYEN RaHHbenn’s Name right… The guy obviously hasn’t paid attention to football for over 9 months

      Cantona—

  11. Patrick says:

    I can’t take him anymore, I actually went out of my way to find Fox’s contact info to email and complain about this. If anyone else feels the same feel free

    http://msn.foxsports.com/contacts#TOU

    • mike reynolds says:

      This list is useless. You need the individual, personal emails of the fox executives. for example, i found out the email addresses of the nbc producers and emailed each of them complimenting them on their bpl coverage. each one replied with a thank you and a message.
      we should start with eric shanks and move on from there. according to fox sports, “the customer is always WRONG.”

  12. tobyjim says:

    How can you say he was tolerable? He was absolutely woeful. But Fox are paying him for his execrable output so he is laughing or more likely screaming wildly all the way to the bank. The real problem is with the moron who hired him and the station he works for. Not only have they ruined the visual pleasure of the game with that god-awful news bar that scrolls across the bottom of the screen – who exactly is the viewer that cannot wait for ninety minutes to find out what has happened in the wider world of sport. But the same clowns impose Gus on us. It is vindictive xenophobia from a bunch of gobshites with such a dislike for the beautiful game that they are determined to ruin it for those who do.

  13. Cantona says:

    Just ff thru the Fox broadcast… Johnson has not gotten any better at all. Still reading his factoids instead on saying what players have possession of the ball. Still butchering names that an 8 year FIFA 14 playing child would know.

    Still doesn’t know the rules, painfully evident. Doesn’t understand the ebb and flow a game.. His terminology is confusing … Plain and simple it doesn’t work.

    Gus is putting his reputation as a sports announcer on the line, it was very evident he has not prepared for this match, there were NO signs he is getting better.

    ALL fans are tired of him and are disgusted at the way this amateur has been forced down our throats by Fox.

    There is a huge revolt on twitter on Fox’s choice, the knives are out now and I’m sure we will see some articles shortly from Deadspin and Awful Amnouncing finally distancing themselves from Shank’s Gus Johnson Experiment.

    It’s time for him to GO!

    Cantona—

  14. Dave says:

    Your main complaint with Gus Johnson is that he doesn’t use a soccer vernacular, yet you find Phil Schoen who uses phrases that are alien to the sport like “inside the eighteen”, “offensive zone”, and “one-nothing” more listenable than Johnson who uses British terminology? I’m not saying Johnson is a good soccer commentator (he’s not), but your arguments are disingenuous.

  15. Todd says:

    The problem with Phil Schoen is that he is usually paired with Ray Hudson, who is, perhaps, the one announcer actually worse than Gus Johnson.

    Could you imagine if Gus was paired with Ray? Now, that would be something.

  16. Bernie says:

    Good old Gus just can’t catch a break. The ‘best’ mistake he made was announcing that Diego Costa scored for Athletico Madrid in their game against Barcelona. Problem was this player wasn’t even on the field at the time!
    Laughable.

  17. Lee says:

    Being from England and never having to have listened to commentary like this before, honestly ruins part of the game for me. The terminology used by this man is absolutely terrible and forced. I heard the term ‘Face up’ to describe a player looking to beat a defender way more times that I would have liked. I muted the commentary half way through the first half because it really irritated me. I will not watch another game (with sound) on Fox if this man is commentating. It was just plain awful.

    • Burnsey says:

      I have started to do that but it takes away the atmosphere of watching a match. I have not been able to sync Talsksports commentary, so it is really infuriating that Fox are ruining these telecasts with poor announcers.

  18. fsquid says:

    Fox isn’t going to hire a soccer commentator for the one competition they still hold the rights to. So the hiring of anyone from any other soccer network is off the table. Best you could hope for is some commentator from one of the Fox Regional networks.

  19. scrumper says:

    It was a return to the dark ages of Fox broadcasting. Johnson is a joke. With his poor diction, hysterical grunts when nothing was happening totally underlined his total lack of knowledge. He swapped the stupid “drives into the box” with the even more stupid “bottom half of the circle” and l was about to put my foot through the TV with the constant Moysssssss! He needs to start wearing his stupid hats again and really look like the village idiot.

    Wynalda was star struck, constantly wetting himself every time Bayern touched the ball. When they lost it he was beside himself and reassured himself by blabbing on about how they would get it back. He was a disaster. Spanish channel for me next time the circus act is commentating.

  20. Smokey Bacon says:

    Sounds like I didn’t miss much then. Things went as expected as far as the amateurish coverage.

    How many more years do fox have left for the champions league? Would love ESPN to take it back or NBC.

  21. Cantona says:

    I found it funny that Barca v Atleti game on Fox 2 had ESPN New hire for the World Cup, Daniel Mann on the call.. Fantastic commentator!

    Talk about a gulf in class!

    Cantona–

  22. goatslookshifty says:

    I’m exhausted talking about the atrocity that is Gus Johnson. Eric Wynalda was a condescending smart arse the few minutes I chose to listen. His smug demeanor is boring and you’d imagine he was only sent to commentators the game just as an excuse to see it live.

  23. Mission Man says:

    No need to say anything else about Johnson. He was beyond horrible. What surprised me was how bad Wynalda was. I enjoyed him on Fox Soccer Report and Fox Football Fone-In, and I found him tolerable on USMNT and MLS games. This was brutally bad, however. I thought I might destroy the new TV if he said “I like it!” one more time.

  24. Frank says:

    Gus is terrible. Horrible. A complete and utter train wreck.

    It’s simply amazing how far below the standard ESPN and NBCSN have set Fox is. Do they they we’re all idiots? That an American voice is what’s important to us?

    This fool announces MLS games and I’ll never watch MLS games. This fool continues to announce NT games and I’ll be watching streams online from elsewhere.

  25. He's Livid says:

    I also found Gus somewhat tolerable in his commentating today. He was far from good, but to say he has not shown some improvement is a bit disingenuous. I live in LA and have a buddy who works at Fox – Gus is not oblivious to the criticism being heaped on him primarily from the blogosphere, he cares and it does bother him contrary to what the editor of this site believes.

    • Cantona says:

      Sorry… Absolutely NO improvement.. Again, painfully obvious he did not even prepare for the game and has not watched a match in eight months… Even an easy win for him, his “Man U” comments which he was vilified for, continued.

      This is just not his sport, he doesn’t get it and it not willing to spend the time to get better

      Cantona—

      • Guy says:

        I can forgive him some mispronunciations as others have them, too. BUT, after all the Moyes talk this year how could he possibly not know how to pronounce that name?

        You have already given the painfully obvious answer. He deserves every single brick being thrown.

  26. Harry cee says:

    Oh man where to begin. “CHIN charito” when he wasnt calling him Martinez, but worse yet, instead of keeping up with what’s going on with the game, Gus was trying and failing to try and tell us other scores instead of calling the game. He still relies too heavily on others to twll him what’s going on because he himself doesn’t really know. One of the late game fouls, I distinctly remember hearing them both say “uh oh” and just dead silence for at least 5 secs because neither seemed like they knew what was going on. And did anyone stick around afterwards for that God awful Crowd Goes Wild show?

  27. Dean Stell says:

    It was bad…..remember last year when there was all this talk about how much Johnson was studying and watching games? Well, that was obviously a load of poop or he wouldn’t be so awkward. I mean, half of the games he has called have been United games and he still calls them “Man U” over and over. There isn’t even anyone in the booth elbowing him and saying, “The appropriate shorthand is Man United, dummy.”

    He’s terrible. I was willing to give him a chance because I’m a soccer newcomer myself. But it isn’t that hard to pick up the lexicon if you just watch some games and he obviously hasn’t done that.

  28. Milhouse says:

    I’d pay my cable company an extra five bucks a month to get a soccer channel with no announcers. Just the sounds from inside the ground, with perhaps only some amplification of the PA announcer. I’ve seen a soccer game before, so I’m able to follow along. What I can’t always hear clearly is the singing and the chants. The ambiance of the grounds are better than any announcer ever.

  29. JackM says:

    The moment I heard American voices I was ready to turn off the TV. Very few Americans come close to being able to provide commentary without getting in the way. It’s like a Brit doing baseball play by play. Johnson is awful with his Man Us and non-soccer speak. He is bottom of the US pile and what a pile of you know what it is. Leave baseball to American commentators. And for heavens sake give us British voices and understanding for Europe and the World Cup. Fox, are you listening? Enough “gus” work!

  30. Guy says:

    “Soccer commentary, after all, is an art form, not a bucket of catchphrases and shouting.”

    And there’s the rub. Gus has no palette and, from the evidence, seems uninterested in developing one. This, above all else, makes his imposition on us insulting.

    “Overall, Johnson handicaps games by dumbing down the commentary for mainstream America to better understand.”

    He is a failure even at that. His commentary makes no sense at any level, casual American fan or life long diehard. Besides being factually incorrect, it is disjointed and uninteresting. Gus simply lacks the chops for this game. However, I don’t see either him or Fox owning up to it……and the beat goes on……

  31. Cody (#2) says:

    Lets face it. Fox has signed him to a contract, so they are going to use him. The sport obviously isn’t a priority to them since they lost the EPL rights.

    Lets just deal with it, stop beating the dead horse about Gus, & start counting the days till they lose the FA cup rights, and eventually the UCL rights.

    • yespage says:

      It has gotten very bad here. People just won’t drop it. I listened to a game he did. He was far from great, but you’d swear by the talk in here that he was making up terms as if he were reading a Dr. Seuss book.

      I understand the issue is exacerbated by the fact that he is calling the creme de la creme of football matches, ie the Champions League, but geesh, enough!

      The horse has been whipped. Any more whipping is just to show off now or pad post counts.

      • mike reynolds says:

        good point. let’s just stop talking and accept mediocrity. sorry, but when my soup is cold i tell the waiter to send it back to the kitchen.

        • yespage says:

          Didn’t say to stop talking. I said that the talking has already been done. When you return the soup back, do you complain about how it was cold for the next year?

          The Gus Johnson comments and articles just becomes a redundant wash of discontent. How many times do people need to say they don’t like Fox’s broadcasting team (in particular Johnson)?

          • Burnsey says:

            If they keep bring cold soup, I would continue sending it back or stop ordering. Unfortunately this is the only soup in town

    • Cantona says:

      The guys got a contract with Fox Sports in which I seriously doubt mandate a minimal amount of footy matches… His contract was signed at Fox prior the Eric Shanks’ brain fart of an idea.

      Fox can change if they want.. It’s up to them. I saw a tweet from Rob Stone yesterday answering a fan about Gus doing the FA Cup.. He said it wasn’t yet decided.

      So the ball is in Fox’s court turn the tide NOW, get rid of this joke of a commentary team and start rebuilding your reputation or continue this slide into a tarnished brand that will hi their bottom line with advertisers for their World Cups

      Cantona—

  32. BrassMonkey11 says:

    Why can’t we use the International feed? I feel for Gus, as he has been thrown into a no-win situation… but surely the fans deserve better than Johnson and Wynalda.

    Personally, I find that the old USMNT players (Wynalda, Twellman, Lalas, etc.) don’t really know what they are talking about either. Their tactical “insights” are often overly-simplistic or flat out wrong.

    A guy who spent his entire career in MLS has ZERO credibility to talk about the decisions that are made by a top-tier manager. Often they don’t even realize what is happening on the pitch…

  33. Daniel says:

    As bad as Johnson was, Wynalda was worse.

    Soccer commentary is “an art form” … WELL SAID!

    —–
    Dear Fox,

    Please choose non-Americans to commentate on non-American soccer games. We would like to enjoy the broadcast, not cringe repeatedly.

    Sincerely,

    An American born in America living in America.

  34. Jyde says:

    Well for me, I don’t speak Spanish or Arabic but I will rather listen to a Spanish or Arabic commentary than these jokers….I felt I was watching a basketball game. And even when United scored, the screaming just wasn’t right…weird weird weird!!!

  35. Lucky Luciano says:

    There was an article recently about Americans choosing Spanish commentary over the English for various reasons, even if they don’t speak Spanish.

    I am one of them. If Gus Johnson or Ray Hudson are on the call – I’m switching language, simple as that.

    But television isn’t the only part of the soccer business in the U.S. where the desire to ‘buy American’ means better quality options are rejected.

    Just look at the ‘Jobs for the Boys’ coaching appointments in MLS and college soccer.

    • Morocco Mole says:

      There are bad announcers in all languages. Many of the Spanish-language announcers on U.S. TV are bad.

      That’s why I now watch matches with the mute button pushed.

  36. Iancransonsknees says:

    Next time Guys is commentating check if Talksport is broadcasting the match, mute the TV and sync the online commentary. Got to be worth a try if it’s truly so awful?

  37. Angry says:

    How about we accept that there is no American answer and just let the games be called by a British announcer…. Americans have no business calling massive games like this as they are nowhere near versed enough to do so… Give me my Martin Tyler back please!!!!

  38. Lucky Luciano says:

    Here is the worst nightmare – Gus Johnson with Ray Hudson doing an MLS game:

  39. Diego says:

    Gus Johnson might have been alright but why isn’t there an article describing how terrible Eric Wynalda is?

  40. t says:

    Hey Gus, where do you think Barcelona is? “Its also 1-1 in Madrid”

  41. Everard says:

    I’m usually indifferent about Gus Johnson as I am with most announcers, even some of the Brits covering the EPL. I don’t have the luxury to sit down to a game unless it’s a marquee game like a final. Having said that, I sat for about 15 minutes each half of the United-Bayern game and hated both commentators. Johnson calling them “Man U” is horrible. I’m shocked this guy has done Quakes PBP. There has to be more talent nationwide that this guy is chosen one. I love Glen Davis but I’m impartial since he does so much for local soccer here in Houston. His contribution goes way beyond the announcers box. Of any that do US games, Ian Darke is the only guy that I believe is passable.

  42. Dave says:

    Gus Johnson is out of his depth with the sport, no question about that, but some of the criticisms that are being leveled at him on this site by some people are unwarranted, disingenuous, and even mean-spirited. They are nothing more than childish petulance and thinly disguised contempt for the mainstream American culture and sports. Does Gus mispronounce some of the names? Yes, he does. But so do some of the best British commentators in the business such as Ian Darke who horribly butchered Uruguay captain Diego Lugano’s last name four years ago when he was calling the World Cup. Is Gus not entirely familiar with the Laws of the Game? No, he’s not. But so were Martin Tyler and Efan Ekoku when they thought Mexico’s disallowed goal against South Africa in the opening match of the 2010 World Cup should’ve stood because “there was a defender on the line” even though the goalkeeper was the second last opponent. But no, it’s only a big deal when an ugly, stupid American who is out to ruin the Beautiful Game does it. Some people are even complaining that Gus does not use the right vernacular even though he makes a clear attempt to try to conform to British terminology, referring to the goal area as “the six-yard box” instead of “the six”, the shorter length of the pitch as “the byline” instead of “the endline”, a 1-0 scoreline as “one-nil” instead of “one-nothing”, etc. which is somehow unfathomably criticized by the author who wrote this article as pandering to the Anglophiles. Utter hypocrisy.

    • Cantona says:

      Not entirely familiar with the laws of the game… Hahahahhahahahaahhahaha, yeah that’s the guy I want commentating.

      Crying …

      Cantona—

    • scrumper says:

      Martin Tyler doesn’t know the laws of the game? hahahahahaha! Are you Gus’ mom?

  43. David says:

    I switched on today to watch the Chelsea/PSG match and prayed that Gus/Wynalda weren’t on it. Hallelujah! But now I’ve read in your intro that they’re covering a game next week – is it the Stamford Bridge rematch – probably. Ouch!

    This is now beyond a joke. We have the game analysts standing on a miniature pretend soccer field – what is that about? – and two commentators who give amateurs a bad name. The Man U/Bayern clash should have been wonderful; instead the inanities being uttered (no, shouted) at me destroyed much of my enjoyment. Please Fox, get a smidgeon of professionalism.

    Via a Slingbox I can receive the Sky feed to listen to the audio, but am having difficulty syncing it to the Fox video which is often on a huge delay, sometimes as much as 15 seconds. By a process of trial and error I get them in sync, only to find it’s out again after 10 minutes or so. What gives? Any help would be much appreciated.

  44. jasonb says:

    As to the performance of these commentators on this, only the grandest and most elite stage of world football, one could say that they displayed, at best, a competency on par with Fellaini’s midfield play in the same match. #poodle

  45. RedondoRed says:

    Johnson is a Clueless Muppet!!!! Wynalda isn’t much better…
    Why can’t Fox find anyone who at least has played the game and understands what’s going on out there and knows what they are commentating about?

  46. Derek says:

    I don’t even know why we need an American commentator in the first place. Quite frankly most of them are awful. I’d rather listen to Ian Darke, Arlo White, Adrian Healey, Martin Tyler, Jon Champion, Derek Rae, and many other british announcers over the American ones. Phil Schoen is decent but there’s many more announcers I’d rather listen to.

    Bottom line is the Gus Johnson experiment isn’t working. Soccer is not basketball or football. I can’t tell you how many times he’s used basketball terminology to describe a soccer play like was said in that’s annoying, painful and destroying the sport I love. I shouldn’t have to hunt for a different feed to watch to be able to listen to announcers I can actually tolerate. If Fox wants to get Gus Johnson game experience they should have him do the CONCACAF Champions League matches or have him partner with an MLS team and do their matches. Don’t have him do the biggest matches in the European season. That’s just downright stupid and a failure on their part. As time draws closer to World Cup 2018 I find myself dreading it if he’s announcing matches.

    FOX needs to wake up, realize it isn’t working and pull the plug on Gus Johnson. Otherwise the 2018 World Cup will have the lowest ratings in history because the hardcore fans won’t want to watch him.

  47. Faithless says:

    I find it much easier to watch an international tournament in a different language as opposed to a club tourney, so it will be an easy adjustment to TURN OFF Fox and Gus Johnson come the World Cup… (Advertisers are you listening?)… So the World Cup doesn’t bother me as his doing Champions League and FA Cups do. And by then I’m sure streaming will have gotten much better.

    Anyone one know if this idiot will be at Wembley this weekend? Just trying to see if I need to have access to a computer

  48. dcudiplomat says:

    just reading this article realizing that the writer this article is clearly bias of Gus Johnson. clay to the writer has tried to spin this article by saying that Gus Johnson is trying to dumb down to the American audience. How is Gus Johnson coming down American audience when he’s basically clearly using standard broadcast your procedure known by many American sports announcers clearly the writer of the article has no appreciation for something that’s different at the same time very necessary for soccer to be successful in American landscape.

  49. dcudiplomat says:

    watching and listening to Gus Johnson in particular at last night’s broadcast of Champions League to be honest I wasn’t his actual best from what I expect from him especially when he’s usually upbeat at times it its necessary. to me last night’s game is on it too close to martin Tyler. Again as I said before American soccer I did just not need Martin Tyler clearly is not standard for what American sports audience are accustomed to. And again no gas Johnson was not trying to dumb down the broadcast clearly anyone was watching the game in one that was listening is probably not used to watching a lot American broadcast of the sports and maybe should try doing some more time just once in awhile. .

    • Faithless says:

      What are you talking about… It is dumb when you don’t know what your talking about and you don’t even know the rules, not to mention mispronouncing world stars names that most football fans say as second nature.

      So you are defending the American broadcast standard as DUMB

      Wow…

      • dcudiplomat says:

        you know what’s really dumb is when an announcer is hardly
        saying anything

        • Faithless says:

          So you enjoy the diarrhea of the myth announcers?

          This is why you like the factoid machine that is Gus Johnson.

          Hereees Moolahh, 6″3, 190 pounds, Virgo, like parasailing…

          Give me a Martin Tyler anytime
          Yeah .. That’s not

    • Stuart says:

      Your an idiot .find another sport your clueless

  50. dcudiplomat says:

    often when watching English Premier League the British broadcasters are often I find to seem boring, for the fact that they lack a lot of language would speak in accounting they often pause a lot often you just hear names randoming as to run to play goes along. I think commentators and heading out just need to speak more bring the narration more into def sure we are watching the game is one thing that we are watching the game we know what we are watching but the same time is nothing like narration narration brings more light into the story what would just watchin of course if you really don’t want to hear a lot of talking might as well go to the games in person if you can afford it.

    • Faithless says:

      Haha… Really. “It wasn’t his actual best”.. Sorry, but I have had to endure all of his broadcasts and his “best” doesn’t even compare with some of the worst announcers out there. And then you compare this train wreck to the best announcer in the English speaking world Martin Tyler

      What planet are you on?

      • dcudiplomat says:

        Martin Tyler is clearly not the best actually if extremely boring the guy Hardley says anything.

        • Faithless says:

          You clearly don’t watch football regularly… You don’t have to blab for every second of the game..

          Tyler is the standard

  51. Anya Rahming says:

    When I heard one of the american commentators say “both coaches are stepping out of the dugout” in yesterdays bayern/manchester united game I turned it off and found an English stream to watch.

  52. Stuart says:

    Gus Johnson is the anti Christ to football in the USA .
    He looks like a pimp .reads bios instead of commentating on the game .uses terms that should be on a hockey or basketball game and is the annoying weasel that sidles up to you in the pub pretending he’s knowledgeable in the game of football
    He’s awful he ruins games and makes me wish fox lose all contracts to lose showing any games ever
    Winalda wasn’t much better .please please please horses for courses use the guys that have been doing it for years ,Martin Tyler John champion they are professionals and don’t use terms like he fires he is in the 6 and he sends it clear
    Please make Gus Johnson stop and go back to primping .

  53. Ward says:

    Gus is in a bit of a no-win as far as use of terminology – if he uses traditional terms like pitch,byline etc he’ll be accused of pandering to Anglos. If he uses US-style lingo he’s trying to Americanize the sport. To me, it’s his overall delivery style that is grating and more suited to basketball than footy

  54. goatslookshifty says:

    For the last time, it’s not just his use of inappropriate terms to describe things, it’s not just that he has an American accent, it’s not just that he gets overly excited at routine plays…HE JUST DOESN’T KNOW THE GAME! Simple as that.

  55. dan says:

    Gus is just simply horrible. Not tolerable. Not bearable. Not a-ok. He doesn’t know the game, dynamics, flow, spirit, nuances. He doesn’t know the players. He never kicked the ball. He probably never watched the game as a specator until he was 40. Some things just can’t be learned. He is an awful choice on so many levels. Spitting out bits and pieces of info from Wikipedia at the most dramatic moments does not qualify as knowledge. And yelling “Mawdrich” when Modric gets the ball is just plain excrutiating.
    Is there a petition to sign to take this man back to the hoops arena!?

  56. don two says:

    I want someone who I can understand and it is not Gus Johnson. I want Ian Darke or someone in that vein of announcer, a Brit who knows the game and how to announce it. I don’t want him for basketball or baseball, I want him for the World Game of Football.

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