By Calvin Palmer
A thrilling and pulsating game between Real Madrid and Barcelona in the first leg of Supercopa 2011 this afternoon finished 2-2 despite Real Madrid’s home advantage and domination.
I had hoped the match was going to be covered by the Latino TV channel, Univision, which provided me with my coverage of the Copa América last month. I was rather looking forward to the ebullient commentary in Spanish by Fernando Fiore.
Alas Univision was screening one of the many Mexican soap operas it airs on regular basis.
My next port of call for coverage of the game was Gol TV, the only American network channel dedicated solely to football, although the Americans would say soccer.
The commentary was in English, so you would think that would be preferable to a Spanish commentary. Don’t you believe it.
My enjoyment of this enounter between the two giants of Spanish football was completely ruined by a co-commentator with a Geordie accent and a severe case of verbal diarrohea, diarrhea for Americans.
He was referred to as Ray by his American colleague and at half-time I was determined to find out who this idiot Ray was.
Google and wikipedia quickly came up with the answer – Ray Hudson.
Now, I have followed English football for 50 years and the only player of note during that time with the name Hudson was Alan Hudson of Chelsea, Stoke, Arsenal and England.
Ray Hudson, it turns out, was a footballing non-entity. He played 40 games for Newcastle United during a period of four years with the club. He left at the age of 22, not for an English side in one of the lower leagues but Fort Lauderdale Strikers. I think that says it all with respect to how good Ray was a player — simply not good enough to make the grade.
Ray eventually went on to further his “football experience” by managing Miami Fusion and DC United in the MLS, hardly the upper echelons of world football.
Ray Hudson in pure football terms was what we English would term a tosser. And he seems keen to retain this label in his career as a soccer commentator.
How he can claim to be an authority on European football and the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona beggars belief. His contribution to the commentary is filled with every cliché and hackneyed phrase that has ever graced the world of football commentating. He simply spouts forth meaningless drivel littered with a plethora of inappropriate adjectives and adverbs to describe what the viewer has already seen with his or her own eyes. He contributes absolutely nothing in the way of explanation or analysis.
Listening to his commentary, delivered in a grating accent that screams into the microphone, one may be forgiven for thinking that Ray has imbibed six or seven bottles of Newcastle Brown before going on air.
He is like something out of a Viz comic, a drunken fan called in to commentate on a football match, without the expletives a drunk would use. With his limited vocabulary and limited grasp of the English language, he is clearly out of his depth.
What for instance are “knifing balls”? What is “unimaginable brilliance”?
Throughout his commentary he used the term “magisterial” when he obviously meant to say “majestic”.
Statements were punctuated with “of course”, as if to make out that he is a leading authority on world football.
Every player was a “genius”.
One move by Real Madrid was said to be “executed with extreme prejudice”. What is that supposed to mean? Absolutely nothing! It is meaningless; something a drunk may well utter.
He referred to Cristiano Ronaldo at one point as a “Portuguese peach”.
Barcelona’s Pedro was described as possessing “vibrant, electrical skill”. Did Pedro train and qualify as an electrician before taking up the beautiful game?
He described Real Madrid’s Özil as “the best thing on two legs since Sophia Loren”. I don’t know who is the more insulted by that remark – Özil or Sophia Loren.
Ray was obviously never taught to engage brain before opening mouth and the world suffers for it.
Ray’s job with Gol TV just goes to show how people with limited ability, a loud mouth and as much front as Blackpool promenade can get on in America.
Make no mistake, Ray Hudson would not be allowed within 100 miles of a microphone in his native Britain. Just as he proved not to be good enough as a footballer in the English leagues, he is similarly lacking in the necessary knowledge, experience and erudition to ever gain access to British broadcasting.
But Ray is broadcasting to the American market and what most Americans know about football can be written on the back of a cigarette packet, hence his ability to hold down the job at Gol TV. He is far too dumb to realizes people are laughing at him rather than with him, although he is laughing all the way to the bank. I wonder how much he gets paid to serve up his dross.
To paraphrase William Shakespeare, Ray’s commentary is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.
The second leg of Supercopa 2011 airs on Gol TV on Wednesday. I think I will watch the game with the volume turned off rather than have my enjoyment of a footballing extravaganza ruined for a second time by a verbose, semantically-challenged and know-nothing Geordie.