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Podcast: The Magisterial Ray Hudson on His Influences, Career, Unique Style

There's no announcer quite like Ray Hudson, and he delves into his career path and opens up on his influences and much more in an entertaining chat on the Planet Fútbol Podcast.

The latest interview guest on the Planet Fútbol podcast is the inimitable Ray Hudson of BeIN Sports and SiriusXM, who joined us for a fun conversation on how he developed his love for words, his unique broadcasting style, his appreciation for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, his favorite stories from the 1970s NASL, his love of South American soccer players and fellow Floridian Dick Vitale, and the influence of his father, Wilfred, who passed away last year at 98.

Here are some highlights from Hudson's interview, which you can listen to in full in the podcast console below:

On how he developed his love for words:

“Really, my father was the biggest influence when I was a kid. He was a wonderful reader to me in the evenings, and I always loved the way he used to project and embellish the words of Dickens, predominantly. He loved Dickens, Charles Dickens. Of course he was such a descriptive writer. When you’re sitting on the sofa with your dad and he’s putting the actual phrases together with a little bit of a theatrical lilt … it was that engagement with him that I think stimulated that.

“In my school career, I had a wonderful, wonderful English teacher who took that to another level again. But those two I would think were the biggest influences for me, my father reading me Dickens and a wonderful old lady called Sally Herdman. I say ‘old lady,’ she was probably 10 years younger than I am now! She was a wonderful English aristocrat type, a wonderful English teacher. And she would tell me: ‘Raymond, you have a gift! You need to start expanding this gift and use the English language like plasticine! You can do what you like with it, Raymond! You can extend these words, there’s no other language like it in the world!’”

On how he enjoys watching Spanish-language soccer broadcasts even though he can’t speak Spanish:

“When I listen to them and their passion and their wonderful descriptives and the speed and the color, even though I don’t understand the words, somehow I get it. And I connect with that more. It makes me enjoy the game more, somehow.”

On my idea of getting Hudson and fellow Floridian Dick Vitale together for a memorable dinner:

“I’d be up for it in an absolute New York second. Vitale was the first United States commentator that I probably connected with in the same way as a lot of people connect with me that aren’t particularly into football. I remember it distinctly, living in a place called The Lofts. I heard this voice and this wonderful exuberance coming through. And he didn’t give a crap! He wasn’t one of these conditioned people who were saying the right things and trying to project it in a more controlled way.

“He was wonderful. It was just that effervescence and that wonderful spirit and his love for the game that couldn’t be contained. And the humor in him as well, and the great yin and yang that he had between his partner on the commentary. He made basketball so much more enjoyable. I know as much about basketball as I know about theory of relativity. But I knew that this man loved the game, and he made me enjoy the game.”