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Being Ray Hudson

Ray Hudson sees soccer as “a wild, multilayered legend with brave lads” and “paleface assassins,” writes Richard Sandomir in The New York Times (12/13/13). That’s not all he sees: “He delights in passes that are ‘as soft as a lover’s kiss’ and in shots that curve like ‘a Bernini sculpture’.” Ray provides the color commentary for beIN Sport, and, “in the thick, Geordie accent of his native Newcastle, England,” offers up “a rainbow of words.” He once said that Gareth Bale of Real Madrid could “get his angles down better than Archimedes, isosceles – any of those Greek lads.”

A former professional soccer player himself, Ray admits he’s “over the top and bombastic,” but “it’s O.K. It’s what a guy at a football match feels.” His “flowery, clever, comically accurate” banter has earned him “a cult following among soccer fans … Websites collect his best phrases, a Twitter account transcribes his commentary in real time and video clips perpetuate his outlandish style in a growing visual archive … His sentences – if diagrammed – would resemble etymological helixes, with thoughts on soccer twisted with strands of pop culture, literature, math and science.”

Oddly, Ray doesn’t actually go to any games – he broadcasts from a small studio in Florida, watching the action on a video monitor. This enables him to focus purely on the game, without distraction, which he says “helps him forge an intimate connection with viewers.” He has declined offers from bigger networks. “They’re too Snow White for me,” he says. “They love that solid image and that refined style.” He wants to be free to “drop references to Barbra Streisand’s nose and Cindy Crawford’s mole.” “It’s not just a game for me,” he says. “It fills my life.”