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The Lombardo Trophy: Ode to Ray Hudson, soccer's best voice

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APRIL 04, 2013

It has long been established that everything sounds better with a British accent. An American might say he handwashes all of his sweater vests, but he will never tell the world about it with the suavity of, say, Daniel Craig.

The same goes for American broadcasters. They may walk the walk, but they will never talk the talk. Joe Buck somehow has a following, and the lovers of March Madness claim the supremacy of Gus Johnson, with his passionate bellowings about the great buzzer beaters of the tourney. But neither of these men are fit to hold a microphone for the greatest announcer of them all, the inimitable, bombastic Ray Hudson.

Ray Hudson — man, myth, legend — was born in Gateshead, England, and played for Newcastle United. He has been calling soccer games for almost a decade now. In his nine years in the booth, he has developed a talent for equaling even the most beautiful of the beautiful game’s moments with his grandiose descriptions. This might sound like a bad thing — Shouldn’t a commentator should enhance a game, not overshadow it? — but trust me: Ray Hudson only makes your viewing experience more enjoyable.

BeIN Sport is Ray’s current home, where he gets to call each league game played by his favorite team to watch, Barcelona. (He once declared of the Blaugrana, “If there was no Barcelona, why would you get out of bed in the morning?) He also gets to spend his days ogling Lionel Messi, the runaway best player in the world and Hudson’s undisputed man crush. (Ray on Messi’s play: “He could make an onion cry,” and “They should name a constellation in the heavens after Lionel Messi.”)

Ray drops a dozen pearls every ninety minutes. They range from hilarious to bizarrely hilarious to uncut genius and have inspired such scrutiny and curiosity that one soccer radio show has a recurring segment called, “What Were You Thinking, Ray Hudson?

Hilarious: “Victor again does his impersonation of the Exxon and spills it.”

Bizarrely hilarious: “Real Madrid’s defense stretched out like spandex on Miami beach and Casillas is left naked!

Uncut genius: “He’s braver than a matador in high heels and a pink tutu!

He’s so great that there’s a Twitter feed that live tweets his games and a tumblr devoted to his poetry.

For those depressed by the dour Buck calling your baseball games, switch over to the excitable and occasionally incoherent Hudson, who sometimes sounds like he downed a dozen Red Bulls before the game. After one particularly loud yelp in 2011, he apologized to his audience, saying, “Excuse me for being excited people, but we’ve just witnessed a goal that would wake up a catatonic!

Ray is something of a renaissance man, equating particularly fine plays with the sculptures of Bernini and breaking down the mass-energy equivalence for football fans — “E equals mc squared, and M stands for Messi!

Most importantly, Ray is a man of sports, and sports alone. The only thing he hates more than the celebrity shots TV cameras take during games is when his co-commentator Phil Schoen starts talking about the celebrities himself. Once, Phil dared to bring up Tom Cruise during a Real Madrid game, prompting an epic, populist outburst from Ray: “Will you stop talking about tennis players and stupid Hollywood actors Phil! It’s the gladiators out there, man! Not tennis players. Tom Cruise… If he smelled a soccer jockstrap he’d faint dead away.

Fox Soccer, please hire him to do the World Cup.

Contact Jordan Bach-Lombardo at 


APRIL 04, 2013

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