Match of the Day

For the US version, see Match of the Day (US TV series). For the Doctor Who novel, see Match of the Day (novel).
Match of the Day
Genre Football
Developed by BBC Sport
Presented by Kenneth Wolstenholme (1964–67)
David Coleman (1967–73)
Jimmy Hill (1973–88)
Des Lynam (1988–99)
Gary Lineker (1999–present)
Theme music composer Barry Stoller
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Ian Finch
MediaCityUK, Manchester (5 November 2011 (2011-11-05)–present)
Editor(s) Richard Hughes
Running time 70–100 minutes (highlights)
Production company(s) BBC
Original network BBC 1 / BBC One (1965 (1965)–present)
BBC 2 (1964 (1964)–65)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
576i (SDTV)
Original release 22 August 1964 (1964-08-22) – present
Related shows Grandstand
Match of the Day 2
Football Focus
Final Score
The Football League Show
Match of the Day Kickabout
The Premier League Show
External links
BBC One – Match of the Day

Match of the Day, often abbreviated as MOTD or MotD, is BBC TV's principal football programme. Typically, it is shown on BBC One on Saturday evenings during the English football season, showing highlights of the day's matches in English football's top division, the Premier League. It is one of the BBC's longest-running shows, having been on air since 22 August 1964, though it has not always been aired regularly. Match of the Day has been recognised by Guinness World Records as the longest-running football TV programme in the world. The programme is broadcast from MediaCityUK in Salford Quays on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Greater Manchester.[1]

Since 1999 MOTD has been presented by former England captain Gary Lineker. Lineker is usually joined by two pundits to analyse and review the day's action. Former Newcastle United captain Alan Shearer is the lead pundit. Former footballers such as Mark Lawrenson, Alan Hansen and Ruud Gullit, and sports broadcasters such as Kenneth Wolstenholme, David Coleman, Barry Davies, John Motson, Jimmy Hill and Des Lynam have appeared on the programme.[2]



Although the title was first used by the BBC for its Wimbledon tennis highlights programme in June 1964, the first football-related edition of Match of the Day was screened on BBC2 on 22 August 1964, and showed highlights of a game between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield. The programme's audience was estimated at only 20,000, less than half of the attendance at the ground.[3]

Match of the Day was not universally welcomed in the football world; in 1965 several clubs attempted to block a renewed deal with the BBC in fear of a drop in gate attendances at matches.[4] Eventually a compromise was reached where the BBC agreed not to reveal which match was to be shown until after the day's play had concluded. The first colour edition of Match of the Day on BBC1 was shown on 15 November 1969, where it featured a game between Liverpool and West Ham United. However the very first colour edition was shown on 2 November 1968 on BBC2 when a game between Chelsea and Manchester City was featured.[4][5]

1970s and 1980s

Slow motion replays were first introduced in 1969.[3] However, at the end of the decade the BBC lost a significant share of matches, with a new four-year deal in 1979 splitting the rights between the BBC and ITV (ITV had originally won exclusive rights, but a ruling from the Office of Fair Trading ordered that the rights be split[5]). Match of the Day was moved to Sunday afternoons for the 1980–81 and 1982–83 seasons.[6]

In 1983, the programme reverted to being shown on Saturday night, although that year four broadcasts were lost due to industrial action.[3] The season 1983–84 also saw the first Match of the Day Live broadcasts of First Division matches, beginning with Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur on 16 December – a Friday evening fixture. (This came some two months after the start of ITV's Big Match Live.)

1990s and 2000s

League football highlights were not available to the BBC for a few years but MOTD returned in 1992, for the start of the Premier League era.[4] Sky's emergence made the TV rights market more competitive, with the BBC losing European Cup matches after UEFA's revamping as the Champions League in 1992, although it did broadcast the 1994 final between A.C. Milan and FC Barcelona.[7] In 1997, the BBC lost all live rights to the FA Cup meaning Match of the Day's live coverage was restricted to the UEFA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup matches, the latter competition becoming defunct in 1999. However the BBC were still able to show Saturday evening highlights of FA Cup games. However things got much worse for the network when, in 2001, the Premier League awarded highlights rights to ITV in a three-year contract.[8]

In August 2003 it was announced that, from the 2004/05 season, Premier League highlights were returning to the BBC, and that MOTD would be revived.[9] In addition, Match of the Day 2 was launched, which showed highlights of all the Sunday fixtures, and was presented by Adrian Chiles.[4]

In 2009 the BBC announced they had retained their Premier League rights, allowing them to continue showing Match of the Day until 2013.[10]


Gary Lineker on the current set of Match of the Day.

From the 2011–12 season a new web-only Match of the Day 3 programme was launched on Monday mornings as a light-hearted addition to Match of the Day 2. Although broadcast as a separate programme and with its own unique title, it is recorded immediately following the conclusion of Match of the Day 2 on Sunday night. In November 2011, Match of the Day moved from London to a brand new studio in Salford as part of the BBC's relocation north, this allowed the programme to be recorded in high-definition.[1] At the start of 2012–13 season Match of the Day 2 moved to BBC One.[11]

Upon regaining the FA Cup rights in 2014, highlights from the early and later rounds of the competition were given their own separate programme instead of being broadcast on an extended Match of the Day straight after the Premier League highlights, as it was before the BBC last lost the rights in 2008.[12][13]

Presenters and commentators

In 1973 Jimmy Hill took over as presenter after moving from ITV. Des Lynam later became the host.[2][3]

Current presenter Gary Lineker joined as a pundit in 1995 before becoming the main presenter after Lynam's departure in 1999. Ray Stubbs was the deputy presenter of the programme for 17 seasons, from 1992 to 2009. Current stand in hosts include Gabby Logan, Dan Walker, and Mark Chapman.[2]

Typically, Lineker is joined by two pundits for the show. Alan Shearer is the lead pundit and is used alongside Danny Murphy, Martin Keown, Phil Neville, Ian Wright, Kevin Kilbane, Ruud Gullit, Jermaine Jenas or Robbie Savage. Occasionally, former and current players and managers appear on the show. Match of the Day 2 airs on Sundays is presented by Mark Chapman.[2]

The main commentators are Guy Mowbray, Jonathan Pearce, Steve Wilson, Simon Brotherton and Steve Bower. The longest-running commentator is John Motson, who made his first appearance on 9 October 1971. He continues to feature on the programme, although is no longer the BBC's principal commentator for live matches, having retired from live coverage after Euro 2008.

Other freelance commentators used include: Alan Green, Paul Walker, Alistair Bruce-Ball, Laurence Herdman, Nigel Adderley, John Murray, Ian Dennis, Conor McNamara, John Roder, Dan O'Hagan, Martin Fisher, Alistair Mann, Tony Husband, Roger Johnson and Paul Mitchell.[2]

In April 2007 it was announced that Jacqui Oatley was to become the first woman to commentate on the programme.[4][14]

Previous commentators include: Barry Davies, Stuart Hall, Alan Weeks, Alan Parry, Gerald Sinstadt, Idwal Robling, Harry Carpenter, Clive Tyldesley, Jon Champion and Tony Gubba. In August 2014, the BBC announced that as part of the show's 50th anniversary celebrations, Barry Davies would return to commentate for one last time.[2][15]


Criticisms aimed at MOTD are its format is tired and out of date compared to Sky's football coverage and new, more enthusiastic pundits are required with the atmosphere between the current presenter and pundits deemed "an old boy's club".[16][17] In 2010, Wolverhampton Wanderers' American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann criticised the show for showing bias towards the bigger clubs in the Premier League, particularly Manchester United.[18]

Premier League licensing

The BBC have purchased the rights to televise highlights of Premier League matches. In 2012 the BBC signed a three-year extension to their agreement which expired after the 2015/16 season at a cost of £179.7m. BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said that "The new contract will see MOTD celebrate its 50th birthday".[19] In January 2015, the BBC extended this deal until the end of the 2018-19 Premier League season.[20]

Theme music

The current theme tune for the series is called "Match of the Day" and was written for the programme in 1970 by Barry Stoller.

Ironically, Stoller himself admitted that he isn't a football fan.

Stoller's brief was simply to write "something good"; the short closing fanfare occurred to him first. "Those fanfare harmonies give the music a gladiator feel," he wrote in 2014, "akin to entering the ancient games arena in Rome with all its expectations." The tune was recorded by him, a trumpeter and drummer, in the basement recording studio of his home.[21] In May 2010 PRS for Music revealed that the Match of the Day theme tune is the most recognisable in the UK.[22]

The theme is often incorrectly labelled "Off Side", the group name of an alternative 1970 version which was released as a 45 single on the Pye label (7N 25534), arranged and conducted by Mike Vickers.[5] The original theme tune, entitled "Drum Majorette", was written by Major Oleen Wrigley, the band leader of the Jade Petherick under the pen-name 'Arnold Stock'.[23]

Match of the Day Annual

A Match of the Day Annual book is also produced.[24]


  1. 1 2 "BBC". MediaCityUK. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Match of the Day (1964– ) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "History of Match of the Day". BBC Sport. 14 February 2003. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Match of the Day: 50 years of broadcasting celebration". BBC Sport. 20 August 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 "MOTD through the ages". BBC Sport. 3 August 2004. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  6. "Blackout". World of Sport.
  7. "History of Football on TV". Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  8. "BBC 'sour' over football deal". BBC News. 15 June 2000. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  9. "Premiership back on the BBC". BBC Sport. 8 August 2003. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  10. "BBC retains Premier League rights". BBC Sport. 28 January 2009.
  11. "Match of the Day 2 moves to BBC One". Premier League. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  12. "Match of the Day". BBC. 1 December 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  13. "FA Cup 2014-15: How to follow on the BBC". BBC. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  14. "Match of the Day gets first woman commentator". Reuters. 19 April 2007.
  15. "Barry Davies returns to Match of the Day commentary box". BBC Sport. 21 August 2014.
  16. "Colin Murray has gone... but does Match of the Day need a proper shake-up to close the gap on the champions at Sky Sports?" Daily Mail 22 January 2013
  17. "Wake up Gary, or Match of the Day's old boys' club may close for good" Daily Mail 9 December 2012 Retrieved 23 January 2013
  19. "BBC renews Match of the Day deal". Manchester: BBC Sport. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  20. "MOTD: Football highlights show to remain on BBC television". BBC Sport. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  21. Stoller, Barry (22 August 2014). "Match of the Day at 50: My iconic theme even has a banjo". BBC TV Blog. BBC. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  22. Sayid, Ruki (11 May 2010). "Match of the Day voted the most recognisable theme tune on TV". Mirror. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  23. "Match of the Day Annual 2012: The Best Footy Annual! (Hardback)". BBC Shop. Retrieved 23 June 2012.

Further reading

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