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Day: January 31, 2009

Another Three Years Of “Match Of The Day”

The news that the BBC has secured a further three years of Premier League highlights makes for a potentially intriguing situation. In August 2014, a year after their next contract ends, the BBC’s flagship (and, it’s probably fair to say now, only) football show will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, but the new contract will expire in May 2013. Will “Match Of The Day” live to see its golden jubilee? The BBC makes much of the programme’s heritage. Whilst other long running BBC shows such as “Grandstand” and “Top Of The Pops” have been axed in the name of modernisation, the BBC has stuck by the “Match Of The Day” name – a name that harks back to a forgotten era of grainy black and white footage, terraces and rattles. The game has moved on a long way since those days, and “Match Of The Day” has moved on with it. As with the modernisation of the game, it’s an open question whether all of these changes have been for the best. Certainly, the programme is unrecognisable from the “Match Of The Day” of the 1970s and 1980s. In an age in which every single match seems to be recorded for posterity, it’s worth remembering that, for many years, the Football League’s fear of television cameras meant that not even every match was recorded. Under the television rights package...

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Why England’s World Cup Is Far From Being In The Bag

When the English do something badly – and, let’s face it, this is not an uncommon appearance – it can be toe-curling. How many of you remember the bidding for the 2006 World Cup? The excrutiating sight of Manchester United being withdrawn from the World Cup to travel to Brazil for the World Club Cup and then finishing from their group. The FA reneging on their agreement to stand aside in bidding for the tournament in exchange for German support for Euro 96. The arrogance of it all was jaw-dropping, and the biggest surprise of all was that they got as far with as they did. We have, however, been led to believe that 2018 is our destiny. This is the fault of the Olympic Games. Five years ago no-one in England would have thought it possible that this country would be chosen for anything, but the amazingly successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games gave just enough people just enough “can do” attitude to think that it might be possible. Over the last couple of years, FIFA have sent out unsurprisingly conflicting messages about England’s suitability to host such a tournament, but the truth of the matter is that the decision has yet to be made. However, far from being the cake walk that some may have expected, nine other countries are likely to be tabling bids against...

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