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Pros and Cons of Gus Johnson’s Debut as FOX Soccer’s Commentator for Real Madrid-Man United

The main thrust of my articles last week about FOX’s appointment of Gus Johnson was whether FOX made the correct decision or not to hire the best talent available. I said that I would give Johnson a chance in his debut game on FOX Soccer. So, how did he do?

Here are the pros and cons of Gus Johnson’s debut appearance on FOX Soccer:


1. Lots of energy and excitement in his voice.

2. Excellent calls on the opening goal by Danny Welback, and the wonderful kick-save by David De Gea. Plus, Johnson’s excitement at Robin van Persie’s shot later in the game that was saved off the line.

3. Very listenable.

4. He’s an American commentating on a US soccer network.

5. Did well with identifying players.

6. Gus Johnson made a concerted effort to let the game do the talking at times, instead of talking incessantly.


1. Disliked his several references to “Man U” during his commentary, which is very insulting to Manchester United supporters. To be fair, Mario Melchiot was also guilty of saying the same thing.

2. Made the mistake of calling a free kick a corner in the first half (see above photo) when Xabi Alonso had the ball.

3. Way too much talking during the game regarding trivial matters or player facts or figures that distracted and distanced the viewer from the game we’re watching. A good example of this was Ronaldo’s sensational headed goal. Instead of commentating on the build-up to the goal, Johnson was talking about Ozil’s recent performance for Germany in a friendly which was cut short just as Ronaldo’s head met the ball in mid-air.

To be fair, there were lots of talking by Tyler about off the pitch matters too that didn’t concentrate on the game, but he chose to say them during lulls or stoppages in the game, not during key moments.

4. Dislike his overuse of “fire.” I’m not a big fan of catchphrases. Tyler doesn’t have one. It’s cheap and cliched.

5. Called Ryan Giggs “one of the greatest footballers in English history.” He’s Welsh.

6. Not a big fan of his fascination with the six yard box in his commentary. “Curls it into the six,” and “…in the six” are just two examples. The six yard box hasn’t got this much love from a commentator since forever.

7. Several times during the game, he got his descriptions mixed up. When it was a pass, he described it as a cross. When it was a cross, it was a pass.

8. He’s still too reliant, at times, on his radio commentating tendencies where he seems unable to stop describing everything that’s happening on the pitch even though we, the viewer, can see the same thing unfolding before our eyes (for example, “Alonso passes the center circle,” “Ramos on the right wing,” etc.).

9. I could have done without Johnson letting us know the corner count every single time a corner was taken.

Despite a shaky start with Johnson and Barton talking too much about the off-the-field matters instead of concentrating on commentating the game, Johnson grew into game and obviously showed that he did his homework. Coupled with a more experienced co-commentator, Johnson has the potential to improve and to make his mark on the game with an uniquely American voice.

Whether you like Johnson or not depends partly on your preference for how a commentator calls a game. Should it be over enthusiastic excitement or something more understated? Such is the difference between Gus Johnson and Martin Tyler. Do you want your commentator to add more excitement into a shot that goes harmlessly wide, or would you prefer him to sound more excited that need be to raise your blood pressure? Vice-versa, with Tyler, do you want a spectacular goal to be given the relative silence and room to breathe or would you prefer over-the-top hysteria?

We’ve been there before with Tyler during the 2010 World Cup where Ian Darke ended up getting more of the bigger calls near the end of the tournament because Tyler’s style was too understated.

But this isn’t Martin Tyler versus Gus Johnson. It’s a decision by FOX to field a self-acclaimed soccer novice as its lead commentator from now through to the FIFA World Cup in 2018. On a Champions League match like this one, Johnson didn’t seem so out of place. Having him commentate a Premier League match is another matter entirely. Luckily for viewers in the United States, EPL Talk exclusively revealed this week that we believe NBC Sports is planning on using UK native commentators.

Despite my reservations about Johnson last week and some of the mistakes he made today, he showed enough promise to show that FOX Soccer may be on to something. It’s a different style than what we’re used, and he will hopefully improve over time. He’s never going to be as good as Martin Tyler or other top British commentators, but it’s FOX’s decision and it’s one that they obviously believe in. Gus Johnson is not everyone’s cup of tea, just as Martin Tyler is not everyone’s cup of coffee.

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  1. Soccer Fan

    February 24, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I agree completely. FSC, please bring back the native EPL announcers who understand the game, provide some interesting insight, can be witty and who do not spend the entire broadcast barking at the viewer. The new announcers are horrible. It is as if they simly memorized the names of the players and then yell the appropriate one every time a player touches the ball.

  2. Todd

    February 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    I hope that Fox draws from the ESPN group of 4 that were successful – Darke, Rae, Healy, Tyler to do the 2018 WC.

    Any chance NBC Sports reads these commentaries?

    Jon Champion and Alan Parry deserve mention too- they are GOOOOOD.

  3. James

    February 19, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Johnson is the WORST. So annoying. I’m American and I hate it. I don’t watch soccer to be yelled at by some lame-brain for 90 minutes. Johnson’s style is idiotic, his screaming isn’t exciting, it’s just annoying. If you’re the type of person who wants to be yelled at while watching sports, then you aren’t watching soccer in the first place – unless you live in Braaaaa-ziil, and we shouldn’t be basing it on that – possibly the most annoying announcing on the planet.

  4. Arthur Chance

    February 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    To everyone here, a plain and simple point to consider and digest.

    I would not inflict an Englishman who grew up playing cricket, bowls, darts and rugby and football (not throwball) or shall we call it world football!!!,,,who was extremely knowledgable, proficient and passionate about all of the aforementioned and have them commentate on an American basketball, baseball or any other sport played in America.
    The unconscious (I hope not arrogant) use of colloquial terminology foreign to football lovers ears- such as FIRE and ASSIST- i find irritating- as I am certain you would if the tables are turned.

    Please let carpenters be carpenters and pilots be pilots,
    Oh and while I am on my soap-box, I pay extra for Fox Soccer on my cable package so PLEASE FSC stop subjecting a third of my viewing area for a percentage of the match to your advertising partners banners, it’s just not cricket- nor is Gus Johnson’s wit!!!

    Arthur Chance

  5. John Kelly

    February 18, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Awful, Johnson ruined my enjoyment of the game. For the life I cannot understand why fox do not continue to take the Sky Sports commentating like they did before

  6. Cantona

    February 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    So one down… And how many left do we have to tolerate?

    The arsenal champions league next week… Then Chelsea v man city… And then two cup finals?

    Please no more… In fact I hope they change their mind about the cup finals….

    I hope to god he doesn’t show on any return legs in the champions league…

    Please Gaffer let us know if you find out about additional broadcasts… Or even better if they remove him..


    • The Gaffer

      February 15, 2013 at 6:04 am

      He’s also doing the return legs for United v Real Madrid, and Arsenal v Bayern.

      The Gaffer

      • Arthur Chance

        February 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm

        Hello Gaffer please read my post, how can we get this basketball commentator off Fox Soccer and back where he belongs and Sky back with us?

    • Cantona

      February 15, 2013 at 9:52 am

      Worst news ever… Just saw the SI story where Eric Shanks thought he did well and gave him the return legs…. Idiots!! Don’t they know the buzz is a novelty act and the curious that watched because of Johnson will not be there after one or two matches … Then leaving true fans to having to put up with this debacle. Fox’s experiment has ruined the champions league and FA cup for their pandering to baseball and basketball fans!


  7. Bryan

    February 14, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I see several comments to the effect that Johnson will improve as he does more games. On what are folks basing this ? He’s been doing NFL games for years and has always been mediocre, notable only for his volume. Fox is thumbing its nose at its viewers by putting a novice like Johnson in the booth. What was wrong with Martin Tyler and Gary Neville ? Sublime.

  8. Rob

    February 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected, but shows you how standards have dropped and what we are ok with. Barton is awful, I’m so tired of listening to discussions between two commentators that take the excitement out of the action and mute the crowd anticipation.
    We are usually given a choice of English or Spanish, why shouldn’t I be able to choose no commentator at all and just enjoy the stadium atmosphere?

  9. paddy h.

    February 14, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    he was terrible. jp dellacamera is terrible. a native announcer is not going to be the “thing” that makes “americans” fall in love with soccer, if they haven’t already. barton is also terrible.

  10. Paul

    February 14, 2013 at 10:57 am

    4. Dislike his overuse of “fire.” I’m not a big fan of catchphrases. Tyler doesn’t have one. It’s cheap and cliched.

    Technically he does… “…and it’s LIVE!” 😉

  11. Fink2le2

    February 14, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Good commentary here. I thought @EPLTalk had the fairest piece on the upside and downside to having Gus on. You guys didn’t go nuts and trash him like so many were quick to but presented some valid reservations.

    I’m a Gus Johnson fan but I thought the pros/cons here were valid. If FOX keeps him in the booth for these, he should have nowhere to go but up.

  12. Cantona

    February 14, 2013 at 9:38 am

    There wa no substance in his call. I give him kudos from not detracting from the game… But there is no value added in him having the call. He got names right and was subdued ( which probably pissed off the Gus fanboys) but it is very obvious he does not understand the rules. He never gave an opinion on ANY foul that happened on the pitch. This is not what I want for the best football competition on the planet. Gus would be fine for A casual fan for the MLS but he is no way at the level of the announcers we are used to calling UEFA games. It really angers me that he is getting the call for the finals of the FA Cup and Champs lg… He doesn’t deserve to be there… It’s a step down in quality and us the fans continue to be the guinea pigs for this experiment.


  13. Andy

    February 14, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I thought Johnson did a great job considering the magnitude of the match and his relative inexperience. Regarding Con No. 3 in the list, I agree with your assessment, but I also think this is something that Johnson will grow into. He will become more familiar with the ebb and flow of the game and he will know when to inject a story or off-field fact into the broadcast. I could tell he was trying to adapt his style to calling a football match and I think he did a fine job.

  14. David G

    February 14, 2013 at 8:22 am

    He wasn’t terrible but whats the logic? That somehow I’ll enjoy him more because he speaks with an American accent?

    Johnson/Barton were not bad but were like most broadcasting teams, they added nothing additional to the match.

    Neville on the other hand would have

  15. Clay

    February 14, 2013 at 2:04 am

    Your positives are well taken. Your negatives are finicky, to say the least. The Fox regulars during the Barclays games aren’t as good, on average, as Johnson today. I am a bit confused as to whether you approved in the end or a toss up?

  16. BA14

    February 14, 2013 at 1:36 am

    “Rise and fire” is one of Gus Johnson catch phrases.

    Ok job. I expect him to get better. Love his energy and excitement which is a breath of fresh air. I think he’ll do a fine job with time.

  17. coloneldickweed

    February 14, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Pleasantly surprised by his performance. I expected to cringe a lot, and I truly didn’t. He just needs to watch more action in his off time to be able to identify the perfect times to inject his energy.

    They both needed to give more love to the Ronaldo left footed firecracker that missed by about a foot right after his Freekick bounced off the wall.

  18. steve

    February 14, 2013 at 12:53 am

    I must say that I hoped Gus would fail, and I expected him to turn the match into March Madness. But really he proved me wrong in the end and did much better that I could have imagined. And I have to admit (gulp) that he even sounded better than most US commentators I’ve heard to this point. And Barton wasn’t that bad either. I wonder how a Robbie Mustoe-type figure would do with Gus. Of course I’ll always prefer the international feed for every game…but Gus didn’t come off so bad.

  19. Vlad

    February 13, 2013 at 11:40 pm


    Thanks, but no thanks.

  20. Henry

    February 13, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Given all the negativity about Fox’s decision to put Gus Johnson behind the microphone the bar was set pretty low. That’s why people feel he did better than expected.

  21. DCUDiplomat96

    February 13, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Im gus Gus got the call, alot of the british guys ae usually Boring, Gus is a gamechanger for sure.. its his first game, he learns quickly he will do fine. Im so tired of the costant pauses and laidback golfstyle announcing these brits be doing, bout time FOX did something right

  22. Fox Soccer PR

    February 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Gotcha!!! 🙂

  23. dust

    February 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    I dare anyone to try and sit through it again all the way through on foxsoccer2go.. I expected the tyler feed..its not they replaced it.. so I miss the initial feed with tyler because the apps feed kept crashing, and now they switched it to gus and barton on the on demand version… d-bags!

  24. jtm371

    February 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    AC/DC never sounded so good 1ST half Highway To Hell 2ND half Back In Black.Sorry but friends don’t let friends do Gus.

  25. Wongo1

    February 13, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Okay Gaffer, I have watched the match again without the nuts screaming next to me and I have really listened to Gus Johnson’s call and it was really a 2/10, I gave it a 3.5 on the site. Why is it a 2/10 because there really is no flowing description of what is going on in the game. On numerous patches of the game where Madrid was simply playing brilliant champagne football I mean intricate passing in very tight spaces around the top of the box, the type of stuff footie fans live for all Gus could say is “Real has played short passes” not expressing how truly difficult it is to not only maintin control against a team like United but to play the most beautiful one twos. The only time Gus had any excitement was when there was a shot on goal. I also have a beef with that as well as every shot regardless of whether it ended up in Row ZZ or was on target was called exactly the same. Other than that the call was flat and I could have had the volume on mute and it would have been the same effect. I am sure he will get better but as I said before this was not the game to blood him and he ruined one of the best games in the CL this year for me.

  26. dust

    February 13, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I did NOT like the call at all, he was annoying, didn’t get the pace of the game it was just horrible… Barton was absolutely terrible too. it is subjective, but in no way shape or form was Gus as good as anyone I have heard from England…sorry I just fined it obnoxious, especially when tyler is available

    Sorry it just sounded poor, My foxsoccer2go feed stopped so I had no choice but to watch the fox soccer feed. I would put Gus and the Geordie nightmare from sirius, beIN and world soccer shop dot com commercial on the same ear bleeding level 5 out of 5 (5 being gushing).

    So pissed off I could listen to the game with tyler….. stupid stupid fox….

    someone actually tweeted in that Gus was great and is what’d needed to increase the popularity of soccer in the US.

    Seriously?…..not sure whats worse, someone tweeting that or someone at fox putting it on the air.

  27. Scrumper

    February 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    It was a monotone broken record of repeating players name interspersed with meaningless statistics ” he’s 25 will be 26 next birthday” “this is his home town, his Father was a shepherd who messed around with the sheep and is now serving time” Okay I made that one up, but it would’ve at least made him sound halfway interesting.

    If you like listening to someone who knows nothing about the game this is for you. But then again you could also listen to my Grandmother, she knows nothing about the game either.

    As for Barton he knows the game but can’t read it. He’s useless as a co commentator.

  28. Eplnfl

    February 13, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    A solid B. Brings a US braodcast experience to the worlds game. Can use some more work on the game of soccer and its rules but otherwise did the job Fox wanted. Putting out a lot of facts and other personal insight all part of the US broadcast style.

    • Arthur Chance

      February 19, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      Along with absolutely no understanding or grasp of the sport being played and a over the top reaction to EVERY shot goal bound (on or off target) like a hormonal teenager that finds the underwear section of a mail order catalogue !
      Overall the whole experience is irritating to say the very least!

      Again would you want a Frenchman brought up with rugby commentating on NFL games???
      Obviously not so why inflict this on us who pay for this channel ?

  29. Smokey Bacon

    February 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    C+. It was serviceable in a JP Dellacamera-esque way. I thought he was purposely subdued which was no bad thing. He gave a very literal account of what was going on throwing in a few stats along the way but not much else. It was as if he was instructed to leave the color to Barton.

    The most pleasing aspect for me was that he was there in the stadium and not in front of a monitor in Los Angeles. That’s got to help him. How could not soak up that incredible atmosphere. He did not mention it once as far as I can tell but why would he if he doesn’t have the perspective of how big a game this was.

    We could nit pick all the MLSisms all night (eg. Wtf is “circling” or “driving. End line”) and there were some obvious rookie mistakes eg Rafael getting the first yellow.

    But Gus did ok. He did not annoy the crap out of me so Ill keep the faith. My advice to him is to keep following the feedback on here. We slaughtered you before but as you can see we are fair. Try to get more up on the ebb and flow aspect of the game. Some of the cross field passes in the first half were superb not that you know that from Gus. I think he even said one 50 yard pass by Carrick that had Welbeck almost in behind as “dumped it”. No no no.

    • Bawambi

      February 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      Gotta disagree with the Dellacamera comment because I have turned on CCTV broadcasts rather than be subjected to a JP assault. Shudder! For those of us who love broadcasting done right we have to have some patience with Fox being bold with this decision. I can’t listen to more terrible calls by ex-Stars and Stripes veterans (Lalas, Balboa, Harkes, e.g.) and other hacks. ESPN has brought a deportes regular and a Venezualan former broadcaster for the Mexican games because we have nobody other than Cangelosi (another import from a different sport) who can call a game worth a damn. Fox has to throw Gus to us wolves because the other choices are few and far between. I hope he gets good.

    • Wongo1

      February 13, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      Smokey Bacon, you said something there that contradicts your praise for Gus, he never ever conveyed the atmosphere he was describing verbatim what was happening on the pitch with no idea of the beauty that was in front of him. I was totally disgusted. Why blood him with this brilliant game, give him Stoke v Wigan!!

      • Smokey Bacon

        February 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm

        I would not call it praise. I’m just saying he did not cause me to throw my snow boot at the TV which is a good thing. I think we all expected this bloke to fall flat on his arse and totally embarrass himself. He didn’t do that in my book. I also called him out on not conveying the atmosphere.

        While he needs to be less literal in his commentating style, he should stay away from attempting his own color commentary and instead involve Barton more. Ask Barton what tactical adjustments he is seeing, how he thinks the coaches might change things, who is on top of their game and who isn’t. Basically prompt Barton with good questions. They are better as a pair rather than individuals. Maybe that can help each other out. Barton is no Gary Neville but I thought he was also ok tonight, certainly better than as a studio analyst.

        • Wongo1

          February 14, 2013 at 11:53 am

          Smokey, I agree with you I did not want to boot the TV either.

  30. cmasia

    February 13, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Most of us believed Gus would be like that Fox College Football spot where he explodes calling a long touchdown.

    Based on that, he wasn’t as bad as we all feared / hoped.

    I though he started OK, but got worse as the game went on.

    Early, he was smart enough to just stay silent during mid field play where nothing was happening.

    For those who complained about his “name calling”, watch any EPL game. Commentators always say things like, “Carrick, Evra, here’s Giggs, Rooney, etc, etc. ”

    Several times during quick passages of offensive play he said nothing, but as the game went on, I think those moments went so fast he could not think of what to say.

    A couple of times he “energized” his call and kept it up when no further play warranted it.

    A few times he went into “Gus” mode expecting things to happen for the mere reason he was getting excited.

    I will give him credit for being “better” than we expected, but that benchmark was not high. And I’m being kind about the benchmark.

    Also, I dare anyone to say they are happy to have heard this team of Johnson / Barton over Tyler / Neville.

    In 6 years, Johnson might not be bad, but we should not have to be subjected to Fox’s experiment.

  31. Stephen Phillips

    February 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Aren’t we all going to be watching NBC next season anyway? Why is Fox even bothering?

  32. danny

    February 13, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Terrible decision by Fox to “fix”somerhing that wasn’t broke to begin with. Dare I say fix something that was perfect.

    Hearing Tyler & Neville call this heavy clash was a pleasure. Hearing Barton & Jonshon made me cringe…

    It just does not fit. Try making Tyler commentate a basketball or an american football game. He doesn’t belong. Simple as.

  33. Matt

    February 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    He did better than I expected and will hopefully improve game by game, if anything it was Barton who they should consider to replace

  34. G

    February 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    It seems like Gus made a very strong effort but the truth is as an American who loves and lives soccer daily for 30 years, I feel that the commentators should also love the game as much as me. It should not be “work” to prepare for the upcoming matches…I read soccer news daily for pleasure.

    I suspect that the persons in Fox who made this decision are not soccer players or soccer fans. If they were, they would understand how ludicrous this is (no offense to Gus, who seems like a good guy trying to do a good job).

    Personally, I enjoy the British anouncers who actually know some details that I don’t know.

    If they want an American, surely they could find someone like Jimmy Conrad, who both a great personality and an accomplished US soccer pro.

    • Wongo1

      February 13, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      G they could just have people audition for heavens sake, I have a good voice and can definitely do a job calling any game as like you I live and breathe footie. I am sure there are many of us out there, instead FOX goes for a guy who knows nothing about the game. It would have been less costly as well because I am sure he did not come cheap.

  35. Earl Reed

    February 13, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    On a scale of 1-10 (10 best), I’d say a 4. For a first time on such a stage, maybe 7. I think he improved as the game went along, but his naïveté did show. An experienced commentator can speak of technical and tactical aspects. His description was very simplistic – probably instructed by his handlers to prevent any major gaffes.

    I don’t think it was a failure at all, but he will need a lot of experience to get himself to the point where he speaks comfortably about the sport.

  36. Mike G

    February 13, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Overall, I thought this was a great performance given the situation, the clubs, and the UCL setting. He is only going to get better and that voice is fun to listen to and very excitable.

    If there was a voice to grab the attention of the typical American sports fan, this is it!

    • Guy

      February 13, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      The things you find positve I find negative and I guess that’s the crux of the matter. This is just one of those areas where folks are never going to agree…and that’s fine.

    • Wongo1

      February 13, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      Exactly what Guy said I don’t need a braying idiot screaming at every shot like it was the next best thing, especially when the ball is in Row ZZ!!

  37. Perry's_Ashburton_Groves

    February 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Bring back the Martin Tyler!

    I don’t understand this decision by FOX Sports. If football is the global game, then why not model your organization on the spirit of the Champions League and European football where talent trumps passports!

    All but the most backward thinkers acknowledge the sport is greater for having Lio Messi starring for Barcelona instead of limited to the Argentine league.

    However, there is a host of people, including those in charge at Fox Sports, who apparently think that Gus Johnson is “a better fit” for the American audience than Martin Tyler, Ian Darke, Jim Proudfoot, Adrian Healy.

    Is his knowledge of the game superior to that group? His experience calling big matches?

    Hopefully, Fox will offer a television broadcast with the likes of Tyler and the other football announcers as it’s difficult having to link the FoxSoccer2Go audio stream up with the cable television broadcast.

  38. Guy

    February 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Wasn’t a hater before and still not. I just don’t see what he brought to the match that wouldn’t have been there without him. If Fox simply want an American voice, fine. No one is going to do better. He still doesn’t have the historical background in his blood and never will, but that’s another matter.

    I prefer understatement in all things, so his or anyone else’s bombast is a waste of breath as far as I am concerned. “Ronaldo slides in out of nowhere!!” Well, no, Gus, he was actually standing there right inside “the six” all the time. 😉

    I wish him the best of luck. We could do worse as the “American voice” of soccer.

  39. Frill Artist

    February 13, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    What is so insulting about “Man U”? Why not give actual fact or history or are you just making this up?

    • Wongo1

      February 13, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      If you want to know what is wrong with saying Man U just Google it mate or better yet go to a bar near Old Trafford and call the team Man U see what happens.

      • Tony Butterworth

        February 14, 2013 at 12:29 am

        Done it many times. Never a problem.

    • Charles

      February 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      Read my post above…it will give you a little bit of insight.

      Thing is, most Americans have never been to the grounds to watch matches, and they some of the fans songs towards the visitors. The utter viciousness of some of the chants is unheard of in America

      Nor is (quite frankly) some of the racist abuse that goes on. I cannot recall ever seeing or hearing about a black player being mocked with monkey mimes at a major professional sports since at least the mid 1960s. We may have our problems with race relations in this country but we mostly know how to behave in arenas and stadiums.

  40. Fernando

    February 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Gus Johnson did an admirable job.

    I don’t think he overshadowed the game at all and to be fair considering the derision caused by this assignment, Fox should be commended for trying something new.

    Con #5, I think he was referring to English football in general. Not surprised there’s more con’s here than pro’s.

    A lot of people, including the Gaffer, wanted Gus Johnson to fail today.

    • The Gaffer

      February 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      Fernando, I disagree. I gave him a fair chance and wanted what was best.

      No need to sling cheap shots.

      The Gaffer

      • Fernando

        February 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm

        Gaffer, come on, your stance was made clear with your post on this last week. This was the essence of your post and is in no way a cheap shot.

        You said Johnson would take the English out of the EPL for crying out loud!!

        You did not want him doing this game. And the fact that this was not a total failure is reflected in how you reviewed his performance.

        You gave him a fair chance b/c he didn’t fail. Had he failed, you would’ve gone all out.

        • The Gaffer

          February 13, 2013 at 7:06 pm

          That’s simply not true. I disagree with FOX’s vision but I said I would give him a fair chance.

          Tonight’s game was obviously not an EPL game. I strongly believe these should remain having UK announcers who know the game far better than American commentators.

          The Gaffer

          • Spurs fan

            February 15, 2013 at 10:02 am

            Would u want an Englishman calling an NFL game??

  41. brn442

    February 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Giggs IS one the best players in English history – but fair enough, he probably should have said “English Football”

    He over-emphasized on Van Persie’s “viscous elbow” on Ramos, without looking at the replay – which showed there wasn’t much of an elbow, or deserving of a yellow card.

    He erroneously said that Rafael’s yellow card was the first of the match but he did correct himself.

  42. bradley edwards

    February 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    The big question with Johnson is whether he improves. When he first started calling boxing for Showtime he made mistakes. He made up for them with is enthusiasm (and hardcore fans gave him the benefit of the doubt) But he kept making those errors. I didn’t expect him to become as good as Jim Lampley in terms of knowledge overnight, but he wasn’t improving. He stayed at the same basic level.

  43. Bob H.

    February 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I was very pleased with Gus Johnson. I have felt for the last several years that he has been the best young sports announcer in the US. He did a fine job calling the game after a slightly slow start. His excitement on the goal calls was good. The only thing he can drop for his next match is reference to the “six yard box”.

    As much as I like most of the Englisn announcers I think it’s time to have a top flight US announcer to call the the big games. To me soccer is no longer a niche sport in the US. Therefore it’s time that the US develop its own lead announcer. For me it’s time to recognize that Gus Johnson is that guy. I feel that in time he will be the voice of American football, just as Martin Tyler is in England. All in all it was a good start for Johnson.

    I also feel the Fox’s production values have improved immensely. With the World Cup in their future Fox has improved everything on it’s presentation of the Champions League, EPL (not BPL) and FA Cup. I have been a past critic of Fox, but I haven’t lost sight of the fact that it was Fox that gave us the Premier League. For that I am forever thankful.

  44. TC_Gooner

    February 13, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    One more thing… I think Tyler picks his spots to get excited about goals much more than you give him credit for. Andre Arshavin’s winner vs. Barca in the 2011 CL knockout round springs to mind. ARSHAVIN !!!

  45. Dean Stell

    February 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I didn’t think he was that bad. I heard a really nice interview with him on the Men in Blazers podcast and the thing I respect is that he’s very self-aware that he’s new at this and needs to work hard.

    Everything I’ve seen leads me to believe he’ll work his butt off learning the players, learning their tendencies, etc.

    But….I really don’t need a play-by-play guy to tell me what my own eyes can see. I would really like better analysis from the color-commentator.

  46. TC_Gooner

    February 13, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I too thought Gus was decent and he obviously did a lot of needed prep for the game – and wasn’t afraid to (over)use it. My question is how much time will he be devoting to learning the global game and its proper terminology moving forward? Or is going right back to hoops and gridiron? He has a lot of gaps to fill in and it’s clear he needs to make a commitment to learning more about the game. He can certainly prep the week before a match and get by. But there’s much more to a producing quality P-B-P/commentary than just ID-ing players and rattling off stats. BTW, I’m a huge Tyler fan and much prefer the style and cadence of the British commentators FWIW.

    • Fsquid

      February 13, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      I don’t think Gus is doing hoops anymore since he moved to FOX. I imagine in the future, they will have him do college football in the fall and soccer in the spring/summer.

  47. Wongo1

    February 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    As one who was on the look out for an unmitigated disaster I would agree with this article somewhat. He was definitely a 3.5/10. As I said before I have no issue with FOX trying to get an “American” voice for the game but NOT with the biggest game of the football year to this point.

    As the Gaffer pointed out much too much time was wasted giving me useless factoids and chattering away about players location on the pitch. I watched the first half with Gus and the second half with the usual suspects and the gulf in class is wide. Gus has the potential to be as good a commentator as any of the current crop in the USA and that is about as far as I will go based on this showing.

    Gaffer, great article mate!!

  48. velija

    February 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    away from the commentary was it just me or did anyone else notice the horribly poor refresh rate for the game, i mean when i watch beIN their picture quality and refresh rate is always full HD and stunningly clear and fox always seems to cut it down a bit and it becomes slightly pixelated. Even watching the Shaktar Dormund game it looks miles better, its like they used a different feed or something?

  49. Anthony

    February 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Overall I agree with this assessment Gaffer. Gus Johnson was no worse than other announcers with UK accents or otherwise that I’ve heard on Fox Soccer. For a first appearance on a big stage I give him pretty high marks. Nothing he did was embarrassing or amateurish. He will only get better. Given the broader audience Fox will have for the free to air and World Cup matches, I can see why Fox went this way even if I like Ian Darke more.
    I do have a minor bone to pick with the distinguished writer RE: Giggs; Johnson referenced him as a Welshman later on. Giggs plays for an English club, so the reference to English football was not necessarily incorrect. I think it’s fair to think Johnson may have been referring to the club and league Giggs plays in which are very much English, rather than Giggs himself. I think this point is a nitpick.

  50. Fsquid

    February 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I prefer Darke over Tyler for the reasons above. I think the only time I can remember Tyler getting over excited was the Man City goal for the title last year.

    • Brandon

      February 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      Arshavin goal vs Barcelona as well

    • Tim

      February 13, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      And that was one of the great calls in history, made even better by the fact that it was out of character for Tyler. Really solidified the magnitude of the Aguerro goal.

  51. leafsfan1967

    February 13, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    So is this the future of football on TV in the USA? I take it this is what we will get with the FA Cup? Oh dear..

    It could have been worse but the commentary was really pedestrian. It is really depressing that Fox has decided to mess with what had been excellent soccer coverage. Will this really help their ratings? I seriously doubt it.

    I sure hope that the rumor/report of NBC using English commentators is true.

    • TC_Gooner

      February 13, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      Leafsfan – I completely agree. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  52. Charles

    February 13, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    From the MUTD community forum:

    “Man Utd is not a term United fans refer to themselves as. The term is only used by other supporters as a complete and utter insult to our club. The “united” is meant to be “u” by the rival fans.

    An early example of its usage is this chant by West Brom fans: “Duncan Edwards is manure, rotting in his grave, man you are manure- rotting in your grave”. The origin of “Man united” is a song to insult the dead Duncan Edwards.

    Liverpool and Leeds fans copied this with their own man you /u versions to insult all of the lads who died at munich.

    “Man United Man United went on a plane Man United Man United never came back again”


    “Man Utd Never Intended Coming Home” (if you combine the first letter of each word you get the word “munich”). “

    • ed of course

      February 13, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      This is an interesting piece of English football History, but a bit over-baked. Cheers!

      • Wongo1

        February 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm

        Tell the hooligans that it is over baked mate. You have no idea it would seem.

  53. Matt

    February 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I agree completely.

    Question: where does the “Man U” vitriol stem from? I admit I was guilty of that when my fandom was in its infancy (I’m from Wisconsin for God’s sake), and I learned quickly to refer to them as anything but Man U.

    • velija

      February 13, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      Nice, im bosnian but living in wisconsin for 12 years now 😀

    • Tony Butterworth

      February 14, 2013 at 12:27 am

      I’ve said it before. I’ve been an MUFC fan since I was taken before my 1st birthday in 1967. Season ticket from 1972-1993 (traveling 200 miles round trip for each game). I had never, not even once, heard anyone complain about Man U until the last 5 years. I always called them that as a kid.

      • Guy

        February 14, 2013 at 7:35 am

        Thanks for that, Tony. Now I wonder the same thing Matt does……

  54. Charles

    February 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    “Called Ryan Giggs “one of the greatest footballers in English history.” He’s Welsh.”

    That’s a bit nit-picky, IMO. He didn’t call Giggs Welsh, and Giggs IS on of the greatest players in the history of the English Premiere League.

    Overall, Gus has some room to improve, but I think he did a great job for an American announcer. He chattered far less than Phil Schoen does, and he was better than most any MLS guy I’ve heard the past few years. He needs to improve his depth of knowledge, and he could chatter a wee bit less, but he was far better than I expected and overall he didn’t really detract from the game a great deal.

    • Charles

      February 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Correction, “he didn’t call Giggs English” .. my bad.

    • PhillySpur

      February 13, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Very good point, only a donkey would think he was referring to his nationality.

      • Sammy

        February 14, 2013 at 6:13 am

        Hmm… so you’re calling The Gaffer a donkey? Interesting.

    • Bob

      February 14, 2013 at 12:23 am

      Even funnier Barton didn’t correct him

  55. velija

    February 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    He surprised me that he wasnt terrible but at the same time for me if a commentator pronounces just about every players name incorrectly he/she loses all credibility. It was like listening to a high school kid in the USA talk about football just mentioning players names Ohzil, Rinaldo, Dee Maria, Alanso, Ramose, Maadrich, …..ahhhhhhh hated it

  56. Fog

    February 13, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Based on the build up to Johnson’s debut, I would have to say this was a “win” for him and Fox. I chose FoxSoccer2Go and Martin Tyler…and I always will, if given the chance. My preference…not Johnson’s performance.

    • Charles

      February 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      And that’s fair enough. I like Tyler too, and far more than other British announcers. Ian Darke, for example.

    • Pete

      February 14, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Same here, I went with Tyler-Neville. Im not a Gus Johnson fan. As mentioned in the article: his catch-phrases are cliched (what I hate about commentators in all American sports) and I hate his screaming during plays (I know most will say that he’s showing his “excitement”…but I think he’s trying to make the game about him).

      I will be sticking with FoxSoccer2Go feeds when he is broadcasting. Or other online sources.

      • Pete

        February 14, 2013 at 9:21 am

        Forgot to mention, I’m a college basketball coach. When he was covering March Madness on CBS, it drove me to “mute” the television.

        • Fog

          February 14, 2013 at 10:51 am

          I agree…I do not care for his “in-your-face” style. From the comments, though, it appears that for the most part, he did not use that style yesterday. One can only hope that it is a sign of things to come, as FS2G will not always be an option.

          FS2G is too expensive for me, so I only use it during their free trials.

          Although I am not a Gus Johnson fan, credit has to be given when it is due.

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