|Footy Forum: Is Match of the Day fit for purpose?
||[Mar. 16th, 2009|12:34 pm]
The very first Match of the Day highlights package was broadcast on 22 August 1964 and it featured only one match - Liverpool v Arsenal at Anfield.|
Saturday's Match of the Day programme covered seven matches but only one headline-stealer. Just like that summer night 45 years ago, it was the Liverpool fans greedily glued to their TV screens to watch their side win a five-goal thriller.
Were the BBC's standards of editorial excellence higher then or has "MOTD" always disappointed (which may explain its substitution by basketball highlights in the mid-eighties)?
Like hundreds of millions across the globe, I watched the game live on TV and, like most of the Premier League's global audience; I witnessed Liverpool start the match with the sort of vibrancy they normally reserve for Real Madrid at home.
Nine hours later, I joined 3.5 million people to watch the BBC regurgitate this season's finest football lesson; but rather than approach the task with the care and relish of an Emperor Penguin feeding her chick, the BBC approached it with all the regurgitating relish of a recent diner to Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant - say Jim Rosenthal for context and relevance.
At lunchtime Liverpool dominate possession for the first 20 minutes, as Rafa Benitez set about his game plan of starving Manchester United of the ball, disabling the effectiveness of Ferguson's introduction of Anderson and Carlos Tevez's energy to the side. Then, when the opportunity arose, Liverpool - through Skrtel, Hypia, Lucas and Reina - four times caught United's defenders dreaming of quintuples with what can only be described as a series of devastating Garryowens.
On Match of the Day, those first twenty minutes ceased to exist.
According to the programme editors they had no relevance to the narrative that Benitez had crafted with all the intricacies of a footballing Tom Stoppard. But the culling of the first quarter of the game made the watching experience akin to turning up twenty minutes late to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and hoping to understand what the hell is going on.
Match of the Day is failing in its public service remit. I was lucky enough to see the game live and be shocked by its misrepresentation, for many others that was their one chance to view the footage and the BBC failed to tell the whole story. This isn't the first time and it is far from being MOTD's only failing but it is glaring and relevant.
But do you agree and how would you change the programme to make it not only more representative of what happens on the pitch but also more representative of what happens throughout the league in general?
I think there are vast improvements that can be made to MOTD. Here are a few things I would like to see:
1) More tactical analysis of:
- The systems managers adopt.
- How one system gained an advantage over the other.
- How substitutions and small tactical changes had an impact on the game.
2) More equal time distribution between games.
3) Individual players statistics. Corners, possession, red and yellow cards are all well but show us how many passes key players made, how many shots on target, season percentages etc.
4) Less of the attempted banter, it's not funny.
You found the right target but utterly missed the point.
On saturday Sam Allerdyce sent out a team whose entire intention was to kick, maim and cheat. The tackles from behind, the endless rotational fouling, the chopping down of Almunia which could have ended his career, and the most blatant dive ever seen in any penalty area (utterly unpunished) left most people gasping.
But while the TV programme laughed at the dive, they did nothing to comment on how a whole team could be sent out to behave in this way. While it is down to commentators on the blogs to make the point that Allerdyce should be reprimanded severely by the FA and EPL, the mainstream media just saunters along as if nothing happened.
What Blackburn did on saturday was not football, but anti-football, and no one seemed to care.
In 1998 we proposed the actual version of the 'Match Analysis' moments (which have later being adopted by all the other broadcasters in uk and the world together with other formats) to the at the time BBC's Sport Management. As of today we have not yet received payment nor acknowlegment of the £ 70.000 invoice despite a complaint submission at the Government's Select Committes hearing. Any suggestions for this flaw?
MOTD match highlights have been terrible ever since they lost the rights to ITV - somehow they never got back the idea of presenting the match as a coherent "story". And who thinks we are interested in the so-called banter between the presenter and co-presenters. It is yet another example of the shoddy, self-serving attitude of the broadcasters. No-one involved in making television actually watches the shows, they are only interested in making them. Please tell me there is some way to address this issue. There are so many ways to improve MOTD which could be delivered more or less instantly I can only imagine that there is a cultural resistance to quality sports programming in the Corporatioon. As for MOTD2...! Is this not the most gob-smackingly terrible programme ever to sully the schedules? Without Sky or Setanta I am literally gagging for football - and yet still I can hardly bring myself to watch this ghastly show. "2 Good 2 Bad"??? what the hell werethey thinking. Adrian Chiles!? FFS??? The tone the comment the lack of anything interesting ever happening, the time wasted on Kevin effing Day's attempts to make football more interesting to Adrian Chiles... or whatever he does. It is a shocking waste of money. And like I say there are so many alternative ways of doing it... so why? Please someone tell me why?
I have watched MOTD in many formats over the years and have to say that I too am extremely disappointed with Saturday night's effort. The first 20 minutes of the Liverpool-Man Utd game were a delight to watch. It was good to see Man Utd on the back foot.
Incidentally I loved the comparison in the blog with the Emporer Penguin and also Heston Blumenthal.
I could not agree more with most of what paulreage wrote, there are so many instantaneous changes that could be made to improve the quality of the offering.
My first shout would be for a properly-trained journalist to present the programme (MOTD 1 not 2) who has to justify his exorbitant salary by immersing himself in the game, its history, developments, tactical progression rather than seemingly spending most of his time and our public money in the gym, on the golf course or on a sunbed.
How can the BBC get Test Match Special so so right and Match of the Day so so wrong?
While contract law may make replacing Linekar a little longer than instantly, one simple change that would take seconds would be the introduction of a timebar during the longer highlights - it would make tracking the flow of the game just that little bit easier.
2009-03-16 03:55 pm (UTC)
There is quite enough Liverpool on the box all ready
'This season's finest football lesson'? So yet another Liverpool supporter finds a platform for his opinions - among which is included the idea that the club, the city, the legend, receives nowhere near its proper share of the tax levied upon the rest of us to fund the BBC. And all masquerading as concern for broadcast quality, natch.
Gary Lineker (ex-Everton) says Match of the Day broadcasts all the highlights regulations permit them to show. Alan Hansen (Telegraph, BBC, ex-Liverpool) and Marc Lawrenson (BBC, ex-Liverpool) seem equally unconcerned. No opinion as yet from BBC FiveLive commentator Alan Green (Liverpool fan) or 606 phone-in token 'Spoony' (Liverpool fan), while in the press the likes of Tony Evans, Deputy Football editor at the Times (Liverpool fan), has yet to raise the issue (in fairness Mr Evans is probably busy orchestrating a repeat of last summer's remorseless campaign to get Christiano Ronaldo a move to Madrid).
Those who think me unkind to Liverpudlians should try living next door to them, experiencing the anonymity imposed by relentless local television coverage of the city and its affairs but which a sense of entitlement encouraged over forty years can never satisfy. According to Alan Bennett it's what you get when you tell people they are special. There is a jewish site I know of where, with breathtaking effrontery, a Liverpudlian actually writes of the bond of understanding between two peoples disliked and conspired against by outsiders. I'm quite serious.
'ARGH' - Quite right. But while Adrian 'Honey' Chiles may not know his Anfield iron from a pan of lob scouse he does have a Serbian (or is it Croatian?) father. This ensures his loyalties will never be quite what they might were he English, thus fulfilling a quietly assumed undertaking on the part of the corporation to remove as much English infuence as possible from the schedules.
2009-03-17 02:09 am (UTC)
the only way to improve the motd is get somebody who knows the game and says it the way it is!
motd has gone downhill for a long time im sick and tired od seeing hansen and his mate lawrenson i know it all comeing out with the usual nonsense i like shearer and lee dixon is very good problem is where more likely to see him with adrian chiles on motd 2 when i listen to the cricket on five live extra i love geoffrey boycott he says it the way it is without all the spin and nonsense you get with hansen and lawrenson personally i think somebody who would be the equivalent of boycott in my eyes would be big ron atkinson he knows the game inside out and tells you about tactics and formations in great depth just like boycott why he is not on the bbc is a disgrace in my eyes if the producers and management had any sense they would get big ron in he would be great with shearer and dixon
2009-03-21 02:29 pm (UTC)
not forgetting mcnulty
I'd just like to add Phil Mcnulty to the Liverpudlian list you rightly put forward 'brainbiter'. The BBC is ridiculously over represented by Liverpool friendly commentators and journalists. This is of course an absolute joke given that it's supposed to be an impartial organisation.