50 years of Match of the Day
Kenneth Wolstenholme kicked off a new television programme on 22 August 1964. Five decades on, and ahead of a special BBC documentary marking the anniversary this Friday, Kate Youde offers 50 facts and figures behind the nation's favourite football highlights show
Sunday 17 August 2014
Fans' favourite The current theme tune, written by Barry Stoller, made its debut in the 1970 season.
6.2 million The peak audience in recent years was achieved on 5 February 2011, a day that saw 41 goals in eight Premier League matches – a record for a single day.
Shooting star Coventry City's Ernie Hunt was the first Goal of the Season winner, at the end of the 1970/71 season.
Strike action MOTD was off air in 1983 between 15 October and 19 November due to industrial action at the BBC.
Transfer deal The programme moved from London to a new studio in Salford in November 2011 as part of the BBC's relocation north.
Red and yellow cards The programme was first broadcast in colour on 15 November 1969, showing Liverpool vs West Ham.
Game changer Jacqui Oatley became MOTD's first female commentator on 21 April 2007, when she covered Fulham vs Blackburn.
43 years... and counting John Motson's time so far on MOTD. He made his first appearance on 9 October 1971 and is the show's longest serving commentator.
More matches During the 1983/84 season, the Saturday night highlights show was supplemented by live matches on Friday evenings.
iPlayer debut MOTD was available on the online platform for the first time in the 2013/14 season.
5.5 million Last season's peak audience was achieved on 22 March 2014, when comedian Russell Brand was a pundit as part of Sport Relief.
London club When MOTD launched on BBC Two in 1964, the channel was only available in the capital.
Switching sides After starting off on BBC Two, the programme moved to BBC One in 1966.
Equal match Celina Hinchcliffe became the first female presenter in February 2005. Gabby Logan has since become a regular substitute for Gary Lineker.
Fixture change After 16 seasons in the Saturday night slot, MOTD moved to Sunday afternoons in 1980 but was back to Saturday nights for the 1980/1 season.
Going live The programme went live and was based in a studio from 1969, rather than being pre-recorded at the ground of the featured match. This was because there were then two games shown each week.
Winning start Manchester United were the champions the first season MOTD aired – 1964/5.
Chiles play MOTD2 was first broadcast on 15 August 2004, presented by Adrian Chiles. Mark Chapman now presents.
Meet statto Albert Sewell served as MOTD statistician for 37 years between 1968 and 2005, by which time his records included 24,000 player transfers and 6,400 managerial changes.
Name change The programme became Match of the Day – Road to Wembley from the 1988/1989 season as, for the first time since its inception, it couldn't broadcast league football. Instead, it had a four-year contract to show the FA Cup.
Balls-up Alan Hansen uttered his infamous "you can't win anything with kids" line in reference to Alex Ferguson's young Manchester United side on the opening day of the 1995/6 season. The team went on to win the league.
Extra time Cross-platform Sunday lunchtime chat show MOTD2 Extra aired for the first time on 22 September 2013.
Crowd pleaser PRS for Music revealed in May 2010 that the MOTD theme tune was the most recognisable in the UK.
Kitted out The National Football Museum in Manchester displays one of John Motson's famous sheepskin coats.
Junior ranks MOTD Kickabout, a weekly preview show for younger fans, launched on CBBC on 8 January 2011.
14 Editions broadcast in 1986/87 as highlights were out of fashion. The only league action came in the seven live games on Sunday afternoons.
Change to line-up Grandstand presenter David Coleman joined Kenneth Wolstenholme as a regular MOTD presenter in 1968 and presented the show until 1973.
Poet's corner Des Lynam, who served as the main MOTD presenter between 1988 and 1999, recited Rudyard Kipling's poem, "If", to close coverage of the final of France '98 – his last World Cup as MOTD presenter.
Top shot The Goal of the Month competition was introduced in 1970, with members of the public sending thousands of entry postcards to the BBC.
New formation A new show was introduced in 1992/93 for which presenter Des Lynam was joined by new regular pundits, Alan Hansen and Trevor Brooking. The show reverted to the classic format of extended highlights from three main games but viewers were also able to see the goals from all the other matches.
500th edition of the show aired in 1977.
Substitutes' bench As well as main presenter Gary Lineker, occasional presenters now include Ray Stubbs, Gabby Logan, Mark Pougatch, Dan Walker, and Mark Chapman.
Pilot show Kenneth Wolstenholme, who presented the show between 1964 and 1969, had served as an RAF bomber pilot during the Second World War and flew 100 missions by the age of 23.
Rights wrangle Rights have switched around broadcasters over the years, meaning MOTD has not always been able to show league highlights.
5,000,000 Viewers in MOTD's first four years.
Match notes "Drum Majorette" by Major Leslie Statham, the former Welsh Guards' director of music, was the original theme music. Statham wrote under the name Arnold Stock.
Blocking tackle In 1965, some clubs tried to bar MOTD cameras, fearing television coverage would hit ticket sales. The BBC had to agree not to show footage before 10pm.
Ahead of the game MOTD offered goal-line technology in its studio 32 years earlier than its first appearance in English football in August 2013.
Premier in The television rights for the new FA Premier League were decided in May 1992, with each club having one vote. The BBC gained the Saturday night highlights as part of a five-year deal.
Slow motion In 1968, the BBC had one HS100 instant slow motion machine but it was three years later, in 1971/72, that the MOTD team used the technology as part of its analysis.
Live coverage MOTD's first live league game aired on 16 December 1983, when Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-2.
Player-turned-presenter Gary Lineker has presented the show since 1999. He and Ray Stubbs regularly stood in for Des Lynam during the 1998/9 season.
7m The show's current regular audience across a weekend including iPlayer viewings.
5 Main MOTD presenters over the years – Kenneth Wolstenholme, David Coleman, Jimmy Hill, Des Lynam and current post-holder Gary Lineker.
20,000 The audience which tuned in for the very first MOTD, for highlights of Liverpool's 3-2 win over Arsenal – was less than half the attendance at Anfield.
1m+ The number of people who tune in weekly to MOTD2 Extra via BBC1, Radio 5 Live, and the BBC Sport website.
22 The number of years Alan Hansen spent as a pundit. His first MOTD appearance was in 1992 and his last, not counting the World Cup from Brazil, was on 11 May 2014.
15 years – Jimmy Hill's record stint from 1973 to 1988 as main presenter, before he took a punditry role.
2,000 The approximate number of games on which John Motson has commentated for MOTD.
Sources: The BBC and 'Match of the Day: 50 Years of Football' (BBC Books)
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