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The Return of Wynalda

Eric Wynalda, the Hall of Fame striker and very outspoken commentator, is returning to full-time TV as co-host of Fox Soccer Channel's "Fox Football Fone-In", which makes its season debut Aug. 10. Wynalda, who will join Nick Webster, replaces Steven Cohen, who sparked controversy with his comments about Liverpool supporters.

"Eric's experiences will bring a fresh outlook to the show, invigorating the dialogue with our most passionate viewers," a Fox executive said.

Said Wynalda: "If there's one thing I've hung my hat on throughout my broadcasting career, it's that I refuse to bite my tongue. Viewers can expect Nick and me to always tell it like it is, even if that means disagreeing with each other -- and our callers!"

Okay, Insider loyalists, will you watch?

By Steve Goff  |  July 29, 2009; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  TV  
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Comments

No. And I cant believe someone can get in trouble for saying something in that show. If a tree falls in the forest...

Posted by: juanma_carr | July 29, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

is Jim Rome calling in?

Posted by: Section117 | July 29, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I love Wynalda and his honesty...but I read enough about soccer, and watch enough games. I don't need to hear dorks like the guy in KC calling up to argue about it.

Posted by: Reignking | July 29, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm not really up on the whole Cohen controversy. All I can say is I have tried to watch FFFI a number of times, and always found it incredibly boring, and tuerned it off after 10 minutes or so. I like Wynalda but I doubt if he is going to make the show any more interesting.

Posted by: Ron16 | July 29, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

No. I loved the show when it was Cohen and Geber in Geber's "flat" analyzing and showing clips with one or two calls per show. Once it became a two-hour phone-in, well, what's the point?

The thing is when there is a troll here, or someone whose opinion you know you don't rate, you can skip over it. But on TV you can't skip through the dross.

But what did Cohen say?

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | July 29, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

never watched before, with maybe the exception of 5 minutes to check it out once (and was bored), and won't watch with Wynalda.

Posted by: nairbsod | July 29, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Sa-weeeeet! I thought Eric's dismissal from ESPN was a joke to begin with, so I'm glad to see that he's back to broadcasting. I appreciated his cantor and insight into the game.

I also agree with juanma_carr, this is supposed to be a free country. If you don't like what someone says, change the channel. While I thought Steve Cohen's comments were thoughtless and crass, that's what he's paid to do. His perspective into the game was often from a side I never considered which was great. And his passion for the game was undeniable.

Goff - Is there any word on what Steve Cohen is doing now? Thanks for the 411 Goff!

Posted by: nytshade71 | July 29, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

What exactly did Steven say?

Anyway, FFF needed to do something. The production was amatuerish beyond belief and Nick and Steven had absolutely no chemistry. Seeing their awkward segways into the next topic was often painful to watch. Actually, now taht I think about it, Steven was the problem most of the time. Wynalda should be a step up. I'll check it out from time to time.

Posted by: AtlantaMLS | July 29, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm setting the over/under on Wynalda losing his mind on a caller at Halloween.

Posted by: beach3 | July 29, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

@nytshade71 If there's true karmic balance in the universe, right now Steve Cohen is strapped down at a tattoo parlor while a tattoo artists gives him a large "JUSTICE FOR THE 96" tattoo across his torso.

Posted by: EdTheRed | July 29, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I won't watch, but I will look forward to hearing some quotables bubble out into the press/blogs. His quotes in Grant Wahl's books are some of the best. He can be a clown, but he can also cut to the quick in a way that US-based footie analysis can benefit from.

Posted by: Logan_Circle | July 29, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm very happy about this. I watch the show or at least DVR it every week, and I thoroughly enjoyed when Wynalda was a guest-host. He definitely is not afraid to speak his mind, and I hope that having him there will help boost MLS's presence/respect on the show - Cohen's tendency to poo-poo the league really gets on my nerves.

To answer the question about what Cohen said, he was making an argument, very insistantly and for a long period of time, that the Hillsborough Disaster was the fault of Liverpool fans, or that they at least shared some blame and should be held accountable for it. This is in contrast to the results of the Taylor Report, the official investigation of the incident, and it's a huge sore spot for Liverpool supporters, enough so that they organized a boycott of World Soccer Daily's advertising partners and the like. That's my understand of it in a nutshell. I'm not a Liverpool supporter and don't know all the history, though.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | July 29, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

WHO'S REPLACING BRETOS!?!?!

Good pick-up for FSC - but they really are going to need to plow something more into their operation or the Champions League will look bush league.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 29, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Posted by: joedoc1 | July 29, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm setting the over/under on Wynalda losing his mind on a caller at Halloween.

Posted by: beach3 | July 29, 2009 1:32 PM |
----------------------------------------------
Pay the man, Shirley.

I suppose it's great that FSC is adding someone with more substantial qualification to talk about soccer than possessing an English accent.

Will I watch? Good Lord, I hope I have better things to do with my time....

Posted by: fischy | July 29, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@VirginiaBlueBlood - You needed FSC's poor production to make CCL look bush league? Did the MLS reserve squads, quarter full stadiums, hilarious participating clubs, and hilarious refereeing not tip you off?

Posted by: the_slammer | July 29, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

WHO'S REPLACING BRETOS!?!?!

Good pick-up for FSC - but they really are going to need to plow something more into their operation or the Champions League will look bush league.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 29, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse
---------------------------------------

They are merely piggy-backing in the English commentary done for the international feed instead of using their own people.

Posted by: beach3 | July 29, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it's great to see Wynalda joining the FSC fold. I hope this means he might move into their broadcast booth for some games. Perhaps, we can also hope that they find someone better than Bretos to do play-by-play.

Posted by: fischy | July 29, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

EEEEEYyyyyeeeeaasssss!

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 29, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm with BlackAndRedRedDevil that the show was best with Cohen and Geber. I can't stand Webster... and Wynalda? His one appearance on the show was enough. He has an amazing ability to talk a lot and not say anything.

"Is there any word on what Steve Cohen is doing now?"
He hosts a radio show, World Soccer Daily.

VercengetorixII had it right with what Cohen was saying.

Posted by: StewartDC8 | July 29, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@the_slammer,

Check my tirade from the pre/in/post game thread last night. The CCL is a joke right now. CONCACAF doesn't have the requisite infrastructure to really make this thing a coherent presentation. MLS doesn't have the purse strings to really compete.

I was referring to the UEFA version. The one that I have been denied hearing Derek Rae call.

Think about this pre-game scenario - Christopher Sullivan breaking down BATE vs Kobenhavn and slurring all those consonants together while Bretos attempts to figure out which guy is next coming to MLS for him to slurp during interviews.

I know the match commentators are on the world-feed for Fox's production - but FSC - like MLS - not growing while they've got the chance.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 29, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

well, at least when they talk about MLS someone will actually know a tab bit more than the hosts usually do (I think).

Posted by: FatSickBoot | July 29, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I like Steven Cohen. I, for one, will miss him. I liked how he tried to get "Greta Garbo" Beckham on the show. It must have worked because Beckham is calling people out of the stands now just to give them his perspective of American football. Bad for FSC. Eric is knowledgeable but very abrasive. I will watch to see one night.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | July 29, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

@BlackandRedRedDevil,

Steven Cohen stated his opinion and his feelings on Liverpool and Hillsborough. Needless to say, the LFC supporters lost their minds and instead of choosing not to listen, sought out to harm Steven financially and physically. Financially, they succeeded.

Also, agree with yon on Geber. He was a great personality for the game in this country, however, the WSOP is a little more lucrative to him at this point.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 29, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I find it funny they got ride of Cohen. I still think he was right that Liverpool supporters should share the blame. It is well known that certain Liverpool fans without tickets take pride in sneaking into games. (Remember the UCL final in Istanbul in which fans with tickets were turned away because too many non-ticket holders had sneaked in.) Oh well. I think Cohen really got in trouble because on his Sirus satellite radio show he would bad mouth the MLS and then come on FFFI and talk sweetly about the MLS.

Overall I agree with JoeDoc and this is a zzzzzzzzzzzz. FFFI is one of the worst shows on television. Second maybe to "what not to wear." I have tried to watch FFFI but always change the channel within 5 minutes.

Posted by: grubbsbl | July 29, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Hmm... nah, I probably won't watch. But I wouldn't watch no matter who was on. I'd rather watch actual soccer games than watch people talking about soccer.

Posted by: Danno1313 | July 29, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to go with a lower case, "no."

Posted by: sitruc | July 29, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

If Wynalda has an answer to DCU's international troubles, then maybe I'll watch.

Posted by: blackandred777 | July 29, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Hmm... nah, I probably won't watch. But I wouldn't watch no matter who was on. I'd rather watch actual soccer games than watch people talking about soccer.

Posted by: Danno1313 | July 29, 2009 2:03 PM

------------------------------------

Couldn't have said it better myself. Every time I flip past this show, my first thought is "Does this really get better ratings than replaying a game?"

Posted by: Kenobi | July 29, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Waldo's one appearance on the show illustrated his total lack of world soccer knowledge. He certainly knows the big names and clubs, but that's about it. That said, I have a soft spot for him after his comments about Jim Rome.

Will I watch? If there's nothing else on.

Posted by: Hoost | July 29, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Good for Waldo - still won't watch. But this moves it over the Flappy Headed Canuck Report on my list of worst FSC shows. Sorry (sooh-ree), Flappy Headed Canuck Report, you are now in last place.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 29, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The Return of Wynalda

(Sung to "The Pina Colada Song" or whatever it's called...)

"If you like Eric Wynalda
And don't think he's a pain
Then you're not thinking clearly
Yes, I think you're insane

If you like watching soccer at midnight
When you should be in bed
Then just please get a job, son
And start making some bread..."

Posted by: joedoc1 | July 29, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

yeay. i've missed his commentary. glad to see him back.

Posted by: jtk7 | July 29, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

as a LFC supporter, I'm happy he is gone.

What he said was just flat out distasteful and wrong.


About time.

Posted by: mbhowa | July 29, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

It's nice, for once, to see a media organization (Fox of all people) get rid of an on air personality when they say something disrespectful, distasteful and knowingly without one shred of fact just to be "controversial". Too bad their news division does not do the same. Hope the door hit him in the a@@ on the way out.

Posted by: virtueandvice | July 29, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh well. I think Cohen really got in trouble because on his Sirus satellite radio show he would bad mouth the MLS and then come on FFFI and talk sweetly about the MLS.

Posted by: grubbsbl | July 29, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

---------------------------------------------

I have never heard his radio show, but if his performance on FFF was talking sweetly about the league, I'd hate to hear what he would say as a criticism. He would alternate between angry he had to stoop so low and talk about the league and bored that such an inferior product was wasting his time.

During an interview with Joe Cannon, I honestly thought he was just going to lay his head down on the desk and take a nap he cared so little.

Posted by: beach3 | July 29, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The Fone-In guys, from my numerous attempts to watch their show, don't really understand the game at all. As fischy said, their primary qualification appears to be an accent. When your analysis consists of simply dividing people into the categories of "brilliant" or "rubbish", you are not helping people learn more about the sport.

Wynalda will hopefully be an improvement, but I won't know because I'll be avoiding the show like the plague, as usual.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | July 29, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

FFFI would be good if Bobby McMahon was one of the hosts - you could put him with anybody and it would be good.

Webster is woefully boring and I doubt Wynalda can add much. I've tried for years to watch it but it just doesn't hold my attention long enough.

Posted by: dclfc99 | July 29, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The show was boring and pointless before and will be boring, pointless and annoying now. Wynalda is to soocer broadcasting as Bill Walton was to basketball. Hyperbole for hyperbole's sake, overanalyzing every touch of the ball as if it was absolute proof of some long term trend and then saying nearly the opposite five minutes later...

Posted by: sportsparenttoo | July 29, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

exactly what sportsparenttoo just said

Posted by: Pedalada | July 29, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Cohen is one of those sad people who just can't get beyond their own immaturity.

This story isn’t over either. His company (Soccer Weekly, Inc.) is in serious trouble, and was actually suspended by the Chamber of Commerce here in California.

Contrary to popular belief, Cohen’s company is not contracted to Sirius-XM. Instead they buy the time. This provides them the freedom to sell inventory, and broadcast the show through other portals that are not owned by Sirius-XM. However, it also means they have to make a payment to stay on the air. Hence, it is critical to their business plan and operating costs that they sell the inventory.

WSD has lost all their blue-chip advertisers, and have been relegated to niche, low-budget partners. Cohen even went so far as to beg for money on the show.

His claim that the boycott of his company is “un-American” is total nonsense. Advertiser boycotts happen all the time in every medium in this country. Ask Goff how many times the Washington Post has been “boycotted.” Further discrediting Cohen, is the fact that Chelsea FC actually released a public statement disavowing him as a supporter. That is extraordinary that they would actually take the time.

Regardless of what you think of Cohen, it is a good lesson in human behavior. He absolutely earned this. A rational person would have learned the boundaries after the first time he got in trouble back in 2006. Instead, Cohen just can’t get beyond it.

He’s one of those people who burns every bridge he walks over. It’s sad, really.

Posted by: mediaman1976 | July 29, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

The production value of this show is 0. Very poorly produced, no creativity. Wynalda will not add anything. Being a former soccer player does not make you a good TV personality. I could care less if Wynalda is back or not, but let me say that he is much, much better than Harkes or Lalas. Regarding Cohen I still listen to the podcast of his radio show (World Soccer Daily). The show is good enough to listen in the car or while you jog.

Posted by: DiegoMaradona | July 29, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I wish Steve Cohen the best. I'll bet many of you don't know that he is a US Army veteran.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 29, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Most people do know he is a veteran - in fact, that's how he got his citizenship.

It still doesn't make up for his lack of judgment. Forget the Hillsborough comments, and just look at the wake of them...

1) During an apology he was asked to submit by his advertisers, he compares Liverpool supporters to the Taliban.

2) He issues an ascertion that he is glad to see the advertisers leave -- only to beg for money on the air a few days later.

3) He berates the advertisers that left him on the air. How do you think potential advertisers are going to react to that? I can't even begin to explain how stupid that is. Guess what? One of those former advertisers is now suing him.

4) He claims he submitted anti-Semitic emails to the FBI. Only problem is that the FBI doesn't handle those cases - local law enforcement does (LAPD). Maybe he did get some vile emails, but lying about what you did with them doesn't add to your credibility.

Cohen is immature at best, and just might be plain stupid. It will be interesting to see if he can stay on the air, or be reduced to a podcast-only broadcast.

Posted by: mediaman1976 | July 29, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I've tried to watch FFFI a few teams, but found if dull, dull, dull. I will give the Wynalda version a try, but will probably end up DVRing the show and just fast forwarding to the parts where they talk about MLS and the USMNT. I already get all the EPL coverage I want.

Posted by: popoki08 | July 29, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Great show - and Wynalda will make it even more entertaining.

Best Wynalda moment ever: his meltdown on ESPN following the USMNT loss to Ghana in '06. He communicated what ever fan was feeling but should never be shown on national TV.

Posted by: erichfeige | July 29, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse


Cohen screwed himself into a corner. His remarks about Hillsborough were extremely wrong but then he followed this up by saying The Hillsborough Justice Group (the organization representing the families of the 96 that died) were corrupt.
After that he went on to make numerous below the belt/beyond the pale remarks about Liverpool fans and boasted of calling them "murderers, murderers" at a bar.
I am no fan of Liverpool (Im actually a long suffering Leeds Utd fan - UK expat) and I would like to point out that it was more than just Liverpool fans who were disgusted at his comments. There were kids that died that day, many of us will never forget it while on the other hand Cohen mocked those unfortunates that died.
I for one am delighted he is gone, well done Fox Sports.

Posted by: IceMountain | July 29, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Wynalda will improve the show. It's not that Steve Cohen or Nick Webster were so bad, but they are the same. They are similar in age and their soccer "memories" are similar. I guess if you are a 45 year old ex-pat it is great to hear them talk about the old days.

Wynalda will balance out Webster with experience from the USMNT and MLS that Webster has to fake. It will be a more well rounded show.

I DVR FFF so that I can fast forward thorugh the parts I don't like. I can never commit to the full 2 hours, but they usually have something intersting on there with a studio guest or their "Man in Milan"

Posted by: Golden_Child | July 30, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Welcome Waldo, this a welcome move.

Now FSC needs to show more shrewd judgement and run Bretos out of the booth, at the point of something sharp if necessary. Give him the MLS coverage if they must, but his Gold Cup babble was intolerable. Bretos must GO.

Posted by: gooner71 | July 30, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"What exactly did Steven say?"

Check out
http://www.lfcny.org/
and
http://boycottstevencohen.webs.com/

Posted by: hkueee | July 30, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"Regardless of what you think of Cohen, it is a good lesson in human behavior."

Yes, it was a lesson in the stupidity and irrationality and emotionalism displayed by human beings when they assemble as angry mobs. I couldn't care less about Cohen one way or the other, but this whole anti-Cohen display has been low and sickening.

People are idiots, especially when they get together in groups.

Posted by: ChristopherMc | July 31, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I gotta say that the Liverpool supporters may be the biggest tools in history. Twenty years later and they are still trying to break a guy whos only crime was to suggest that Liverpool supporters may have been partly responsible. Guess what? They were in fact responsible. My Late Grandfather and Uncle were there that day and confirm that they were responsible. They told me that there were way too many LFC fans trying to push their way in that day. They also admit that the police were partly responsible in sending the fans to that particular area (Pen.) Cohen mentioned some of his feelings and you idiots go nuts. Why do you go nuts? Because you know the truth and are hiding from it. Don't you have anything better to do? I am glad Hicks and Gillete got the loan. I hope they gut your team and you fall out of the CL. I actually think it is going to happen. "It's up for grabs now!"

Posted by: dmharn | August 1, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

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