13 May 2013

Far from magic Johnson

Gus Johnson. To be honest, Don Johnson could've done a better job.
Every football commentator has their foibles. David Pleat has his inability to pronounce players' names correctly. Clive Tyldesley has his obvious bias towards Manchester United. Martin Tyler has his belief that everyone should listen to his voice, no matter how loud and overegged his words sound.

Put all of those together, take them to America, and you have arguably the worst commentator in football.

Few outside of the States will have heard of, let alone heard from, Gus Johnson before, but the Fox Soccer 'play-by-play announcer' (that's what the Yanks call a commentator) has become an Internet hit with his reaction to Ben Watson's FA Cup-winning goal for Wigan Athletic against Manchester City on Saturday.

If you thought Martin Tyler screaming "AGUEROOOOOOOOOOOOO!" was loud, listen to this. (WARNING: Side effects may include permanent deafness, tinnitus, other types of hearing damage, and Ian Wright.)

Trying to beat Krakatoa for the largest sound ever made was bad enough for those who, like me, have only now come across Johnson. Thank God, though, that they haven't heard the worst of him.

Johnson is a basketball commentator by trade, but this season, Fox have given him some soccer work. I bet they were soon regretting it after his display in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final between Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

As well as pronouncing Andres Iniesta's surname as Ian-esta, and Thomas Muller's as Moolah, he used the basketball term "full-court press" to describe Bayern's pressing strategy. Also, any announcer who makes Ian Wright sound like the voice of reason in the commentary box is doomed from the outset.

It gets worse, though. Johnson constantly refers to Manchester United as Man U, like they're a college football team, and renames the PL as the "British Premiere League". And he doesn't just get players' names wrong (Sag-na, anyone?), he even gets their nationalities mixed up! Apparently, Eden Hazard is French and Ryan Giggs is one of England's greatest ever players.

During the FA Cup Final, then, one must surely have feared Johnson saying that Ben Watson was the brother of actress Emma Watson, or that the Manchester City and Wigan managers were related because they shared a forename and the first two letters of their surname. Who knows, he might even have called the winners Wigan Warriors!

To be fair, Gus Johnson has only been commentating on football matches for three months, but after making so many schoolboy errors, he should now stick to what he actually knows, and that's basketball. Otherwise, American soccer fans might have to put up with even more of Gus's pearls of wisdom, and he might come out with these 'gems':

On Sir Alex Ferguson: "Sir Alex Fergus-SON takes charge of his last ever matchup as Man U head coach, a position he has held since soccer was invented by Rupert Murdoch in 1992."
On Southampton vs Stoke City: "Free kick Southampton! UNBELIEVABLE! THIS IS THE MOST EXCITING SOCCER MATCH THAT HAS EVER BEEN PLAYED ON THIS PLANET! No, scuse me, it's a corner to Stoke."
On the UEFA Champions League Final: "It's the final showdown for the European Soccer Series - Bo-russia Dortmund v Bay-earn Munich, two titans of the German Bund-sligger clash at Wembley Arena, London!"

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