Martin Tyler is an English “football” commentator and was one of two ABC announcers during this afternoon’s England-USA World Cup game. After the American goal that tied things up, Tyler repeatedly—and condescendingly—cried foul.
Right away, Tyler declared the goal a “howler,” made a bunch of random (and, ultimately, nonsensical) “Green” references, called it “one of the softest goals you’ll ever see at this level of football,” and referred to American scorer Clint Dempsey as “The Lucky Man.”
Even minutes after the goal, Tyler still wouldn’t shut up about it. First, he said that Green had made such a mistake that it would stop him from sleeping, perhaps for the rest of his life. Then, we got a shot of the best David Beckham stank face EVER. Then, Tyler once again called the goal “a lucky break.” And finally, he said, “It’s not one that you see regularly. If you’re watching a game like this for the first time—and maybe some of you are—that just doesn’t happen. That really doesn’t happen in schoolboy play, because it’s tough on schoolboy goalkeepers to say that they would make a mistake like that,” which basically suggested that the Americans were not only lucky, but probably never watched a “football” match before in the first place.
Really, anyone who sees this as evidence of pro-English bias from the announcer’s booth has spent far too much time in the blogosphere parsing political bullshit.
Anyone who watches regular European club football, especially in the English Premier League, will often hear the term “howler” used to describe an embarrassing beginner’s-like mistake. There’s nothing odd or condescending about that at all.
There’s nothing even remotely controversial about calling the goal “lucky”. It was lucky. Again, if you actually watch more than a handful of matches every four years, you’ll be able to sit through literally thousands of them without ever seeing a goalkeeper fumble an easy ground ball into his own net. I played the game all through my childhood into my late teens, and once I got beyond the Saturday-morning-little-kids kind of leagues, I can’t say I ever recall seeing a goalkeeper fuck up that badly. Tyler’s comments have nothing to do with disparaging the US players; they were an expression of the same genuine shock that all fans who know anything at all about the game felt upon seeing such a thunderfuckingly stunning mistake made by someone who is supposed to be one of the two or three best players at his position in his entire nation. It was, indeed, a big fucking deal. And should it turn out to negatively impact England’s chances to advance in the tournament, I’d recommend putting Green on suicide watch or in protective custody; suggesting he’s going to be haunted by this through sleepless nights for a long time to come is a mundane truism. How would you feel about massively fucking up at your job in front of an audience of billions? Then again, Cherette is a fucking moron writing at a site for fucking morons, so it’s not likely anyone would notice.
This game was televised on ABC. Network TV, not cable. Saturday afternoon. I’m no expert, but I’d say there was a pretty good chance that a large portion of the audience was made up of people who probably would never bother to seek out a soccer game to watch, but decided, upon having it presented to them on a platter, to tune in because of all the hype or novelty surrounding the Cup, or because hey, it’s our boys playing, where’s my foam finger, YOO-ESS-AY, YOO-ESS-AY. Sorry, but again, I don’t see what’s so controversial about taking a moment to point out to all the newcomers that they just saw something that they might never see again in decades.
Besides, I would much rather listen to British announcers over our own Fox Soccer Channel personalities. Christ, how many times can someone stand to listen to them endlessly try to reassure each other and the audience that the US is respected and taken seriously by the world’s footballing powers? The transparent inferiority complex is grating as hell. Hey, guys, you know what will earn the US respect? Consistently winning important games against the big boys. If this team is true at all to past form, they’ll end up tying or losing to Algeria or Slovenia after having just fought England to a draw.