Despite this blog’s name, I’m often annoyed with Andy Gray, mainly for his anti-Liverpool bias. He likes individuals such as Torres and Gerrard well enough, but is frequently quick to criticize the club as a whole, and seems to enjoy every second of it. He’s still getting mileage out of slamming Benitez for rotation and zonal marking, although he's certainly not the only one. And while I definitely don’t go so far, I was thoroughly amused by the campaign to remove him from Liverpool games on Sky after the first leg against Inter.
But his addition to the booth (and recap show) for ESPN’s Euro coverage has been a godsend. I’m not embellishing when I say he and Adrian Healey might be the best pairing I've heard on US television. When he’s unbiased, Gray usually knows what he’s talking about (a large step-up from most US coverage of European football) and has already developed a decent rapport with Healey. Admittedly, I like Healey more than either Rae or Dellacamera to begin with, but I’ve still been surprised at the quality of the combination.
And I was very, very worried about ESPN’s coverage of this tourney, especially after the debacle that was World Cup 2006 (I certainly don’t miss Balboa or O’Brien). If the network only sprung the cash to have the commentators on site...
It’s sort of sickening to praise an Evertonian like Gray to the hilt, but he really has made the games he's done that much better.
Now if we could only muzzle Tommy Smyth.