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Fox signs Bruce Arena and Curt Menefee For Champions League Final

So for the entire 2009-10 season of the Champions League coverage on Fox Soccer Channel, soccer analysts Bobby McMahon and Warren Barton have worked incredibly hard to hone their skills, study the teams and deliver some of the best homegrown soccer analysis we’ve ever seen on television Stateside. So, what do they get for their hard work? They get replaced for the Champions League Final with LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena and NFL analyst Curt Menefee.

It’s possible that Barton and McMahon will still be involved on the Fox Soccer Channel pre-game show before the game is broadcast live on the regular Fox channel across the United States. But still, I believe Fox’s decision to bring in Arena and Menefee stinks.

Arena is not a soccer pundit and he is not a great speaker. Menefee is a NFL talking head but, according to Fox’s official press release is “a long-time aficionado of international soccer.” That’s news to me. But still, I don’t think he could do half the job that a Barton or McMahon could do. Rounding out the cast of characters for the Champions League Final will be Eric Wynalda who will retain his role and will sit alongside Menefee and Arena.

I’m quite puzzled by Fox’s decision to favor Arena and Menefee. Who are they trying to appeal to? Are mainstream Americans who watch sports but never watch soccer going to suddenly watch the Champions League Final because Menefee is on television? And while Arena is a brilliant coach, are more soccer fans going to watch the game because Arena is now one of the analysts? Sure, Arena adds credibility but we don’t want big names in those chairs, we want experts.

Perhaps that’s precisely the reason that Barton and McMahon weren’t chosen… because Fox Corporate felt they had to pull in the big guns for the final. To me, this feels like what ESPN did for the 2006 World Cup when they brought Dave O’Brien in to pull in American viewers. While Menefee isn’t going to be commentating (thank god it’ll be Tyler and Gray), it’s still a poor move by Fox and a slap in the face to soccer fans throughout the United States who have appreciated Bobby McMahon and Warren Barton.

Or, maybe it’s Fox feeling as if they have to add American voices to their Champions League Final coverage instead of an Englishman and Scot? Especially when it’s Fox’s first-ever soccer broadcast.

If I had to make a guess, this decision feels like it was made by Fox Sports instead of Fox Soccer Channel. And what does Fox Sports know about soccer?

Whatever their reasoning, and we may never find out what they were really thinking, it’s a poor decision. America needs experts like McMahon and Barton, and it would have done a brilliant job on Fox that would have done a service to the sport in this country.

Fox, what were you thinking?!

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  1. shmoeshmoe

    May 17, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Even Wynalda and Arena have the personality and charm of a wet shoe (not to mention Lalas and cocky Barton who was an untalented garden variety player of a dead decade AT BEST!).

    Anyone who thinks Menefee is suited for this position knows absolutely nothing about the game and should stick to stuffing his face with corn dogs and watching Gridiron. I agree these 3 are probably the most appealing for our culturaly insular American audience which knows nothing about the realities of the world game, so I will watch pregame on FSC and MYp2p and then switch to the LIVE game once the intelligent game commentary commences.

  2. timmyg

    May 11, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Wait, are people seriously clinging to Warren Barton? A middle school student’s history essay uses less clichés and vague generalizations than he does. I keep waiting for him to say something of merit, something of depth…

    But it never comes, just “you know what you get with (insert name here). He’s got pace, great technical ability, and he can score you some goals.”

    • sucka99

      May 11, 2010 at 4:29 pm

      hilarious! don’t forget “chop and change” and “scoring goals for fun”

  3. Cricketlover

    May 2, 2010 at 5:08 am

    What Fox is trying to do is make soccer coverage mimick coverage of football, baseball, basketball, etc. One of the first things you notice about coverage of sports in this country is there is constant talk, often loud, with announcers/presenters feeling they have to say something to fill the airtime. It’s as if they get paid by the word. This is just the way it is. The mute button is my best friend. And I am greatful that at least the match commentary is done by those who know and understand the sport. It will be a sad day when the match commentators are chosen not for their knowledge and undestanding of the game but their country of origin.

  4. 2010 Club World Cup

    May 2, 2010 at 5:05 am

    Horrible move. You gotta stick with the horses that brought you here. McMahon and Barton have been doing this all season, then they get the shaft??? RIDICULOUS!!!

    F you FOX!!!!

  5. mike fahey

    May 2, 2010 at 12:39 am

    A completely tone deaf move by network suits, but that isn’t exactly new.

  6. man99utd

    May 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Then why is Martin Tyler the lead commentator if it’s on American television for American viewers?

    • This One Guy in Detroit

      May 1, 2010 at 5:36 pm

      Because he’s the commentator on the international feed, which Fox has been using for the entirety of the tournament.

      But your response makes me think you’re misunderstanding my entire argument here. My point is not that there’s anything *wrong* with foreign voices, per se. My point is simply that there’s nothing wrong with American voices — and in fact, they come with a bonus, by subtly helping the sport’s growth in the long run.

      (And, dude… use the “REPLY” button. It keeps things around here a lot more efficient.)

      • man99utd

        May 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm

        We’re actually in agreement because I do not think there is anything wrong with American voices. I simply would like to see some actual experience. My argument is with the particular people chosen. Why not look try to get a few of ESPN’s soccer (American)analysts. Tyler works for Sky and ESPN has picked him up for the World Cup. I’m just afraid it’s a dumbing down of the sport for the sake of “new” fans when it really isn’t necessary. It may only be 15 minutes, but is sets the stage for the match.

        • This One Guy in Detroit

          May 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

          Fair enough. We’re probably not too far apart in our thinking, then.

      • SSReporters

        May 1, 2010 at 5:59 pm

        That’s not international feed commentary. The jokers like Tim White were international feed.

        FOX kindly used the Sky Sports feed, hence you some times here promos for Sky programming during the game. They used Sky Sports because everyone said those world feed guys sucked.

        • This One Guy in Detroit

          May 1, 2010 at 7:34 pm

          Yeah, sorry, I knew it was the Sky Sports commentary, I’m just not good with the right jargon on this stuff.

          Speaking of which (and I’m sure this has been addressed countless times this season): Does anyone know why so many of the CL broadcasts on FSC have had a synchronization problem with audio and video?

  7. man99utd

    May 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    So will the NFL, NBA and MLB sign anchors that happen to know “about” the sport but have no other connection to it at all? This isn’t about nationality, it’s about football. Why look outside the sport when there are so many inside it. This would like getting Martin Tyler to commentate and Tommy Smyth to anchor the Super Bowl because they happen to know “alot” about the NFL. It would be a disaster. I want the sport to grow in America, but I would like Americans to realise this isn’t their sport to muck about with as they choose just to make some redneck happy. ESPN has learned from their mistakes. FOX’s attitude seems alot like “The Charge of the Light Brigade”.

    • This One Guy in Detroit

      May 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      Who are you suggesting they hire, exactly? It’s a 15-MINUTE PREGAME SEGMENT, which will probably feature about nine minutes of actual program content. Most of us have spent more time writing comments on this thread than they’ll spend talking on the air. Good Lord.

      I’ve already explained: McMahon was likely considered too esoteric for something like this. And Warren Barton was probably considered too unpolished as a broadcaster. Who else, exactly, are you clamoring for them to hire? You’re wanting them to ship a few premium British voices across the ocean for an afternoon?

      Nobody is “mucking about” with the sport. It’s a TELEVISION BROADCAST, for Americans, by Americans. I know you’re British — unless you’re a Yank who has just suddenly decided that “pillocks” and “rubbish” are great words — but if you’re watching this on American television, then you’re going to get American television. Deal with it.

      • Gary

        May 2, 2010 at 12:40 am

        What would you think of a team consisting of McMahon and Menefee? The latter to fill the role of a lead anchor in the style most familiar to the American audience and w/ McMahon to provide the deeper analysis of the squads, tactics, etc? That would seem like a greater compromise than going full out w/ Arenas and Wynalda (ugh). I think that to many readers of this blog this seems like a wholesale rejection of the values of objectivity and quality in broadcasting which I’ve come to associate w/ the commentators on soccer in the UK.
        Also, personality or not, Tommy Smith may be the worst/least objective commentator on soccer that I have had the displeasure of listening to.

  8. man99utd

    May 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    At least Wynalda and Arena have been in the game as players and managers… The other chap just happens to know “alot” about football. Most of the great commentators and analyst of any sport have either played the sport all their life or grown up ensconced in the environment, ie. Martin Tyler. Again, its not a matter of American v. Anti-American, but a matter of quality. Why is Bradshaw so good at what he does? Because he knows the NFL front to back and he is hilarious. By comparison there are plenty of “eurosnobs” who can’t stand Ray Hudson. By the way all this talk about “British” accents belies the fact that this encompasses more than one country.

    • This One Guy in Detroit

      May 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm

      “The other chap just happens to know ‘alot’ about football.”

      Well, this other chap is there simply in an anchor role. He doesn’t need to be a diehard soccer analyst. He just needs to be a quality anchor, and for that he needn’t have been involved in the game. We already know he’s a quality anchor, because of his work on “Fox NFL Sunday.” And he never played in the NFL (or in American football period).

      I think it’s terrific that Menefee got the gig. Having guys like that associated with soccer is very, very healthy for the longterm growth of the sport.

      Everyone in this thread (well, everyone under age 60 or so) will live to see the day when soccer finally shakes off its stigma in the United States and is largely accepted and respected. Each little development like this — a Curt Menefee doing big-time soccer broadcasts on a big-four network — gets us a little bit closer to that achievement. You guys should be embracing this stuff, not knocking it.

    • This One Guy in Detroit

      May 1, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      Let me put it this way: If in 1985 you had told me that within 25 years the Champions League final would be aired live by a major network, with a pregame show featuring an American who had played in three World Cups, a coach who had led us to the World Cup quarterfinals and manages a globally recognized U.S. club, and a famous NFL anchor who digs soccer, I’d have been utterly THRILLED. I’d also probably have gently encouraged you to go get a mental health checkup.

      I just think some of you fail to see the big picture and grasp how far we’ve come, and why these are all positive signs. If you’re really young, or you’re a European emigrant, then maybe that’s understandable. But nobody else has an excuse. Sometimes you just need to back up to take in the big perspective, realize how frikking cool we’ve got it these days, feel grateful for how far we’ve come, and positively marvel at where we’re gonna be 25 years from now…

  9. Matthew N

    May 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Most of us are American just like you, man…

  10. Spurs Fan

    May 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Tell Fox to save their F*** money (Rupert you can spend the savings on the WSJ, as you try to put the NY Times out of business!!), and just pick up the UK feeds for pre-match, commentary, and post match analysis. I know these American networks are trying to carve out their own audience, but their pre and post match coverage is s***!! I’d much rather listen/watch to PROPER analysis! Its like when you’re in the UK watching the NFL – do you want to listen to some UK studio presenters analyzing the game in London, or watch John Madden, Phil Simms, etc, who can give us the PROPER expertise. Your thoughts?? Please let me know I’m not in the minority.

    • This One Guy in Detroit

      May 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm

      “Please let me know I’m not in the minority.”

      I hope you are. Because I’d like to see soccer continue growing into a respected American sport — not relegated to a little boutique niche for people with exotic interests.

      Maybe it would help if you try to take the long view here. Even if you don’t like American commentators right now, look at stuff like this as steps in a bigger quest — a series of gradual improvements that will benefit all of us in the long run. If you genuinely don’t like Wynalda and Arena, think of it as a little sacrifice, part of the progress toward top-rate American soccer broadcasters and a first-row spot for soccer on the U.S. sports landscape. That makes it all much more fulfilling.

      • Matthew N

        May 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm

        I don’t mind Wynalda, but Arena is just not a person who should be on camera. The guy has no charisma. I have no problem with an Americanized broadcast if it is quality. Based on past experiences, we can expect anything “Americanized” to be garbage. Maybe this will break the trend, but I won’t hold my breath.

      • SSReporters

        May 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm

        It’s the UEFA Champions League. EUROPE! Why should this be Americanized?

        ESPN never did this nor did FSC/FSN. Putting in guys who are terrible at their job because they’re American doesn’t grow the sport at all.

        • This One Guy in Detroit

          May 1, 2010 at 4:43 pm

          “It’s the UEFA Champions League. EUROPE! Why should this be Americanized?”

          It’s not being “Americanized,” any more than it gets Americanized when Grant Wahl writes a column about it (or when you publicly comment about it on a blog thread, for that matter).

          They are simply American broadcasters presenting an event to American viewers on an American television network.

          If you want to argue against this particular crew because they’re “terrible at their job,” that’s fine. But that’s a different debate, and completely distinct from the argument about some “Americanization” of the event.

          • SSReporters

            May 1, 2010 at 5:12 pm

            For the last several months they had no trouble using Barton and McMahon. If ESPN can attract the casual viewer with Tommy Fricking Smyth, then casual fans will LOVE Bobby McMahon.

            Bruce Arena sounds like a retarded guy at times.

            They’re messing with a formula that was working.

          • This One Guy in Detroit

            May 1, 2010 at 5:26 pm

            And by the way:

            “If ESPN can attract the casual viewer with Tommy Fricking Smyth, then casual fans will LOVE Bobby McMahon.”

            I think this bit of conjecture is wildly off-base. Whatever his other qualities, good or ill, Smyth is a lively, personable TV character. Let’s be honest: McMahon is not. He’s got a wonderful brain for the game, and he serves a needed role on a specialty channel like FSC, but he’s not exactly the sort of TV personality who lights up the screen.

            He’s great for the soccer hardcores, but that’s pretty much the very thing that makes him NOT great for “casual fans.” I’m not gonna sit here and trash the man, because he seems like a good guy, so I’ll leave it at that.

  11. Joe in Indianapolis

    May 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm


    Tyler & Gray are calling the game. As I recall, the pre-game show literally only lasts 15 minutes. Would it be nice to have more experienced pre-game talking heads? Yes, of course. But let’s focus on the positive: the Champions League Final is on FOX! That means free TV for anyone who wants to watch! All this in the summer leading up to the World Cup. Times are good. Take a pill.

  12. This One Guy in Detroit

    May 1, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Anyone who thinks Bobby McMahon ever had a chance in hell of appearing on this Fox Sports broadcast is nuts. The guy knows his stuff, absolutely. But his analysis and style are way too arcane for a setting like this. And he’s got an accent that can be impenetrable to the average American ear.

    It’s not a “soccer thing.” There are plenty of guys like McMahon in the world of NFL, NBA, etc. — meticulous savant-type brains who can pull out the most obscure bits of trivia and analysis. But they generally aren’t commissioned for high-profile network gigs, which call for a whole different sort of approach and delivery.

    • This One Guy in Detroit

      May 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      Haha, gotta love the thumbs-downs, as if that will somehow magically make my comment untrue.

      I didn’t say Bobby McMahon is bad. I didn’t say he’s not quality at what he does. I didn’t even say I don’t personally like him. I simply pointed out the reality of the television environment, which is that people like Bobby McMahon typically don’t get big mainstream gigs.

      So go ahead and click the thumb-down button. Maybe that will make the nature of the bazillion-dollar broadcasting industry magically change.

      • Gary

        May 2, 2010 at 12:21 am

        “his analysis and style are way too arcane for a setting like this….meticulous savant-type brains who can pull out the most obscure bits of trivia and analysis…”
        While I agree with your point about why McMahon wouldn’t be the first choice for a mainstream broadcast, I think you are way off the mark with your assessment of McMahon and his style.
        He is well informed but, more importantly, steadfastly objective in his analysis. This is the greatest quality that a match commentator can possess and which many mainstream commentators conspicuously lack. Particularly someone like Wynalda who I cannot stand and is truly a representative of the American perspective of global and European football. Wynalda’s match commentary on the WC in 2006 was appallingly xenophobic and exhibited the casual racism for which we are unfortunately well known.
        I also think your comparison of McMahon to the Statistical brainiacs that dominate the commentary on mainstream sports in the US is misplaced. Soccer cannot be quantified or analyzed in the context of numbers or history quite so easily as the American sports. McMahon is not a numbers man; he’s a keen observer of the game who’s deep historical knowledge of soccer informs, but never overshadows his sober and thoughtful commentary on the game he covers.
        Like I said, I take your point as to why he wouldn’t be the first choice for a mainstream broadcast, but his style is far from arcane. Perhaps just unfortunately marginalized by the fact-fed talking heads who’s babbling detracts from rather than enhances the enjoyment of watching a match on TV.
        Anyone else in the Bobby McMahon fan club?

        • Mission Man

          May 2, 2010 at 3:23 am

          I agree with your point about McMahon being the best for the booth, but I have a serious problem with you saying that Wynalda exhibited “casual racism.” I think that’s way off, hence the thumbs down for this post.

  13. sucka99

    May 1, 2010 at 8:39 am

    This is awesome. This site complains about not having an American voice in the booth for the World Cup with Martin Tyler there. Then it complains about having an American STUDIO HOST who may or may not know his stuff.

    So is the problem American voices thing or is it the replacing people for the showpiece event thing?

    Or is it giving people a reason to complain about something? anything?

    • The Gaffer

      May 1, 2010 at 9:16 am

      It’s got nothing to do with Americans vs non-Americans. It’s more to do with who deserves to get the job. For ESPN, JP deserved to get a lead commentating role based on his hard work and how well he has done commentating US games. For Fox, Barton and McMahon deserve the nod for their hard work this season.

  14. Casey G.

    May 1, 2010 at 3:06 am

    this article only wants to make me LOL at how fox got the Champions League rights, ESPN needs to get them back ASAP esp when this current fox deal is up.

  15. Eric Thornley

    May 1, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Will Troy Aikman and Joe Buck be providing commentary?

  16. Terry

    May 1, 2010 at 2:32 am

    I disagree with the view on Menefee. He’s a good host, he will ask the studio analysts good questions whether it is NFL, EPL or Olympic Underwater Basketweaving (if it existed). They should bring him into FFF to give everyone a preview. I think he’ll be good.

    However, Arena is horrible, just horrible. He’s going to sit there with his smug mug and not say a darn thing worth what FOX is paying for. He can coach at a certain level when he has the player talent, but he just hasn’t a clue how to speak to the viewer.

    Ideally, FOX would have added an Italian and a German since they might have the most knowledge about the teams in those nations’ leagues. At the very least, we can give FOX credit for not having Joe Buck call the game. Maybe FSC can have a separate pre-game and half-time show… I’ll watch that if they do.

  17. Arseblog Reader

    April 30, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    When will some people in this country realize that there are other countries in the world, other cultures, and other languages that are worth getting to know. When will some people realize that everyone is connected on this planet and what happens in one country, affects the people in another country. Just take the economic meltdown and how every country suffered.
    The whole notion of being “American” is meaningless if you call someone a eurosnob or a foreigner. The word America comes from Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian merchant who worked in Seville, Spain, an foreigner that immigrated to another country. We are all immigrants and foreigners. No one on this site can probably trace their family’s roots to America if they went 200 years back. In fact most Italians, Irish, and Polish people which most Americans now identify with came here only 50-80 years ago. Dont call someone living in this country that doesnt have an American accent or is different from you, non American without calling your ancestors non American.
    When will people grow up and learn to accept and cherish each other’s differences. When will Americans realize that there are other great people and countries on the planet that are just as equally good, if not better, to live in.

  18. Arseblog Read

    April 30, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Hey lets start a facebook group(It got Betty White ON SNL, so it can take Arena and Menefee OFF FOX for the final), lets start an online petition, and lets flood their email boxes and tell them WE WONT WATCH THE FINAL WITH ARENA AND MENEFEE!!

    I personally think that FOX, with Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly are just afraid of anyone that is not American. They have shown it with their views on FOX News and now they show it with their hiring policy.
    When will this country mature enough to accept people that are different?

    Go to a site like mediamatters org to see some of the bigotry that is FOX news and the hypocrite Rupert Murdoch, an Australian.

  19. Simon

    April 30, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    hey richardfromnyc i found this email.

  20. richardfromnyc

    April 30, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    ok, we need to get a grassroots thing going here. Who can we email at Fox to protest this? This is a disaster if Menafee and Arena are the pregame.

    • Kevin

      May 11, 2010 at 1:37 am

      If this is what you call a “disaster” you might want to look up the word’s definition. The game is on American network TV in HD. Chipmunks could call the game for all I care.

  21. CTBlues

    April 30, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I know this is way off topic but didn’t know where else to post this.

    Drogba got named on Time’s 100 Most Influential People list for 2010.,28804,1984685_1984949_1985240,00.html

  22. vermaelen5

    April 30, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Ugh! An “aficionado” of soccer? Are you freaking kidding me? Once again, a big network takes advantage of serious soccer fans. They know that we will watch the game no matter who is analyzing, and therefore try to bring in the “casual sports fan” instead of providing top notch commentary.

  23. Simon

    April 30, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I think this cold be Dave O’Brien part 2 fox shold no better than to put a nfl host on to host a soccer game. if they did not warnt to use Bobby McMahon and Warren Barton then they shold have just gotn the feed from sky sports for pre game and post game.

  24. J.

    April 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Couldn’t care less. I’m just happy that they are showing the game OTA.
    Menefee will just be hosting the brief snippets of time between the commercial breaks that’ll be stuffed in before the game starts and at halftime.

  25. ovalball

    April 30, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    They won’t be satisfied until they have 5 people in the studio all mouthing cliches, but making no sense, just like their NFL broadcasts. I can see the robot juggling a soccer ball right now. God help us.

    “Well, Eric, I think the team that puts the ball in the back of the net the most will probably win tonight.”


  26. Pucklusti10

    April 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    – this is terrible news… it wouldn’t be that bad if were just menefee hosting and keeping mcmahon and barton on set, but replacing them with arena and wynalda… two guys who have done absolutley zero besides in MLS and were absolutely atrocious in the booth for ESPN MLS telecasts is a sign FOX does not pay attention to the fans

    – this sport is growing in this country and it is not due to MLS, it is exposure to european leagues which have the best players in the world… ESPN is finally listening and i think gets it with their plans for the world cup, FOX instead is taking the ESPN 2006 world cup playbook from the bin and applying it to the champions league final, only the biggest match of year (except in a world cup year), just have to add julie foudy now…

  27. man99utd

    April 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    The eurosnob talk is getting very tiresome. This is a world sport played by the entire world, including America. I want quality. I do not care what the accent is as long as they know the sport and talk as little as possible. These pillocks (FOX) have made a real hash of the CL. First using the rubbish commentators in the beginning stages and now this. ESPN may be taking a chance with Martin Tyler, et al, but at least they’re not trying to appease a xenophobic crowd who is afraid of anything that didn’t originate in America. Please ESPN buy the CL back, and the Prem. If I were Barton and Bobby I would be sorting out my CV and sending it to EPSN. I’ll watch, but on mute.

    • Pucklusti10

      April 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      – love to see ESPN get momentum from the world cup and begin a channel (likely replace espn classic) devoted to football, get more EPL games, maybe rights to some other leagues (germany, italy, spain, or even brasil) and add sports like rugby and maybe even the NHL, as long as they stick to what they doing for the world cup

  28. David Zehr

    April 30, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Dear FOX,


    I want my Euro Footy as much if not more than the next American fan, but is it too much to ask that you not mess with an already proven and great quality commodity in Barton and McMahon? What in the name of Misguided Research is going on over there?

    Poor, poor idea at the worst possible time. Thanks for nothing, unless your idea is to drive fans (especially paying subscribers to ‘Premium’ channels) away screaming, then you’ve nailed it.

    Mr. ForgettingaboutFoxSoccerPlusaltogether

  29. Matthew N

    April 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    i have little faith in anything the Fox network does that doesn’t involved the Fox Soccer Channel. If you watch their American football games, you’ll know just how ridiculous their presentation is (dancing CGI robots, loud music super annoying “American” style presentation, etc.). I’m sure they’ll find some way to ruin the Champion’s League. I’ll give the guys a chance, but I just really wonder why they felt they needed to do this. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that the average Fox viewer hates everything that isn’t 100% American, so they needed American voices/faces in their studio.

  30. f. u. fox!

    April 30, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    this is fox’s big stage. this is their chance to show america what european footy is all about and i think they blew it!!

    o-well, the match-up isn’t that great anyway. would rather have seen a man utd v inter

  31. Martin

    April 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Dear God, this sounds awful.

  32. SSReporters

    April 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I guess considering Menefee called NFL Europe games he should know something about their culture and soccer.

    But Arena is just terrible.

  33. Kevin McCauley

    April 30, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Curt Menefee is a studio host. He isn’t an analyst. He’s very, very good at this job. If you watch the NFL on Fox, Menefee rarely offers his opinions and instead does a very good job of introducing highlights/journalistic pieces in addition to doing an excellent job of facilitating conversation between the analysts. He’s a professional at his job and I’m assuming that, football aficionado or not, Menefee will have done his research and will be well prepared because he is a model professional as a television host.

    • Dave

      April 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm

      The more important point being missed here is that Eric Wynalda is NOT a very good studio host. Wynalda only took that gig for FSC because Max Bretos, who IS a good studio host, left for ESPNews, and FSC found itself scrambling to find someone to take over the Champions League studio duties. Menefee is a good studio host who will appeal to American audiences.

      This allows Wynalda to fill the role Alexi Lalas does on ESPN — spew out half-formed opinions with enough arrogance that they start to seem believable. I would venture to bet, however, that either McMahon or Barton will be somewhere behind the scenes, feeding Wynalda talking points. One of them should be sitting next to Wynalda in that studio, though. American soccer fans don’t have much respect Bruce Arena after 2006.

      • The Gaffer

        April 30, 2010 at 2:51 pm

        Wynalda was pretty poor in his early attempts at being a host for the Champions League shows, but I thought he did a bang-up job on Wednesday night for the Barcelona v Inter game.

        The Gaffer

        • Dave

          May 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

          If by “bang-up job” you mean “Warren Barton looked like he wanted to slug him,” then sure. It doesn’t really change the fact that Menefee is still a much better choice as a studio host than Wynalda — especially with the game being shown on the network, rather than FX.

  34. hank

    April 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I’m with SSReporters – they really need to sell the Champions league to an American audience. Getting rid of forgein accents is just a start. Another problem are the team names, “Bayern Munich vs Inter Milan”? I don’t get it what’s an “Inter” or a “Bayern”?! They should be nicknamed the “Lions” and the “Wizards”, or something more accessible. Is there a half time show?

    err… yeah, terrible decision. Bobby McMahon and Warren Barton have been great.

    • SSReporters

      April 30, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      We need Terry Bradshaw rolling through the highlights.

      Actually for the comedic factor I want to see this happen. Frank Caliendo can work on a British impression and make his pick for the game. Jillian Barbarie can give us a weather forecast.

  35. Clampdown

    April 30, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Even if Menefee does know the sport, I’ve never heard him call a single match. Does he have any experience doing that? If not, why is he being given such a high-profile match to start?

    Bruce Arena is perhaps the most boring “analyst” they could have hired.

    Let’s just hope we don’t get dancing robots and animated explosions to spice up the match.

    • Clampdown

      April 30, 2010 at 4:36 pm

      Sorry, I thought you meant these two would call the game. meh .

  36. Jason Gatties

    April 30, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    First off, I’ve heard Menefee talk about soccer on the radio before & he knows his stuff. Typical soccer fan reaction by the Gaffer here. Soccer fans whine when nobody pays attention but jump to conclusions when an “outsider” has interest in the sport.

    That being said, I do agree that Menefee doesn’t fit because McMahon & Barton do this on a weekly basis. They deserve the gig because they earned the right, not because Menefee has no knowledge of the sport.

  37. UpTheBlues

    April 30, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I did a double-take after reading the headline of this post…Bruce Arena? Curt Menefee? What is Fox thinking?

  38. Ade

    April 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    who will be calling the actual game?

  39. CTBlues

    April 30, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Fox seems to be doing the exact opposite of the ESPN is doing. We will have see how this goes but my money is on ESPN.

    • Terry

      May 1, 2010 at 2:16 am

      If ESPN is doing the opposite of what Fox is doing here, can you explain why Lalas is now in the studio for the EPL games on ESPN?

  40. SSReporters

    April 30, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    That’s a bunch of crap Gaffer. All you Eurosnobs are the same. It’s an American channel and it deserves American coverage and knowledge of Europe’s greatest competition……

    I might as well point out I’m being sarcastic and this is the worst trio to ever host a soccer show in the US, because some are actually going to think I was serious in that last paragraph.

    • SSReporters

      April 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      And by paragraph, I of course mean two sentences but what the hey….

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