Match Of The Day (BBC2, 1964-1966, BBC1, 1966-present)
This is one of the longest-running sport shows on British TV. After seeing previews on Football Focus, and the results come in on a Saturday afternoon on Grandstand, you would then have the chance to actually see some of those goals in the evening on Match Of The Day. As this is a show that has been around for much longer than I have, I’ll begin this review at around the time I started to watch.
And it was at this point that Match Of The Day was at rather a low ebb. In the early-90s, live coverage of top-flight matches were on ITV, and the BBC had the rights to the FA Cup, meaning that the show only appeared to cover those matches, with a The Road To Wembley suffix added. It was also around this time that the famous theme that had been used since the early-70s was changed, and this definitely didn’t last long!
In 1992 though, when the Premier League launched, Match Of The Day returned as a highlights show. The host was usually Des Lynam, who was considered to be one of the best around at the time, along with analysis from various pundits. There would also be features including the Goal Of The Month competition, where viewers were invited to pick their favourites. Some highlights from previous seasons were also released on VHS.
By the late-90s, there was something of a relaunch, as things came from a new virtual studio, and there was attempt to rename the show MOTD. There was also a monthly magazine available, and I was a regular reader for a few years. As well as featuring columns from various commentators and pundits about the state of the game, there would also be interviews with star players, and lots of other quirky features. And all this only cost £1!
There were also weekly football magazines available for many years including Match and Shoot, but I didn’t read those as much. Did I keep all of them though? No, I didn’t, how daft of me. By 2001, the Premier League highlights moved to ITV1, so once again, the MOTD name was only usually used for coverage of various cups, and the magazine had closed by this point.
In 2004, the highlights returned to the BBC, and remain to this day, Gary Lineker has now been the main host for over two decades, and commentators include Jonathan Pearce, who was poached from Capital Gold. As most high-profile matches now take place on a Sunday, there is an additional MOTD2 to cover all those. The magazine has also been relaunched as a fortnightly, but it now seems to be aimed at five-year-olds.