Match of the Day

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Match of the Day
Match of the Day.png
Also known as MotD
Genre Football
Developed by BBC Sport
Presented by Current:
Gary Lineker (1999–)

Kenneth Wolstenholme (1964–1967)
David Coleman (1967–1973)
Jimmy Hill (1973–1988)
Des Lynam (1988–1999)

Stand-in presenters:
(2017–18 season)
Gabby Logan
Dan Walker
Starring Predominant Analysts:
(2017–18 season)
Jermaine Jenas
Martin Keown
Frank Lampard
Danny Murphy
Phil Neville
Alan Shearer
Ian Wright

Predominant Commentators:
(2017-18 season)
Steve Bower
Simon Brotherton
John Motson
Guy Mowbray
Jonathan Pearce
Steve Wilson
Theme music composer Barry Stoller
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Phil Bigwood
Stuart Earl
Kelly Faulkner
Ian Finch
Colm Harty
Billy Hooke
Chris Treece
Sarah Williams
Production location(s) Studio TC5, BBC Television Centre (1964–2011)
Studio HQ3, MediaCityUK (2011–present)[1]
Editor(s) Steve Houghton
Richard Hughes
Matthew Roberts
Steve Rudge
Louise Sutton
Running time 60–105 minutes
Production company(s) BBC
Original network 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
The NFL Show/NFL This Week
External links
Match of the Day

Match of the Day is the BBC'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.

In 2015, Guinness World Records recognised Match of the Day "as the longest-running football television programme in the world."[2] 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.



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 BBC Two 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 BBC One 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 BBC Two 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.

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 from 1988 as ITV had exclusive rights, though the programme remained on air for the FA Cup as Match of the Day: The Road to Wembley. League football 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. In 1997, the BBC lost all live rights to the FA Cup meaning the programme'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.[6] Between 2001 and 2004, the Match of the Day brand was used for the BBC's live football coverage, the network had earned some consolation in losing Premier League highlights by managing to regain live terrestrial coverage of the FA Cup and England internationals for that period.

In August 2003, it was announced that from the 2004–05 season, Premier League highlights were returning to the BBC and a revived MOTD.[7] 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.[8]


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.[9] At the start of 2012–13 season Match of the Day 2 moved to BBC One.[10]

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.[11][12] Highlights of the latter rounds occasionally sequence from the Premier League highlights, as they did until the previous decade, but both segments are considered separate programmes.[13][14]

Presenters, analysts, and commentators

Current presenter Gary Lineker took over from Des Lynam in 1999, having served as an analyst during Lynam's tenure. Gabby Logan and Dan Walker have served as stand-in hosts.

Each show normally features two analysts. Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson featured as the main two analysts up until Hansen's retirement from broadcasting in 2014. Alan Shearer has been the main analyst since 2014, appearing on most shows alongside Gary Lineker. The other main analysts for the 2017–18 season include Ian Wright, Danny Murphy, Jermaine Jenas, Martin Keown, Frank Lampard and Phil Neville. Other analysts appear occasionally, along with a greater selection of analysts that appear on Match of the Day 2.

Match of the Day uses a selection of BBC and freelance commentators, including: Steve Bower, Simon Brotherton, John Motson, Guy Mowbray, Jonathan Pearce, and Steve Wilson.

In April 2007, it was announced that Jacqui Oatley was to become the first woman to commentate on the programme.[4][15]

Previous commentators have included: Harry Carpenter, Jon Champion, Barry Davies, Tony Gubba, Stuart Hall, Alan Parry, Idwal Robling, Gerald Sinstadt, Clive Tyldesley, and Alan Weeks.

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.[16][17]


Criticisms aimed at Match of the Day are its format is tired and out of date compared to Sky Sports' football coverage and new, more enthusiastic pundits are required with the atmosphere between the current presenter and pundits deemed "an old boy's club."[18][19]

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.[20]

Premier League licensing

2016-17 to 2018-19 seasons

In January 2015, the BBC retained its rights to the highlights until the end of the 2018–19 Premier League season. The rights cost £204 million.[21]

2019-20 to 2021-22 seasons

In January 2018, the Premier League announced that it had awarded the UK highlights to BBC Sport. The rights cost £211.5 million, and covers three seasons from 2019-20.

The January 2018 agreement also includes Match of the Day 2, Match of the Day 2 Extra, Match of the Day Kickabout, Football Focus, Final Score, and The Premier League Show.[22]

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 is not a football fan.[citation needed]

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 a drummer (Stuart Vincent) in the basement recording studio of his home.[23] In May 2010, PRS for Music revealed that the Match of the Day theme tune is the most recognisable in the UK.[24]

The theme is often incorrectly labelled "Off Side", the group name of an alternative 1970 version which was released as a 45 rpm gramophone single on the Pye label (7N 25534), arranged and conducted by Mandy Brewer.[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'.[25]

Related shows

Match of the Day Annual

A Match of the Day Annual book is also produced.[27]


  1. ^ "Match of the Day Studio". 
  2. ^ "Match of the Day named world's longest-running football show". BBC. Retrieved 31 March 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c "History of Match of the Day". BBC Sport. 14 February 2003. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Match of the Day: 50 years of broadcasting celebration". BBC Sport. 20 August 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "MOTD through the ages". BBC Sport. 3 August 2004. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "BBC 'sour' over football deal". BBC News. 15 June 2000. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Premiership back on the BBC". BBC Sport. 8 August 2003. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  8. ^ "BBC retains Premier League rights". BBC Sport. 28 January 2009. 
  9. ^ "BBC". MediaCityUK. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "Match of the Day 2 moves to BBC One". Premier League. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "Match of the Day". BBC. 1 December 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "FA Cup 2014–15: How to follow on the BBC". BBC. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  13. ^ "Match of the Day". BBC. 11 March 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017. 
  14. ^ "The FA Cup". BBC. 11 March 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017. 
  15. ^ "Match of the Day gets first woman commentator". Reuters. 19 April 2007. 
  16. ^ "Match of the Day (1964– ) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Barry Davies returns to Match of the Day commentary box". BBC Sport. 21 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "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
  19. ^ "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
  20. ^ "Wolves keeper hits out at MOTD coverage". 20 September 2010. 
  21. ^ "Premier League awards UK highlights rights to BBC (2016-2019)". 
  22. ^ "Premier League awards UK highlights to BBC Sport (2019-2022)". 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ Sayid, Ruki (11 May 2010). "Match of the Day voted the most recognisable theme tune on TV". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  25. ^ "Match of the Day – MOTD through the ages". 
  26. ^ "Press release: Match of the Day". BBC. 31 March 2018. 
  27. ^ "Match of the Day Annual 2012: The Best Footy Annual! (Hardback)". BBC Shop. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 

Further reading

External links

  • Match of the Day at BBC Programmes
  • Behind the scenes with the Match of the Day commentary team
  • Match of the Day on IMDb
  • Match of the Day at
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