Day: October 8, 2011

Voices Of Football: Forty Years Of John Motson

We’re kicking off another new series on Twohundredpercent this evening, on the subject of the commentators that have brought the game to life. This evening, as an opener, here’s a look at a many that celebrates the fortieth anniversary of his television debut this weekend, and a man who went on to become a voice of football in a way that perhaps no-one else in Britain did: John Motson. Forty years ago tomorrow, a twenty-six year old radio commentator made the step up from BBC Radio Two to the televisions screens. The match, between Liverpool and Chelsea, turned out to be something of a damp squib – a goalless draw, it took second billing to that evening’s main event on Match Of The Day, a 2-2 draw between Derby County and Tottenham Hotspur – but it proved to be the beginning of an era. John Motson, one of the most instantly recognisable voices in the history of sports broadcasting, had arrived, and forty years on, his place in the landscape of English football is unquestionable. Motson’s promotion was, in itself, a sign of the times within the corporation. A year earlier, Match Of The Day had been revamped with the previous title music, “Drum Majorette”, being replaced by the eponymous piece, written by Barry Stoller, which still exists to this day and has become one of the most instantly...

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The BBC Is Wrong To Consider Slashing Its Local Sports Coverage

One of the more pleasing aspects of modern life is the plurality of media that is presented to us. The internet has given us a plethora of options for reading, watching and listening that would have been unimaginable twenty years ago, and we should be grateful for the fact that, no matter what our particular inclinations might be, whether serious or irreverent, whether demanding fact or fantasy, we will usually be able to find it, if we look hard enough. One example of how what might have been treated as an afterthought but has instead flourished into essential weekly listening for thousands is BBC London’s Non-League Show. In the past, the show would have been tucked away in a quiet corner of the BBC’s local schedules, available only to those that live in the London area, but this particular show has blossomed thanks to canny usage of social media, with a downloadable version available to everybody and a place on the BBC’s Iplayer service which ensures that people that wish to hear it can do at any time. Now, however, cuts at the BBC are threatening its existence, as well as a broader range of local sport, and we should, perhaps, take a moment to pause and consider whether the BBC is acting rashly in cutting a local service that simply will not be replaced by commercial alternatives. Those...

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England Totter Towards Euro 2012

For all the panic and soul-searching, then, England have qualified for next year’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, although their performance last night was again patchy and hinted at a team that is likely to struggle against the very best in Europe next summer. Moreover, England’s night – which should, or might, otherwise have been an evening for celebration of some sort – was further soiled by the decision of Wayne Rooney to take a kick at┬áMiodrag Dzudovic with just over fifteen minutes of the match left to play and get himself a red card and a suspension for the start of next summer’s tournament. As ever, England will go into a major tournament having created more questions than they have answered. The build-up to match reflected the indifferent attitude that the English public seems to have held towards its national team for some time, now, with the most common reflection of the couple of days before the match seeming to fall somewhere between, “they’re interrupting the Premier League for a fortnight for this?” and “I didn’t even realise that they were playing on Friday night”. Such indifference might have been considered to giving the team something of a helping hand – when has the hype circus which seems to follow this team around at times actually been beneficial to them? – but when the chips descended, this...

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