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Gus Johnson’s Arsenal-Bayern Munich Call on FOX Soccer Underwhelms

Today, we heard Gus Johnson commentate his second soccer game for FOX Soccer, where he was the announcer for the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich. His performance as a commentator at the Emirates Stadium tonight showed that he was a considerable amount of work ahead of him if he wants to improve.

The main issue with Johnson’s commentating today was his inability to correctly read the game in key moments. Examples include Johnson shouting “What a save!” when Manuel Neuer stopped an Olivier Giroud shot that was aimed point-blank at the German goalkeeper. Plus, in the first half, Bayern Munich won a free kick on the edge of the area, Johnson didn’t call it. Either he didn’t see the referee signaling for a free kick, or didn’t understand the call that the ref made. Instead his commentary was “A nice slide… dangerous for Arsenal.” His inability to distinguish between a foul and a “nice slide” is worrying. Plus, the TV viewer at home shouldn’t be the one figuring out it’s a free kick before the commentator does.

Other flubs included repeatedly mispronouncing Bacary Sagna’s name in the first half, as well as misreading a Bayern Munich corner as an Arsenal goal kick, and lulling us to sleep with his monotone commentating during quieter moments of the game.

Thankfully co-commentator Ray Clemence papered over many of the cracks, doing a far better job alongside Johnson than Warren Barton did last week. Clemence’s insights into the game were timely and astute, often enhancing our experience of watching this exciting match. His chemistry with Johnson was also decent. Clemence was able to defuse Johnson’s over-exuberance at times. When Johnson made the “What a save!” call, Clemence explained that “To be fair to Neuer, he doesn’t know a lot about it. If that’s half a yard either side of him, it’s in the back of the net.”

While Johnson’s performance was far from catastrophic, today revealed a little more regarding how much of a gulf there is between what he knows compared to the knowledge level of an average soccer commentator. I can live with Johnson calling anything coming near the goal as “on fire” and his annoying “In the six!” calls, but the bottom line is that he’s not saying anything. He’s not adding anything to these games other than a good voice, an American accent and tons of energy. Take those three things away and there’s nothing.

Gus Johnson’s next commentary is this Sunday’s Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea (8:30am ET on FOX Soccer).

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  1. stan

    March 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Gus Johnson is worse than useless. All he does he say the guys name and if there is any call such as a foul or corner he waits until you can see from the ensuing play what the call was. had never heard of him before today but was so peeved off by his commentary of the Manchester United v Chelsea FA Cup match today that I had to google him and confirm he is equally bad in many other sports. Put him on dancing with the stars or some other crap like that.

  2. mary thompson

    March 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Sorry to hear the soccer experts are unhappy with Gus Johnson commentating. Now they know how much I miss him this basketball season. Men all complain about Gus and that’s why I’m stuck listening to all these boring guys who try to be Gus. Been listening and loving sports for fifty years. I would be honored to have Gus today. Thx. Mary

  3. OT

    February 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Eric Shanks, not Gus Johnson, is the point man in this experiment.

    If one were to aim a pitchfork, that pitchfork should be aimed at Shanks.

  4. Brian Greenwood

    February 20, 2013 at 11:59 am

    He does not know anything at all about football. He was calling a break out a breakdown. He has no knowledge of what a good shot or save is. He has no insight on the action in any way. I sorely miss the brit anouncers who know the teams players and, most of all, the game. It seems as though he has not even watched the game, let alone the finer points of strategy and smart play. This is the wrong stage to bring in a new guy. This is uefa cup, the biggest stage in club football. Please bring back someone who knows something. At all.

    • Fernando

      February 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      The Uefa Cup is not an active competition.

      • Brian Greenwood

        February 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

        Champions league

  5. ben

    February 20, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Agree the performance was underwhelming. That said – think the focus on the “what a save” comment is a bit harsh. In real time, all you could see was a hard, point blank shot blocked (in fact, it came back so hard I originally thought it might have actually hit the post as oposed to the goalie). It was only when the replay showed that it was clear he knew nothing about it – as Clemence noted.

    I think any other commentator would have made a similar comment about the save from the full speed, real time video (i’d be interested to hear waht the world feed announcer said in this moment to contrast). Now, maybe they would have corrected it with the replay, but isnt that really the color guy’s job to comment on anyway?

  6. Fernando

    February 20, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Has anyone really paid attention to the drivel we hear every weekend from the international feed we get? At times it borders on useless. These are commentators who’ve been calling matches for ages and there is no insight.

    Everything Gaffer mentioned, is something we get every weekend from several seasoned announcers. In this same review, he was criticized for being too excited and being monotone. No one can win when pained into that corner.

    • IanCransonsKnees

      February 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Agree 100%. Just because they’re British doesn’t mean they don’t spout absolute horse$h!t #Alan Green#John Motson#Pat Nevin

      • Wongo1

        February 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm

        Yes but they know the game, whether we agree with their crap or not is unimportant, THEY KNOW THE GAME.

        • IanCransonsKnees

          February 20, 2013 at 1:04 pm

          Does Warren Barton?

          • Wongo1

            February 20, 2013 at 1:21 pm

            Actually barton does know the game, and even though he is NOT the most articulate man, he knows the game, has played it at some level and does know the history of the clubs.

      • IanCransonsKnees

        February 20, 2013 at 1:05 pm

        I missed out Martin Keown and Andy Townsend.

  7. Patrick

    February 20, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Gus is like the Jordan Henderson or Marko Marin of announcers right now.

    You can see the talent, even though their employers should have known they’d be out of their depth at first. (Chelsea knew; Liverpool didn’t; I’m not sure about Fox.) But it seems like they are trying.

    • Larry

      February 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      How did you arrive at the conclusion that “you can see the talent”? Please enlighten us.

  8. Andy

    February 20, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Gaffer, I suggest you put up a thread this weekend where people can post all of the errors, mistakes and mispronunciations made by the regular EPL commentators this weekend. Maybe people would be surprised to find out that they aren’t perfect either? Or maybe it will prove that they are perfect and we should continue chasing Gus Johnson with torches and pitchforks.

    • The Gaffer

      February 20, 2013 at 9:22 am

      Andy, we have an open thread for every match featuring a Premier League team, so feel free to post your comments.

      The Gaffer

  9. Clay

    February 20, 2013 at 5:07 am

    I think this is pointless. Gus has been humble, and wants to learn the game. You should be half as critical of those on Fox who are awful, yet have no excuse (“cricket announcer calling football? Goodness me!”).

    A TV commentator does not have to paint the picture for radio listeners. Your critique of Gus exclaiming about a great save would be relevant if his proclamation was to an audience who can only listen.

    Mispronouncing Sagna’s name? This is quite ridiculous as I would imagine we all mispronounce names on a daily basis due to what the commentator’s feed us. He might have pronounced it correctly. For example, do you add a (sic) when someone exclaims, “Leee-unnell Messi” v “Line-ell Messi” one of those two pronunciations must be wrong right? At least he didn’t refer to him as Song.

    • Cantona

      February 20, 2013 at 7:05 am

      So your giving him a pass until he “learns” the game? No why should we? Would you tolerate a novice Brit doing the AFC and NFC championship games and then the Superbowl? All right at the end of the season? I would guess NO. He and Fox deserve all the criticism they get for this choice. Hone your craft somewhere else..and not on the biggest tournaments in the world


      • Clay

        February 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm

        Good point about the NFC and AFC. I guess I don’t think Gus is that detrimental due to the overall non quality of Fox

  10. AZ

    February 20, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Haters gonna hate

  11. dstorm

    February 20, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Gaffer, I think the article and majority of comments are frankly over the top and a bit harsh on Gus.

    Go ahead and watch any premier league game and pay strict attention to every call and you will find a few mistakes by the announcers.

    Clearly Gus lacks the experience at this point, but instead of over-compensating he’s laying back and bit and letting the action tell the story. That is far preferable to the other option of talking too much. I can’t imagine how he would get panned on this site if he took that approach.

    Gaffer, go listen to any Martin Tyler commentated match and tell me how he does not “lull to sleep with monotone commentary” during the normal flow of the game. It feels you’re being a bit unfair unless you’re opening willing to blast Martin Tyler for the exact same style (albeit with a different accent).

    I agree with you on the save call – but admittedly until I saw the replay it wasn’t totally clear the goalkeeper hadn’t even moved a hand – it was a quick bang-bang play.

    It’s clear I’m in the minority here, but for only calling his second game and based on what I’ve seen so far, I’m pretty impressed. Good voice and seems to bring emotion to the call at key moments. I think if he sticks with it and dedicates himself to the game over the next few years he’ll learn the game, have more to add during the broadcasts and bring a unique style that doesn’t detract from the flow.

    But I’m pretty surprised at how he is getting completely panned by the masses here. Feels a bit like minds were made up before even giving him a chance.

  12. IanCransonsKnees

    February 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    I can’t comment on this from the man’s ability to commentate, however for all the bleating about him not understanding the games history is he not simply in the same position most users of this site were when they came to football?

    My advice would be to focus less on stats and more on the backgrounds to clubs and players. It’s a tough one because he’ll have to get more than the potted history of Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd et al right to be able to fill in the back story.

    • De Selby

      February 20, 2013 at 9:24 am

      We’re not being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to commentate. he is.

      • Scott

        February 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm

        You can’t magically be familiar with all the nuances that come with football regardless of how much you’re geting paid.

        I’m sure this wasn’t his idea, higher ups saw him as a professional who excels at what he does, and he will adapt accordingly.

        If you don’t think he’s working day and night to familiarize himself with the game you’re a fool.

        • Frill Artist

          February 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm

          No. Just no. You don’t hire someone and pay them thousands of dollars to “familiarize themselves with the game”.

    • Wongo1

      February 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      Ian, yes we all came to the game at some point a novice, for instance I started watching footie at 5 years old. The difference is that we all came to the game because we had a serious passion for it and we all dived in head first to learn all we could about club history, songs, stadia etc.

      I don’t know why Gus has come to this but i can tell you from his commentary that he has zero passion for the sport, has not bothered to learn anything about the teams he is doing commentary on and has approached it like it is an American football game with player stats et al.

      According to FOX Gus has been “studying” all this past summer, you would assume that he would have taken the time to learn a bit about the clubs. As he has done none of that how can I a Man United supporter give him a pass when he is doing commentary on my teams biggest games. I am not saying he should be a United fan but he should know a bit more about the team than Ryan Gigg is 39 and or that the team has now had their 10th corner of the game.

      • IanCransonsKnees

        February 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm

        If he’s serious he should spend time over here watching how the best (and the worst) work in the flesh.

        I’d be interested to know whether he’s struggling because of the pace of the games compared to typical American sports.

        I’ll be honest I don’t expect the commentators to give me a complete history of Stoke every time we’re on the box, but then again the majority of commentators and pundits can only talk about the top 6 teams in any depth in my opinion.

        Alan Green for example is notorious on his 606 phone on for this, and even worse if your club isn’t in the Premier League he’ll admit on air to knowing next to f£$K all about your team. And this prat is considered a leading light and is paid for by BBC licence payers.

        The closest I can remember to this sort of fuss over here is whe Jacqui Oatley became the first female commentator on MOTD.


        • IanCransonsKnees

          February 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm

          Flaming pc, watch that link. I’d be interested to hear you compare her to Gus.

        • Wongo1

          February 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm

          I remember when she did her first game and listen to her use of language, she obviously knows the game. Listen to Gus and then you tell me it even comes close to comparing.

        • Wongo1

          February 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm

          If you are trying to tell me that this
          compares to Jacqui Oatley then I give up.

          • IanCransonsKnees

            February 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm

            I’m not comparing Oatley’s ability or inability to Gus, more the furore their appointments seem to have caused. I listened to the link and to be truthful he sounds like any other American sports commentator. In my experience they struggle to do understated. I didn’t hear any conversation with Clemence so can’t judge him on that.

            It is what it is I suppose, how long it’ll last will be interesting.

        • Wongo1

          February 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm

          Ian I remember the men saying this is a man’s world etc and what she did was make them look like complete numpties by knowing more about the game than most of them. It was obvious that like most underdogs she went above and beyond. Had Gus done that believe me I would be sitting here singing his praises.

      • Scott

        February 20, 2013 at 1:46 pm

        Do you think you could articulate well enough to be able to be a commentator even with years of watching football?

        It’s one thing to become well versed and to be studying the game, as Gus is doing without a doubt, but it’s another to be able to transfer that knowledge into a fluid commentary on something that’s happening live.

        It’s absurd to me that people are expecting him to be some sort of Ian Darke coming out of the gate. Give the guy some time FFS…

        • Wongo1

          February 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm

          Scott you once again miss the point, we are all more than willing to give him time, just not with the biggest games in the tournaments.

    • Rob

      February 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      “however for all the bleating about him not understanding the games history is he not simply in the same position most users of this site were when they came to football?”
      That might be true, but U.S. football and American fans have moved on since then, it’s disrespectful to them to treat them as novices to the sport.

      • IanCransonsKnees

        February 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm

        I appreciate that but he’s no different to the next group of Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal fans that log onto here for the first time. I can remember more than one article about choosing a team to support etc and what to do next.

    • steve

      February 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      here’s the thing though….nothing was broken! Why try to “fix” something that was working just fine? I’d bet 99.9% of the viewers were completely ok with the world feed and using English announcers. Why did Fox feel the need to try and “americanize” the broadcasting team. NOBODY was complaining or asking for a change. That’s like Fox going and taking off Joe Buck and Troy Aikman from the #1 NFL broadcasting team and replacing them with Patrick McEnroe and David Faherty. Ok, on second thought, maybe getting rid of Buck and Aikman wouldn’t be so bad. 🙂

      • IanCransonsKnees

        February 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm

        Has nobody told you NBC are insisting we’re having quarters, timeouts, cheerleaders, tailgating, barrels of gatorade and are widening the goal posts and signing dwarf goal tenders to increase the scorelines? Richard Scudamore will sign off on it when they hand over the cheque.

  13. Frill Artist

    February 19, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Then stop watching FOX. Watching it only supports this highly stupid idea to hire this man. ESPN wouldn’t hire Martin Tyler to commentate a college lacrosse match so why FOX is doing such a stupid thing is beyond me.

  14. Henry

    February 19, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Gus began by calling it a match and then almost immediately resorted to calling it a game. He kept going back and forth with match and game.

  15. Mufc77

    February 19, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    If I ever hear Gus Johnson say the words “well done son” like Eric Wynalda did last week I’m just going to shoot myself.

  16. De Selby

    February 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Finally, someplace where my opinion seems to jibe with the majority.

    Johnson may be able to improve to a degree but I’m in the camp that finds his hiring for this job insulting. It’s going to take years for him to maybe be passable. It’s just so hard to listen to someone when you know they don’t know what they are talking about.

    He just misses and/or mis-describes so much. When someone cuts back he yells “crosses over!” and he’ll describe some play as a “counter” when it is no such thing.

    I thought this game was announced slightly better than the Real Madrid-Manchester United match was. Part of the reason for that was that I thought Ray Clemence was much better than Warren Barton.

    Ultimately, listening to Johnson is just painful. Not only the fact that we know he has no historical context with which to judge what is happening but the fact that he also is so obviously trying to incorporate lingo which is not native to him.

    In summary: I am disheartened.

  17. steve

    February 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    don’t know why anyone is surprised that this is a disaster. and let’s not sugar coat it. it is a total disaster.

    To think, on these pages a few years ago, many were completely panicked about ESPN broadcasting games, thinking they would do what FSC is doing right now and not respect the game and history. For my money, ESPN has done a stellar job. For all ESPN’s faults, they get sports. they understand audiences. Fox Soccer never has. Never will. It’s a bush league channel and the sooner every good soccer product is off their network, the better.

    PS- NBCSN is in the ESPN camp. they won’t botch things like Fox does.

  18. Cantona

    February 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Again no substance in his call… He DOES not know the rules… Very apparent when fouls happen and silence.. No opinion.. Clemence was good but he was even out of sorts because he’s used to a banter with the lead commentator.. He wasn’t getting it tonight. Pre and post games are SO stiff… He throws Ray the soft question.. Then he comes back with his mind numbing factoids that he regurgitated countless times during the match. Probably the best thing about Johnson’s call tonight was that we couldn’t hear him. He couldn’t keep the microphone near his mouth…he was barely audible in patches. Rays audio was fine. I agree with gaffer in the article, while Gus doesn’t detract from the game ala Hudson and Schoen, there is nothing to his call. So how is this growing the game in the USA? How is an American voice improving the game in the USA? I would love Fox to answer this. Mr. Johnson is in for big challenge Sunday.. Lee Dixon is not a good color commentator.. He really suffers behind a bad lead commentator.. I expect Sunday to be the worst yet. More eyes will be on this game also.. Expect more daggers to out once people realize this is not the TWI feed.


    • The Gaffer

      February 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      I agree about Lee Dixon. I’m not sure what FOX was thinking when they hired him for Sunday’s match. I don’t rate Dixon at all.

      The Gaffer

    • Wongo1

      February 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      Cantona, I hope it is not the wreck we expect but….

  19. Bobby

    February 19, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Let us all hope NBC is going to do a better job, I am not that confident. Their Olympic coverage is horrible if you are a sport fan.

  20. Mufc77

    February 19, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I found the solution to Gus Johnson is to watch the match down at the pub with other fans. Lots of background noise and swearing at the TV from other fans cancels out 75% of what he says, alcohol helps with the other 25% of the garbage he says.

  21. RobG4

    February 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    As bad as it was on TV, it was twice as bad listening on Sirius satellite radio.

    Listening on radio is bad enough when you have the TV commentary – they don’t make the same attempt to describe the action as a radio specific commentary.

    But a TV commentary on radio where the play-by-play is Gus Johnson is excruciating!

    I like Gus and really want him to succeed. But listening to him without any TV action to watch really exposed all his flaws as a soccer commentator. He just didn’t know what to say for most of the match.

    I did learn the ages of all the players repeatedly, and other useless stats.

  22. James

    February 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I agree. I’m an American and I really HATE Johnson’s style. I hate his yelling every time there’s a shot on goal. It’s not American football or basketball. People don’t want to be yelled at by the guy announcing the game. Beyond style, he just didn’t seem to have enough intelligent to say. The British announcers are just so knowledgeable that Johnson is jarring and distracting. Soccer audience doesn’t need artificial excitement – maybe he does that because that’s what MLS tells him to do, but international and/or more sophisticated audiences will find it annoying and lowbrow. If Johnsons’s an MLS import maybe he just needs to stick to that and an American audience. Again, I’m American and I really don’t like his announcing. It makes watching the game much less enjoyable.

  23. Derek

    February 19, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Everyone knew this would be a weakness going in so I don’t understand the point in criticizing him on it early. How is he supposed the recognize and read the game when this is his second match to ever call on TV? He admits he is coming from basically total ignorance of soccer so it will take him years to catch up.

    Now this makes it a questionable move by FOX but ripping Gus for not knowing how to read a game like us fans who watch it all the time is short-sighted and obvious. Of course he is bad now, FOX and Gus want him to be ready to go by the 2018 World Cup and the fact he is bringing energy and a good work ethic makes me hopeful.

    He is painful to listen to now though I agree but this article is a cheap shot in my mind

    • The Gaffer

      February 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      Derek, I disagree. It’s not a cheap shot. I’m just calling it the way I see it. I don’t think he should get a free ride.

      Soccer fans in the United States deserve better quality and respect than the way they’re being treated by having an experiment forced on them. There are other options for FOX Soccer to get Johnson ready for WC 2018. Throwing him in at the deep end is not the answer in my opinion.

      The Gaffer

      • Kobashi

        February 19, 2013 at 9:01 pm

        I honestly found the duo of Rob Hawthorne and Tony Gale to be pretty boring today on the World Fed. I don’t think Hawthorne as a play by play guy is as good as Tyler, Darke, Banyard, Drury, or Champion who all have appeared over the years on the international feed. Hawthorne isn’t as poetic as Tyler and doesn’t bring the excitement in his voice like the other 4 bring to big games. No doubt Hawthorn is a professional but he is down the totem pole for me in terms of the hierarchy of UK based soccer play by play guys

      • Derek

        February 19, 2013 at 10:07 pm

        I don’t advocate giving him a free ride but how could you expect him to be able to read a game right now? this was his 2nd game on TV.

        I agree we deserve better but I don’t agree that there are better options for FOX to prepare him. Real live experience can’t be duplicated.

        Current American viewers who watch the Champions League on FOX Soccer are not who they have in mind when they put Gus on the mic, they are thinking of the American sports fan who will be 20% more likely to watch the World Cup because they love Gus’s work on the NFL or NCAAT.

        • The Gaffer

          February 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm

          I don’t expect him to be an expert by the second game, but my dissatisfaction is more aimed at FOX Soccer for putting Johnson in this precarious position. Why not have him commentate lower profile matches to gain experience? Give him Porto-Malaga or Dortmund-Shakhtar? Or Wigan-Reading? FOX Soccer has plenty of matches that they can give him where he can gain much-needed experience.

          I don’t think Gus will have a 20% effect at World Cup 2018. If someone doesn’t like soccer, they’re not going to tune in just because Johnson is commentating.

          The Gaffer

          • Derek

            February 19, 2013 at 11:29 pm

            Fair enough.

            And I’m not saying he will increase ratings by 20% but he will make a certain group 20% more likely to watch while not turning off hard core soccer heads like us. We aren’t going to not watch the World Cup because we don’t like the announcer.

            I understand the strategy and don’t like that our enjoyment of these huge games is diminished (it’s really hard to not have ears open for every mistake when his presence has been hyped so much also) but I am hopeful that with his work ethic and energy he will be a positive for the World Cup.

            He won’t ever be as good as Ian Darke or Martin Tyler for us hard core fans but we aren’t the ones fox is catering to in 2018, they want a wider audience

          • OT

            February 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm

            You are forgetting about the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

            The audience for that one will be “different” from the usual FOX Soccer audience.

            FOX Sports (i.e. Eric Shanks) wants to make a “big splash” in 2015.

            Gus Johnson is part of Shanks’ “big splash” master plan.

            I am guessing, and only guessing, that Eric Shanks accelerated his master plan for Gus Johnson after NewsCorp made the decision in January to shut down FOX Soccer by July 31.

            (The “all soccer” channel concept lives on at another corner of the NewsCorp empire, as FOX Football Channel Malaysia launched last September, complete with the old “FOX Soccer Channel” shield logo.)

            As a result, FOX Soccer becomes a laboratory for FOX Sports (and NewsCorp in general) in its final 6 months of existence.

            Once again, “school” is in session at FOX Soccer.

            Instead of training junior producers during Serie A matches in 2012, FOX Soccer in 2013 is the defacto “Gus Johnson school of soccer broadcasting.”

  24. M Owen

    February 19, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Only thing worse than arsenal players was the commentary…
    There was so much radio silence during the games plus all he did was call out players names rather than saying what they did with ball.

    • Cantona

      February 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      To be fair.. When this was announced we thought he would blab too much… He just doesn’t know when to talk.. Less is more but he misses key moments.. And it’s the lack of understanding of the’s obvious I’ve he is scared to make a mistake.. But this shows he is out of his league and shows he should have started with a lesser tournament or league. He wouldn’t have gotten all this criticism if he wasn’t calling on the biggest games on the biggest tournament on the planet.


  25. danny

    February 19, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    *thought (no edit option on here)

  26. Rob

    February 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Like you said Gaffer, thankfully we had Ray Clemence to add insight and experience and he was great; he choice when to make his points instead of some of the non stop conversations some of the commentators get involved with. Hiring Johnson however is a complete insult to football fans, how can Fox employ a guy who knows less about the game he is paid to comment on than the fans listening to him? He sounds like he is reading from Wikipedia half the time. Still, I’m sure Fox is happy now that the US has their own football commentator who sounds exactly like all the other sports. ones.

  27. danny

    February 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    on the other hand I though Ray Clemence was more then decent! (way better the Barton)

  28. Phillip

    February 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Gus has seemed like a veteran of 70 years compared to his commentating partners in the last two weeks. Warren Barton and Ray Clemence have been just awful. Clemence kept saying “Bay-ern”. THAT’S NOT HOW YOU SAY IT JESUS CHRIST BRO

  29. Dean Stell

    February 19, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    While I remain optimistic about Gus’s ability to learn this stuff, I don’t understand the point. There are plenty of quality soccer commentators already. I mean, when we hire someone to work at my office, we tend to look for someone who has experience in the job. We only hire someone without direct experience when we have no choice. Clearly, Fox is not that desperate.

    My problem with Gus is that he’s not adding anything to my viewing experience. I already know the players and I know when a foul is called. I don’t need him to tell me that (or get it wrong). Instead, I’d like more tactical analysis.

    I can see some point to calling out more players names and stuff when the games are on regular Fox and casual viewers tune in, but how many newbies really watch a Champion’s League game on Tuesday afternoon?

    • Wongo1

      February 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      Dean, I am sure you hire a person who has some knowledge of your industry and not someone who was a baker all their lives.

  30. danny

    February 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Again, I cannot believe Fox is doing this.

    The only good thing they had going for themselves was the fact that they used the original commentary on matches they aired (and yes, to be fair, also the fact that they actually air quite a good amount of them – thank you you that!)

    Their picture quality sucks, their studio analysis is appalling and now this..they are completely ruining the match commentary by putting on a guy that simply does not belong. (not his fault)

    Very unprofessional of them. They clearly do not know the sport. I am very glad NBC stole the EPL from them.

    Fix your terrible mistake Fox and leave the commentary alone! It’s not broken! You are ruining the experience & atmosphere of these matches!

  31. Gerry Binks

    February 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    If in doubt be quiet. Clearly he is out of his league. A token. From the sound of it he thought he was at a baseball game. Came prepared with 25 asenine statistics only to spew them out every three minutes. Meaningless.

    Maybe NBC having the tv rights next season is a good thing. Unless Gus moves over to NBC that is.

  32. kyle

    February 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    The problem with Gus Johnson is that he has no sense of history about the sport or the teams he is commentating on. Most of us fans know more than he does about the players and teams since we have been watching them for a long time. That’s why this is not going to work.

    Add to that his inability to call the game properly and you have someone that doesn’t add anything to the viewing experience.

    Shame on Fox for putting him in this position.

    • Wongo1

      February 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      Kyle the Gaffer and many of us have said that this sits squarely with FOX’s brass, even if Johnson has the cajones to think he can just waltz in and do commentary on a game that he knows nothing about they should have either said we’ll let you apprentice in the lower leagues or they should have respectfully declined.

  33. leafsfan1967

    February 19, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I just don’t see how this shift in policy is supposed to increase viewership. It’s bad enough with these games but to think he will be ruining the FA Cup final is really depressing.

    • PetestonVilla

      February 20, 2013 at 9:31 am

      Is he going to do the FA Cup final? My god this is terrible. Years ago Sky in the UK had an English commentator for the Superbowl,what a mistake that was. It takes so much away from the game.

  34. Angie

    February 19, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    He also kept mispronouncing Vermaelen’s name as “Vermarlon.” But I know better than to expect anyone at Fox Soccer to actually understand the game. What a horrible network. I weep for the severe drop in quality for the next World Cup.

  35. Fog

    February 19, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Gaffer…I agree. I didn’t listen to his first match, but based on the neutral reviews, I decided to give today a try. It is obvious that Johnson is not comfortable with the games’ strategy. Currently, he is not knowledgeable enought to “add” to the game. It appears that today’s strategy was “less is more.” I don’t know how to fix that other than continued exposure and being paired with above average co-commentators that he can draw from their knowledge.

    Not terrible…he didn’t distract me like others, such as Ray Hudson or Arlo White, but he didn’t add anything.

    That being said, it is awfully difficult to concentrate on the game at hand when the announcer is much of the story…therefore, I think we are probably a little more critical of his performance.

  36. Kobashi

    February 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    If you don’t like GuJo’s commentary and have FOX Deportes turn on the SAP option on your cable box as the secondary audio channel has the English World Feed.

    Before I left work this morning I set my DVR to record the Arsenal/Munich game on FOX Deportes and I set the SAP to Spanish. When I came home from work the game was broadcasting in English. When I toggled the SAP back to English it was broadcasting in Spanish.

    If you have FOX Deportes and it’s in HD you really have no need to complain about GuJo because FOX is making the world feed available to soccer fans here in the States. And complaining about having to hit a couple of buttons to turn the SAP on is a non-starter with because it takes less than 20 seconds to do.

    • Kobashi

      February 19, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Why 4 thumbs down? I am just pointing out that there is an easy option for fans of UK based commentary who get FOX Deportes through their provider.

      I only had to hit the button on my remote 12 times to turn the SAP on.

      • Cantona

        February 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

        I agree you explaining a good option..

        But how long will it be before they pull that feed?

        I understand the replay on foxsoccer2go was Johnson


  37. Bob

    February 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Gus Johnson can’t understand the importance of the match he is commentating. He has no idea why each match is important for each individual team. Gus only relies on the stats. Also, He can’t determine if it was a good shot, a bad miss and so on. He has to rely on his co-commentator to give his opinion. Which takes several seconds to happen. Unlike with Martin Tyler where you will here “what a miss”, or “that is sensational” right after it happens.

    • The Gaffer

      February 19, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Precisely Bob. Gus’s inability to read the game is his biggest weakness right now. He doesn’t seem to have a good feel regarding what is good or not — in the categories of shooting, passing or goalkeeping. It’s one of the basics of soccer and he doesn’t seem to grasp it yet.

      The Gaffer

    • Wongo1

      February 20, 2013 at 11:55 am

      This is why we as people who LOVE this game, we who put this beautiful game above all, kids, wife, air are so annoyed with FOX’s decision to have this guy learn his trade at the expense of these huge CL games!!!

  38. ruffneckc

    February 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Glad I got a very good stream to watch live and not wait to watch the DVR later. This man is going to spoil many-a-game me thinks.

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