Match Of The Day 2: The Murray Era

Match Of The Day 2: The Murray Era

By on Aug 16, 2010 in Latest, Opinion | 9 comments

Well, I confidently suggested that the seemingly ubiquitous Colin Murray was the ideal fit for the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day 2’ and its more relaxed view of the weekend’s football, and that Adrian Chiles would be “Adrian Who?” before long. Was I right? At the end of this Sunday’s first show, I wasn’t sure. Then I looked back at the notes I made and realised that the few bad things about the slightly tinkered-with format were just that – about the format, not about Murray himself.

Every change to last year’s programme arrangement jarred with me, particularly the obsession with the past and what I fear will be an annual feature – the excuse to show an old picture of Mark Lawrenson with a moustache. I can already hear Murray’s Co. Antrim drawl telling us, by October, that “we can’t find a reason to show a picture of Lawro with a tache this week… but, hey, who needs an excuse when it’s this funny?” You need an excuse, Colin, because it isn’t funny.

The apparent ditching of the closing “2Good 2Bad” sequence is also a mistake. Some of the quirkier on-field moments were incorporated into the match round-ups; Joe Hart kicking Kolo Toure up the arse like he was Bishop Brennan of Father Ted fame and Rory Delap’s mishurled long throw. But I especially enjoyed the off-field contributions to this feature, and this week I’d certainly wanted to have seen again the Arsenal fan behind Pepe Reina after the Gunners’ equaliser who looked as if he could push Ian Wright into second place in an Ian Wright lookalike contest.

The programme suggested that the music budget only stretched to internal BBC acquisitions, hence the Grange Hill theme’s dominance of the opening stages. And whilst the “things we’d sort of like to see again” slot is a good idea, having a Top 10 in the very first programme has possibly used up a quarter of an entire season’s material. But about Murray himself, I felt vindicated. If his slightly whimsical, jokey style is not your cup of tea, then “MOTD2” probably wasn’t/isn’t your cup of tea, either.

Murray knows the game, of that there was no real doubt. But he was also able to facilitate studio discussion every bit as well as Adrian Thingy. And he almost immediately passed the ultimate interviewer’s test, the ability to ask the questions the viewers were asking themselves. Pundits Lawrenson and Dixon believed Joe Cole’s dismissal was justified, the referee “had no choice” etc. And Murray hadn’t agreed at the time – although he sheepishly admitted that Cole’s long-jump lunge “looks worse every time I see it.”

But Dixon chose a funny way of justifying his view that the red card was right. “Mark Hughes used to do that to me all the time, leave his foot in there.” Along with the others who felt Cole’s dismissal to be between harsh and downright wrong, Murray was quick to ask “Was he ever sent off for that?” The answer was, of course, “no.” Lawrenson immediately interjected with “it was a different game, then.” But although it might have been a different game when Lawrenson was playing in those zany moustaches, Dixon was only talking of last decade, for which the “different game” excuse holds less water.

Dixon is among the best pundits on current telly. And it is rare for him to lapse into the lazy punditry mode which does for Lawrenson and the intelligent-if-he-can-be-bothered Alan Hansen. Murray doesn’t look ready to let him do so, and the two work well together partly because of this. The accents apart, Murray is very similar to his predecessor, which coming from this keyboard is a compliment. And “MOTD2” still looks a better bet all-round than it’s big Saturday night/Sunday morning sibling. So, ditch the facial hair obsession and the Grange Hill music (which is still swirling around in my head as I type this, 20 hours later) and the programme is a winner again. Adrian Who? indeed.

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    9 Comments

  1. Actually cannot stomach Colin Murray. So detestably smug it makes me want to commit criminal acts. Hence, MOTD2 is going to be very, very difficult for me from now on. Which is a shame, as I actually quite enjoyed it under Chiles – and there aren’t many BBC football shows I like nowadays, as their World Cup coverage demonstrated admirably.

    Jonathan

    August 17, 2010

  2. You know, it’s funny but I much preferred MOTD2 without the desperate “I’m one of the lads” posturing of Chiles. I think his career move to ITV has proven to be the way to the same elephants graveyard as the Des Lynhams of this world.
    The one thing the BBC does do is allow it’s presenters to talk to an audience without having to condense what they say into bit sized pieces in order to make way for the adverts. Chiles likes the sound of his own voice so much that the necessity to make way for a Tampax Ad may prove too much for him to bare!

    Lol James

    August 17, 2010

  3. I agree with the gist of what you’ve written, but do not share your enthusiasm for Colin Murray; I tried. I mean I want it to be a success because I’m a football fan and usually preferred MoTD2 to MoTD1. Its time someone advised Colin that if he’s to become the man he needs to be to do this job then he needs to put away those childish things and grow-up a little. Viz-style humour is sooo last century. Last Sunday’s prog. was a failure, and managed only to lend the Adrian Chiles’ hosting era a gravitas I had never previously noticed.

    Ditching the 2Good-2Bad spot is a real mistake; both vindictive and short-sighted. Reprising all that dreadful ‘aged film treatment’-edit-suite malarkey is as effective as taking off Defoe and substituting Heskey when you really need a goal: a complete waste of time and effort. This stuff was teeth-grindingly tedious during Colin Murray’s World Cup Highlights programme, and it has not improved any since then.

    Oh well, at least we have Sky and Setanta, and I never imagined I’d be constucting that sentence and meaning it!

    David Robinson

    August 17, 2010

  4. I kind of like Colin Murray on MOTD2. His delivery doesn’t seem as forced as Adrian Chiles, and, like you said, he gets more out of his analysts than Chiles did. As for the format, I’m disappointed to see 2 Good 2 Bad deep sixed, but that’s the only quibble I have so far. Some of the segments (like the Top 10s) may have just been filler, as there was only one match on the day and 50 minutes in the programme. I want to reserve judgment on the format for a few weeks, until it settles down, but Murray puts Chiles (who I’m enjoying better on ITV, actually) to shame as MOTD2 presenter.

    Thompson

    August 21, 2010

  5. I find Murray most irritating – please replace him asap.

    Macbuck

    August 29, 2010

  6. Jonathan ..im right with you on this one what a right tosser sooo far up himself and the billious chatter and prttle of oooh arnt i good ..no murray you are a dim wit suck ..thankfully i have a mute button

    terry

    August 29, 2010

  7. Dear BBC,

    Please replace Colin Murray from hosting MOTD2 as he is destroying this lovely show for us. His lack of humor and inability to interact with guests and co-hosts makes viewing awkward and uncomfortable and for sure not the bit interesting. I do not know whether the new additions to the show are his own inventions but if judging from the flatness of his television persona it seems they are. MOTD and MOTD2 are two of the very few remaining shows worthwhile watching; you need to preserve them as much as possible and as long as you do so you can continue to rely on our faithful viewing for years to come. If you don’t I am afraid that it is not just me that will very soon loose interest.

    Costas

    September 26, 2010

  8. i still watch motd2,but i don,t know for how long more,get rid of that presenter he hasen,t got a clue,i cant belive the bbc appointed him ,so please get your standards back quick ,while you still have few viewer,s left

    micky white

    October 18, 2010

  9. I have tried to give Colin Murray the benefit of the doubt, but his delivery is actually annoying – who wants to actively switch something on to be annoyed?

    Liam C

    October 9, 2011

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