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Match of the Day

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BBC’s seasonal weekly football magazine Match of the Day was first broadcast on 22 August 1964 at the start of the 1964-65 season. The kick-off game saw Liverpool defeat Arsenal 3 – 2. For the first two years of its illustrious career, it screened on BBC2.

Commentators have included Kenneth Wolstenholme (the best ever), Alan Weeks, Wally Barnes, David Coleman, Idwal Robling (on the rare occasions that a Welsh team were featured), John Motson, Barry Davies, Tony Gubba, Alan Parry, Des Lynham and Gary Lineker.


Although Match of the Day has reflected the changing face of British soccer, it took the BBC a while to adjust to the trend of the club’s sponsor being advertised on their shirts.

In 1981, Everton goalkeeper Jim McDonagh mistakenly wore his jersey with the name of their sponsors, Hafnia, emblazoned across it for the second half of the televised game with Crystal Palace.

When it was shown on Match of the Day, viewers saw the goalkeeper from a side angle only. The ban on shirt advertising on television has since been lifted.

As a result of television’s obsession with showing only live football, Match of the Day is no longer the force it was, but when it graced our screens in decades-past you could be sure of informed comments from its best-known anchorman, Jimmy ‘the chin’ Hill (pictured above).


Even Jimmy was lost for words once after a gaffe he made. It was late on Saturday night and British Summer Time was due to end the following day. His closing words were “Goodnight, and don’t forget to put your cocks back”.

The jaunty signature tune by Barry Stoller was voted the most recognised TV theme tune in a 2010 poll conducted by the Performing Right Society but did not make its first appearance until 1970. The first programme opened with Drum Majorette by Arnold Stock.

Kenneth Wolstenholme
Alan Weeks
Wally Barnes
David Coleman
Idwal Robling
John Motson
Jimmy Hill
Barry Davies
Tony Gubba
Alan Parry
Des Lynham
Gary Lineker