Ray Wilkins was a great player for a number of clubs in England, Scotland and Italy. By all accounts he is a very good coach too, despite what Roman Abramovich might think. He is also an insightful television analyst as he has demonstrated throughout Fox Soccer’s coverage of the UEFA Champions League. He is also annoying when covering English teams. During the Real Madrid v Tottenham quarter-final tie he kept referring to Spurs as “we” and “us.” This despite the fact he has no connections to Spurs. He never played for the club and is not a fan. Wilkins is still a vast improvement on Tommy Smyth, but he should refrain from the jingoistic commentary.
During last Saturday’s coverage of the West Ham United-Manchester United game ESPN made us endure the annoying Julie Foudy. Ian Darke and Steve McManaman were forced into discussing this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany with the one time US star. Darke and McManaman looked bemused as to why they were discussing the US Women’s National Team instead of United’s comeback and Wayne Rooney’s tremendous hat-trick. I am sure that most viewers shared the commentators’ sentiments. American television loves cross promotion, but surely ESPN could have found a better time to involve Foudy.
Jay Leno told a predictably clichéd joke on his late night show earlier this week. The joke centered on a deceased Colombian soccer fan. His coffin was passed down to the field at a game involving his beloved Cucuta Deportivo. The laugh line, to paraphrase the rarely funny Leno, was that the fan died watching the game. Leno forgot to add that he died while snorting cocaine supplied by the Cali Cartel.
Check out Morning Joe, a daily news program on MSNBC hosted by one time United States Congressman, Joe Scarborough. He uses his show to speak positively about soccer in general and his love of Liverpool in particular. Scarborough and ESPN’s Roger Bennett have a segment, Futbol Frenzy that runs every Monday. The two review the weekend’s English Premier League games and involve the studio guests, politicians, musicians, business leaders, etc in the discussion. The feature is a good one and shows how far soccer has come in the mainstream media.
Did you notice the realignment of the earth last Monday night? According to many in Connecticut’s media, the state became the center of the sporting world when the University of Connecticut won the NCAA Division I basketball championship in Houston, Texas. It is no such thing. There are a number of sporting events that garner the world’s attention. The NCAA basketball tournament is not one of them. Despite what the sports editors at the Hartford Courant may believe, the world was not watching UConn and could care less whether they won a national title. The eyes of the sporting world were on more important issues such as Spurs capitulation in Madrid, Fernando Torres missing a number of sitters in London, Justin Bieber wearing a Barcelona shirt and Lionel Messi opening a Facebook account.