1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Please help with critiquing my article from the summer re: World Cup/England

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by irnsdn, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. irnsdn

    irnsdn New Member

    Hi -

    Some of you may remember me from August as the 18-year-old who was stupid enough not to inquire about compensation until after he submitted the article. I've learned my lesson, but I thought it would be worth asking for help with the article. (This has already been published in a Newcastle United soccer fan magazine back in August.)

    Personally, I think I over-use quotes, although the interviewee had some pretty interesting remarks. My goal (like every other non-professional on this board) is to become a sports writer one day, so here it is. Name of publication and my name have been omitted. Any feedback is appreciated!

    Ray Hudson and the “nauseating” English football

    It is no secret around the world that England disappointed in the 2010 World Cup, after entering with such high expectations and exiting after a dismal display.

    Former 1970s Newcastle United midfielder, Ray Hudson, who left the team after four years to gain experience in the NASL (National American Soccer League), then coached at D.C. United, a MLS team in the United States, now commentates for GolTV; a channel that primarily covers the Spanish and German football leagues.

    Unlike many in the media who thought the English team would do well in South Africa with stars like Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard paving the way, Hudson does not understand why there were such high expectations to begin with. In fact, England’s World Cup fever abated for him a while back. Hudson has not been pleased with the English team for over a generation.

    “I barely watch English football,” said Hudson. “Nowadays it’s too nauseating to watch, and it’s been that way for decades…at least the last 20 years it’s been virtually unwatchable. What happened to them at international level just compounds and confirms it, what I’ve been saying for so very long.”

    What he has been saying is that the golden age of English football has left and has not been evident for quite some time.

    “I think the last batch (of great players) that we got were ironically, but not solely, the likes of Peter Beardsley, Paul Gascoigne – from the northeast. Chris Waddle, Glenn Hoddle. Those are the types of players I’m talking about. They were in such numbers in the ‘70s and early ‘80s but then from that point on, it started to race downhill for England.”

    Reminiscing about his past at St. James’ Park as well as his childhood in Gateshead watching the Toon, Hudson mentioned a few Newcastle greats. However, they weren’t all English.

    “In those days, a big star was a man called Wyn Davies,” Hudson said. “He was a wonderful centre-forward from Wales and one of the great headers of the ball. A classic centre-forward; very lithe, slim, but phenomenal in the air. He was the star of Newcastle United back then.

    “Around that time they (Newcastle United) had some exceptionally gifted players such as Jimmy Smith, a Scottish international midfielder, who was my favorite player. Jimmy was like a Riquelme – he didn’t run an awful lot, didn’t need to. He had unbelievable vision and touch. An exceptional passer.”

    After praising another former player, Tony Green, Hudson sighed. “The modern-day players like a Lampard or Gerrard or Beckham,” he said. “These people who are considered true footballers now…they couldn’t carry these guys’ jockstraps, in terms of pure ability!”

    Although he certainly did not understand why people were excited about the current England squad before the World Cup, he became irritated when asked why a Premier League star such as Rooney struggled in the international spotlight.

    “The English Premier League is not conducive to producing those sorts of footballers!” Hudson exclaimed. “It’s very much high-paced, crash, bang wallop, harem-scarem football. It is wonderful to watch in terms of being together with people, the atmosphere is phenomenal.

    “But the mistakes being made by bad defenders under such pressure – and the levels some are fighting to be played…very few of the English types of players are up to the standard that you need for that (international) type of football now…and there doesn’t seem to be much on the horizon anymore.”

    Hudson watched Fabio Capello coach Real Madrid while covering La Liga for his current job. But even he, who is very complimentary of Capello’s work, wonders if it was even worth the Italian’s time to take his current job in the first place.

    “Capello is certainly an absolutely wonderful coach, his track record proves it,” Hudson said. “If a man like Capello isn’t capable of instilling even a brave performance out of England, you really wonder, why bother?”

    Hudson kept going. “He (Capello) can only do so much with the types of horses he’s got in his stable, and it was all on display. I mean, this isn’t just me speaking and trashing England. The proverbial blind man on a galloping horse in the fog could see that, that is English football!

    “I just don’t see any quality of international class on display in the Premiership. I’m astonished by the amount of people that are still beguiled by English football…I just don’t get it.”

    There was one compliment Hudson was very clear about for this footballing nation, though. “I’ll give English football this,” he said. “They’ve probably got the most ardent followers in all of world football.

    “But other than that, the fans are completely deluded in terms of feeling their international team can carry on in the image of some of their top player teams that are basically all threaded through with foreign players anyway, international foreign players, that the English national team is just light years away from.”

    Speaking about the international media’s football coverage, he was unhappy that there is not more coverage of the Japanese or South Korean styles. “Nobody talks about that, or the United States, the way they went down fighting,” he said. “They’d rather talk about the bling-bling players – the likes of the Beckhams and Rooneys and Gerrards.”

    “The players who are so ridiculously overrated,” he said. “It’s bewildering to me, to be quite frank.”
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    When did you talk to Hudson? My beef is that he's not a credible source when it comes to England's soccer team. He lives in the U.S. and is known to hate English soccer. He couldn't hack it as an MLS coach and is a color commentator on a third-rate cable channel.
  3. irnsdn

    irnsdn New Member

    Talked with him about a week after England were knocked out of the World Cup. I think it was around the quarter or semifinals?
  4. ringer

    ringer Member

    I stopped after two paragraphs because the first one was unbelievably wordy. (It could have been reduced to: "It is no secret that England disappointed in the 2010 World Cup.")

    The second paragraph wasn't even a sentence, nor did it have any connection the first.

    Sorry, but it's true that people make an impression within the first 15 seconds.

    Okay, I just peeked at the third graf, and you're ending sentences with prepositions. Not good.

    My advice? Buy a copy of William Zinsser's book, "On Writing Well." He has great advice about how to write cleanly. Also, it's entertaining and you may discover habits you probably didn't even realize you had.

    I don't mean to sound harsh; just being honest and - hopefully - constructive.
  5. irnsdn

    irnsdn New Member

    Thank you, I appreciate your honest feedback. I posted it here so I'm able to hear from other people about what I can do better next time.

    If anyone else has anything to add, let me know. Tear it apart - I'm pretty thick-skinned.
  6. ringer

    ringer Member

    Okay, I read it again - this time ignoring sentence structure and fundamentals - and tried to see the content. In short, where's the reporting?

    Basically, the writer has let one man's opinion control the piece so it's
    (a) completely one-sided
    (b) lacking any statistics to either support or refute his contentions

    Further, I'm not persuaded that Hudson has any more credibility than any former coach/commentator. He says right up front that he's barely watched English football for a generation. If he hasn't watched it, then how can he be an authority on the subject and say the past was better?

    It's the reporter's responsibility to report facts to present a full picture -- not simply let one man spout his view.

    One last takeaway: Congrats on being published but next time, I'd try to seek a publication with stronger editors -- ones who aren't afraid to tell you where the problems are and/or send it back to you to re-write. However, they're expecting clean copy on the first try, so it's crucial that you take it upon yourself to study, perfect, and continually practice the basics of good news writing.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page