First on MOTD: I can tell you right now who is going to replace John Motson

TIME for a switch of emphasis. (Don’t worry; the usual Last on MOTD nonsense will follow later on. After Saturday’s Match of the Day, in fact.) Christmas is a time for unwanted and disappointing presents from people who don’t really know what stuff you like. So on that basis, I thought I’d chip in with my gift to you all.

And that gift is an analysis of who has been first on Match of the Day the most times this season. You see, when fans of various clubs (plus, of course, Phil Neville) insist their team is always on last (patently impossible), what they’re really trying to say is that their team are always well down the MOTD pecking order.

And do you know what? If you flip it round, and look at which teams are never on first, there are some fans who have got a point here.

I’ve used the same criteria that I’ve employed to judge who is on last (ie. only count the Saturday edition of the show, plus the one Sunday edition in October when there were eight Premier League games played), and there are five teams who have yet to appear first.

Here are the standings:

‘First on Match of the Day’ league table

1. Arsenal: 6
2=. Manchester City: 4
2=. Manchester United: 4
2=. Derby: 4
5. Liverpool: 3
6=. Bolton: 2
6=. Reading: 2
6=. West Ham: 2
6=. Tottenham: 2
6=. Portsmouth: 2
11=. Everton: 1
11=. Aston Villa: 1
11=. Chelsea: 1
11=. Wigan: 1
11=. Sunderland: 1
16=. Newcastle: 0
16=. Middlesbrough: 0
16=. Blackburn: 0
16=. Birmingham: 0
16=. Fulham: 0

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Derby’s high standing (don’t forget, they’re currently top of the Last on MOTD league). Then again, all of their appearances at the top of the show came when they got absolutely battered: 0-4 at Tottenham in August, 0-6 at Liverpool and 0-5 at Arsenal in September, and 0-5 at home to West Ham in November.

Special congratulations to Blackburn who, by playing a large chunk of their games on a Sunday, have managed to avoid being on MOTD first or last all season. (Yes, I know they’ve been the final Sunday game on MOTD2 at least three times this season; but MOTD2 doesn’t count. I’m not going to keep telling you.)

Anyway, that’s all by the by. The real revelation of the ‘First on MOTD’ analysis is that it tells you loud and clear who the BBC are going to replace John Motson with when he finally hangs up his sheepskin coat.

Charles Sale of the Daily Mail, who usually has his finger on the pulse when it comes to sports broadcasting matters, has suggested in the past that there is a three-way fight to replace Motson, with the contenders being Jonathan Pearce, Steve Wilson and Guy Mowbray. (Follow this link; it’s the fifth story down.)

But if you look at which commentators have done the first game on Match of the Day this season (and how often), it seems as if there’s only one man in the race.

1. Jonathan Pearce: 9
2. John Motson: 3
3. Steve Wilson: 2
4=. Simon Brotherton: 1
4=. John Roder: 1
4=. Ian Gwyn Hughes: 1
4=. Tony Gubba: 1

Comprehensive, no? I’d get your money on Pearce… erm, if there’s a bookmaker who takes bets on these things. (They take bets on which game will be last on Match of the Day, so I don’t see why not.)


2 Responses to First on MOTD: I can tell you right now who is going to replace John Motson

  1. Michal says:

    this is absolute gold dust mate. A friend at work was CONVINCED that Man Utd was far and away the leader of the FOMOTD league table.

  2. mikewhalley says:

    If you’re interested, the First on MOTD table (as of January 8th) now looks like this:

    ‘First on Match of the Day’ league table

    1. Arsenal: 7
    2. Manchester United: 5
    3=. Derby: 4
    3=. Manchester City: 4
    3=. Tottenham: 4
    6=. Liverpool: 3
    6=. Reading: 3
    8=. Aston Villa: 2
    8=. Bolton: 2
    8=. Chelsea: 2
    8=. Portsmouth: 2
    8=. West Ham: 2
    13=. Blackburn: 1
    13=. Birmingham: 1
    13=. Coventry: 1
    13=. Everton: 1
    13=. Sunderland: 1
    13=. Wigan: 1
    19=. Fulham: 0
    19=. Middlesbrough: 0
    19=. Newcastle: 0

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