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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Macca’s Own Goals Overshadowed By Keys and Gray

Written by on January 25, 2011 | 20 Comments »
Posted in General

It was not in the Keys and Gray class but Steve McManaman still managed to complete a hat trick of broadcasting own goals in the first twenty minutes of the match between Wolves and Liverpool.

His opener was a rasping drive when he noted that Glen Johnson had changed his hairstyle and had got rid of the dreadlocks. McManaman went on to explain that he interpreted it as a sign that Johnson was going to take things more seriously.

Then he moved on to drill home his second when he suggested that the referee’s assistant was trying to make an impression when flagging for a foul throw. A bit officious was female official Sian Massey apparently.

He rolled in his third when he suggested that a lot less than 38 points would be required to avoid relegation this season because the teams at the bottom had fewer points than last season.

Let’s take them one at a time. To be pedantic there is a difference between cornrows and dreadlocks. But that was not the bothersome part of the comment.

I wonder if McManaman has ever suggested that the hairstyles adopted by David Beckham were indicators of how seriously Becks was approaching a game.

And of course we have to consider the hypocrisy of McManaman calling out anyone on the basis of lifestyle and fashion. As a founding member of the “Spice Boys” McManaman and his underachieving Liverpool teammates provided a new definition for tacky that was epitomized by the infamous cream suits at the 1996 FA Cup Final.

In belittling referee’s assistant Sian Massey McManaman reinforced the notion that he is being overpaid if he receives a pay check. Anyone with eyesight could see clearly that the throw was taken incorrectly and also that the decision was made by the Martin Atkinson rather his assistant.

Then there was the fewer than 38 points will be needed to avoid relegation this season capper. McManaman explained that in his world the teams at the top have fewer points (same as in the real world) but the teams at the bottom have fewer points as well (not the real world).

McManaman didn’t just lip the rim on that one he managed to putt it into the bunker. At the comparable stage this season every team from 12th to 20th has more points than the teams occupying these positions last season.

It is something most fans could tell you on an intuitive level without looking at the league tables – how come “Macca” is so out of touch?

But there again he told us later on that he was a big fan of the Bundesliga this season. Perhaps that is where he is spending his time rather than on the most basic of details relating to Premier League.

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20 responses to “Macca’s Own Goals Overshadowed By Keys and Gray”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    I’m with you all the way.

    There is a reason why ex pros like McManaman, Barton and Hudson work in countries like the USA where most of the viewers are clueless about the game.

    PS Regardless of Andy Gray’s comments, he is still an intelligent student of the game and provides good analysis.

  2. According to the latest report Andy Gray and Sky are no more, he and his tactics board have been told to pack up and leave. Let’s see who is desperate enough to hire Andy Gray now.

  3. Soccerlogical says:

    Bobbo – Would you agree that Gray provides good game analysis and “interesting” commentary? I think he did a great job for FSC during the WC and even had Barton shutting his big mouth and bragging less.

    I’d love to see him on ESPN, FSC or GolTV.

  4. Didn’t see him during the World Cup – we don’t get FSC in Canada. I spent my time watching the games and prepping for the Fox Soccer Report.

    Colour commentators – I would say my two favourites are Stewart Robson and Paul Walsh. Robson especially makes me think and watch the game with a keener eye.

  5. Peter Salis says:

    That’s pretty shameful on Macca’s part. When privileged enough to first play the game, then be allowed to commentate on it, you would think he would take it more seriously.

    I’m not sad at all to see Gray go, I’m tired of him from the Fifa games franchise already!

    I gotta say Ray Hudson is my favourite colour commentator; because you can tell he really loves the game.

  6. Theo van Nasregas says:

    I believe a happy Robbie Burns’ Day is due to you Bobby and all Scots. If I’ve got the day wrong, my apologies, and I’ll blame my phone.

    He may not provide fantastic analysis but I find Macca to be humourous and I always get a few good chuckles when he’s on. I find his partner Ian Darke to offer even less than Macca though to be fair. Mr. Darke offers little more than tired cliches.

  7. […] commentary, there are many, many others. The ever-excellent Bobby McMahon isn’t one but he points out ESPN Steve McManaman managed to distinguish himself as both an idiot and a hypocrite in […]

  8. Soccerlogical says:

    Peter – I was talking more about one’s insight and analysis, not a commentator’s media exposure.

    Ray Hudson may love the game but between all his orgasmic howling for anything Barca and Madrid, his failed predictions of calling a goal at the end of every passing sequence and his stammering which borders on senility…. the buffoonery and pretentious poeticism is not my cup o’ tea.

  9. Eaglesoar says:

    Whatever happened to Paddy Agnew? One of the best colour commentators ever …albeit in serie A.

  10. Ursusarctos says:

    Glen Johnson is a new dad, and therefore highly sleep-deprived. That’s all anyone needs to know about hairstyles.

    And the Spice Boys were the very model of on-field seriousness – Robbie Fowler, for example, was a groundskeeper’s best friend, working hard during stoppages in play to tidy up messy chalk lines on the pitch.

  11. Eaglesoar – Paddy (who brother lives in Winnipeg according to his Forza Italia book) still writes for World Soccer. I for one miss him on Serie A broadcasts.

    His other job was as a a Vatican newspaper correspondent.

  12. Theo van Nasregas says:

    Did anyone catch Efan Ekoku’s continued fine work today doing the Blackpool v Man Utd game? He didn’t think the home side deserved a penalty when he himself called Rafael’s challenge a good bodycheck. I think he meant to say a shoulder to shoulder challenge. Nevertheless, that fine challenge would have made rugby and NFL players proud. The only thing Rafael forgot to do was to tuck his chin and wrap his arms around the attacker. Stone cold penalty seven days a week and twice on Sunday. Man Utd continue to get referee favouritism. And away from home. Remember Gary Neville this year (twice)? Especially the one at West Brom. The shambolics continue.

  13. Rossoneri Red Devil says:

    I’ve watched it 5 times. That’s not a penalty. With little control of the ball, he shoulder charged Rafael looking for the penalty.
    Your point about McManaman and Darke however, was spot on. I too find Macca’s personality entertaining, even though he is often guilty of rediculous misinformation. My dislike for the master of rhetorical questions -Ian Darke- began this summer during ESPN’s World Cup coverage when he repeatedly slaughtered the pronunciation of the names of superstar non-British players.

    Ironically, I was thinking about how much I enjoy listening to Efan Ekoku while watching today’s broadcast, before I had even read Bobby’s latest article. While I agree with Bobby about the quality of Robson and Walsh, Ekoku is quickly becoming one of my favorites. He had also been working for ESPN rotating games with McManaman at the beginning of the season, and then all of a sudden it was Ian Darke and “Macca” every week.

  14. Rossoneri Red Devil says:

    and speaking of mispronunciation, somebody at FSR studios needs to let St. Louis know that the Italian word for soccer, Calcio, is pronounced cal-CHio, not cal-SEE-o. In Italian, when a C is followed by an I or E, it is pronounced with a “CH” sound.

  15. Theo van Nasregas says:


    The Blackpool lad had control of the ball, knocked it past Rafael, who initiated contact, and totally wiped his opponent out, in the box … penalty. That’s not footy, that’s rugby. Watch it again.

  16. Theo van Nasregas says:

    I hope political correctness is not going to spread across football unabated. If a commentator is rubbish then fire him on that basis. If he misspeaks or is sexist or whatever ‘ist there is, let’s not fire him on that basis alone. Discipline him or fine him. But let’s not fire on that basis alone.

  17. John Bladen says:


    Macca & Darke spent a considerable amount of time ‘laying the groundwork” to blame Massey should she have missed a call. Must be that famous Mcmanaman ‘anticipation’ at work… While it isn’t in the Keys/Gray mould, I still found it disappointing.

    Massey did a very credible job, IMO. She should not be held to either a higher or lower standard than any other match official. When commentators single out officials for reasons other than their competence, something is very wrong.

    As Tony Dungy once famously said when asked if he thought making it to the Superbowl (as a black coach) was a sign of progress’;

    “It will be a sign of progress when you guys don’t feel the need to point out that I’m a black coach in the superbowl”.

    Amen, Tony.

    I’ve only seen the one game Massey ran the lines in (so far as I know), so I can’t comment on whether she is or isn’t EPL calibre. All I will say is that I saw nothing in the LFC-Wolves match to suggest she can’t do the job properly (unlike some commentators, for example).

  18. Byo says:

    Macca thinks we all have short memory- we all forgot about his playing days! I for one am tired of his Liverpool bias.
    Ekoku seem to hold Ferguson and ManU in awe. He has never seen a foul in any game, as the defender always “got the ball”.

  19. Eaglesoar says:

    Thanks Bobby. By the way I always enjoy your intelligent analysis of the game. Keep up the good work, and thanks for the contributions to this site!

  20. Theo van Nasregas says:

    Has anyone noticed how muted Ray Hudson is when doing a Coppa Italia match in relation to when he does a Barça match? I can’t blame him either. Yesterday, two QF matches end 0-0 and go to penalties. Today, Juve 0-1 Roma @ 84′. The Serie A offers a good product for insomniacs as its sedative qualities are superlative and sublime. But when old Ray does a Barça match it’s like a kid in a candy store. I can’t blame him there either though as this Catalan team is something extra special.

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