atch of the Day: Live & Match of the Day=

The BBC have the rights to show highlights of the Premier League. They also currently broadcast England home live internationals and FA Cup games but these rights pass over to ITV and Setanta Sports from next season.

Match of the Day has long been a bastion of football coverage in the UK. Some think that the programme looks tired and jaded, is that the case?

Presenter: Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker is a legend on the pitch. 48 goals for his country, a golden boot award at the 1986 World Cup, important goals all over the shop. His move to presenting wasn’t a surprising one but after Des Lynam left the corporation for ITV, he was promoted to the top job. At first he was extremely wooden but has slowly eased himself into the role. He certainly isn’t a natural front man like a Keys or a Stelling but has become more relaxed as time has gone on. This incident of how he handled Alan Hansen’s phone going off shows how he has improved.

Commentators: John Motson & Jonathan Pearce

John Motson has been a feature of the BBC’s football output for the best part of four decades. Expected to retire and hang up his microphone after the Euro 2008 Finals, Motson is the epitome of someone who has outstayed their welcome. The BBC’s decision to keep Motty as the #1 and allow Barry Davies to call time on his football career was a terrible one. He has been hampered by the departure of Sir Trevor Brooking as his side-kick for live games, but all in all, Motty has been poor for the past few years.

Jonathan Pearce was brought in as the long term successor to Motty but has failed to impress in his time with Auntie Beeb. Pearce’s style was always suited to radio and seemed to work well on Five, but having moved to the BBC, he has toned down his style and it just doesn’t work. The BBC are certainly behind both Sky and ITV in terms of commentators.

Co-Commentator: Mark Lawrenson

Mark Lawrenson has become the main pundit alongside John Motson for the big live games on the network. He replaced Sir Trevor Brooking who moved on to work with Sport England and has now taken up a job at the FA. Lawrenson is rather sarcastic and doesn’t add a great deal to the game. His insight is solid but nothing special. Much more suited to Match of the Day 2 than he is co-commentating on live games.

Pundits: Alan Hansen & Alan Shearer

Alan Hansen is widely regarded as the #1 pundit on football on British television. Whilst there are some that don’t like his style, I’m not one of them. Hansen has become an institution and doesn’t mince his words. He always gives an honest opinion and shoots from the hip. If the game has been shocking then he’ll tell you, if the referee got it wrong then he’ll tell you, if the player made the wrong decision then he’ll tell you. Alan Hansen is as good as it gets with regards to football punditry.

Alan Shearer has come on board since his retirement from playing. Shearer has become a good foil to Hansen & Lawrenson but is a bit too straight laced. He is probably perfect for the BBC and how they like to conduct themselves, but he is just a bit too dull. Don’t get me wrong, I love Shearer, I always thought he handled the media with respect, his insight is good, but you just never feel the passion coming through in his voice. Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh.

Overall

Overall the BBC should look long and hard at themselves. They have lost ground to the likes of Sky and ITV in recent years. They are undergoing a changing of the guard on the commentary gantry. It will be interesting to see exactly who leads them in the Post Motson era. They have a decent presenter and a solid punditry line-up, elsewhere though they are down with the young upstarts that is Setanta Sports live football output.