This week I was excited to once again be a journalist, because it allowed me to interview the legendary Ray Hudson. I was educated as a journalist. While attending Marian Central High School I spent a summer at Northwestern University’s National High School Institute for Journalism. I also served as sports editor of the Marian Crown. In college I covered Marquette football (as it was) for the Marquette Tribune and Marquette and Milwaukee Bucks basketball for United Press International. After graduating with a BA in Journalism I made a conscious decision that changed my life – I turned my back on my field of training and pursued a career in sports administration instead.
Twenty five years after “retiring” from journalism I began writing my own blog focusing on American soccer. Seventeen months and 169 posts later, I stopped writing again. After a four month “retirement”, Pitch Invasion Editor Tom Dunmore gave me the opportunity to rejoin the ranks of soccer journalists and commentators through this weekly column. Then last month a weekly radio show, “Soccer Saturday Presented By The Milwaukee Wave”, debuted on ESPN 540 AM with the Red, White and Blue segment hosted by yours truly. In the last two months, I’ve had the opportunity to interview some of my favorite people in American soccer including Piotr Nowak, Mike Sorber, Dave Sarachan, Tony Sanneh, Frank Klopas, Casey Nogueira and last Saturday, the incomparable Ray Hudson.
Ray’s vocabulary and Geordie-American accent make for a terrific interview. Ask a simple question and he dramatically and eloquently runs with the reply like a freshly hooked tarpon until there is no line remaining. The statistics for this interview were five questions and eight minutes of artistic answers:
Soccer Saturday Studio Host Matt Salmon: Joining us now is a man who was a five time All Star in the NASL, coached DC United (and Miami Fusion) and now is a commentator for Gol TV. It’s a real treat to welcome Ray Hudson to the program. Ray, from a fan’s standpoint, you started your career with Newcastle United. I’m wearing one of my three Magpie jerseys. What’s it like as a fan playing for the black and white stripes and how excited are you to see them coming back and playing in the Premiership?
Ray Hudson: Well, first of all, it was beyond a thrill, because obviously I was from Newcastle. I was born and raised there right on the banks of the Tyne, so when you grow up in that atmosphere and you grow up in that city and you’re able to represent the Magpies, it’s something extremely special in the same way the kid growing up in Barcelona would be, you know that communal thing, a very, very special attachment. The fans really truly identify with their own kind and have a special place in their hearts for those kids who come through from the area a la Paul Gascoigne, Chris Waddle, Peter Beardsley. You know they take them especially to heart. You know it was a life’s ambition fulfilled and it was absolutely spectacular. The fact they’re back amongst the big boys now is exciting. It’s where the club belongs. I’m not so sure it’ll be a yo-yo season. They’re going to have to spend a bit of money to get a bit of class in that midfield I think and strengthen the side, but it’s great to be back among the Premiership and looking forward to next season absolutely.
Peter J. Wilt: I want to play a little bit of name association with names out of your past and the first one was brought up by (the Milwaukee Wave’s) Head Coach Keith Tozer. He said “Ask Ray about Minnesota Strikers Goalkeeper Tino Lettieri“. What do you recall about him?Tino Lettieri kept a stuffed parrot named “Ozzie” in his goal when he played with Ray Hudson for the Minnesota Strikers.