Season 3 Episode 30

Match of the Day

It’s the football show that has become a British institution. But this week, it burst out of the BBC studios and into the offices of the UK government.
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Episode Notes

It’s the football show that has become a British institution. A must-watch every Saturday night for football fans in the UK, showing highlights, interviews and analysis of the day’s games.

The intro music is iconic; the host and pundits now genuine TV stars. And this week, with one Gary Lineker tweet, its reach and power were further demonstrated, bursting out of the BBC studio and into the offices of the UK government.


  1. Institution: a custom or tradition that has existed for a long time and is accepted as an important part of a particular society.
    “Match of the Day is a British institution.”

  2. Impartial: able to judge or consider something fairly without allowing your own interest to influence you.
    ”A referee must be impartial.”

  3. Tolerance: willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them.
    ”Football is a great way to promote tolerance of people from diverse backgrounds.”


It's the football show that has become a British institution. A must-watch every Saturday night for football fans in the UK. Showing highlights, interviews and analysis of the day's games, the intro music is iconic, the hosts and pundits now genuine TV stars. And this week, with one Gary Lineker tweet, its reach and power were further demonstrated, bursting out of the BBC studio and into the offices of the UK



Tommy - 01:14:
降板騒動?What does that mean?


Tommy -01:20:
降板騒動. There you go, learning some Japanese.


引退後はサッカー番組、Match of the Dayの司会者として活躍していて、イギリスのサッカー、スポーツ界の顔と言ってもいいんじゃないかなと、オリンピックなんかもね、司会している、かなり有名な人にあることが起きまして、イギリス政府の難民・移民政策をツイッターで批判していて、それをきっかけに司会を降板させられ、日曜日この間のマッチオブザデーは出演者がいない放送になってました。そのときに、トミーとこれについて喋ろうかっていう話をSlackでやり取りしてて、そしたらね、戻ってくるらしいですよね今週からはね。

Tommy - 02:29:
Hmm. Yeah, we'll cover a lot of that today. We actually wanted to do Match of the Day anyway. We wanted to cover this. It's a very important part of British football culture. So it was on our list and then, yeah, the events of the past week made it very good timing.


Tommy - 03:12:
The first word, which I used in the introduction, is 'institution.' "A custom or tradition that has existed for a long time and is accepted as an important part of a particular society."

There are a couple of other meanings of this word, but in the context of today's episode: "Match of the Day is a British institution." Basically, it means it's an extremely important part of British culture.


Tommy - 03:52:
The second word is an important one for this week. Impartial. "Able to judge or consider something fairly without allowing your own interest to influence you." For example, "a referee must be impartial.” The BBC tries to be impartial with how it presents the news. And this is where the problem happened this week.


Tommy - 04:39:
The opposite of impartial is partial, which basically means the same as biased. Yeah. However, there are also other meanings for the word partial, so be careful with that. Partial means not whole, you know, one part of something. So it can be confusing, but, yeah, in this context, it means biased or unbiased.

Tommy - 04:59:
The third word is tolerance; "a willingness to accept behaviour and belief that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them." "Football is a great way to promote tolerance of people from diverse backgrounds."

日本語は寛容、寛大です。よく使っていて、僕が覚えてるのゼロ トレランス トゥ レーシズムという言葉はサッカーのときによく使ってましたね。

Tommy - 05:22:
That's right, yes. And there was a lot of tolerance and intolerance shown in the past week in this on all sides of this argument. So we'll talk about that a bit later. Let's talk about Match of the Day to start with, the programme. As we said, it's a British institution, it's an extremely important part of British football culture. It first aired on the BBC on the 22nd of August 1964.


Tommy - 06:10:
Yeah. But it wasn't welcome initially. There were fears that having matches on TV would lead to fewer people going to matches. So the compromise was that they would only show the matches once all of the matches had finished for that day, basically, meaning at night, and they wouldn't announce which match was to be shown. So one important thing, actually, is Match of the Day these days. It shows highlights from all of the matches on that day, but. Back then, it was one match, basically. So they wouldn't announce which one they were going to show.


Tommy -07:24:
These days, each match has around ten minutes of highlights and the order of the matches is very important. If you look at Gary Lineker's replies on Twitter every Sunday morning our time, you will see lots of people complaining, why wasn't my team shown first? That was a more interesting game. Why was I shown last? Things like that. Always people complaining about it, so it's quite funny. And after the highlights of the match, the panel, which is typically Gary Lineker and then two other pundits, will analyse the match. They'll go through the highlights and break them down, show why teams scored goals, bad defending, and things like that.


Tommy - 08:15:
Yeah, that's right. That's something that I feel these days. I think Match of Day is a little bit out of date, maybe. We might talk about our opinions on the show a bit later. But it feels like an old version of watching the highlights of football, because yeah, the idea is you don't know the results, so you wait until Match of the Day, but if it starts at 10:30, 11:00 at night, that's a long time to wait. You've probably looked at social media already. You probably watch the matches either legally or illegally, if you're a big fan.


Tommy - 08:51:
Yeah, it's a long, long day if you just want to watch some football highlights, so there are other ways to do it now. But getting back to the show, typically so, as I say, the order is very important. Typically, the games that are shown first are the most important or the most exciting. And then, for example, a 0-0 draw would be the last one shown, probably. And as they go through the matches, the discussion and the highlights get shorter and shorter.

Gary Lineker became the presenter in 1999, taking over from a guy called Des Lynham. Since then, I think if you say Match the Day to anyone, they think of Gary Lineker immediately. He is the show now. Gary Lineker I think.


Tommy - 09:39:
That's right, yeah. And interestingly, they actually lost the rights to show Premier League matches around the year 2000. So there was a few years where Match the Day couldn't actually show Premier League matches. I'm not exactly sure what they did. I couldn't find any information or archive on that. But, yeah, they had a few years without the Premier League, apparently.


Tommy - 10:13:
That's right, yeah. It went to a company called ITV. Over the years, Match of the Day, apart from Gary Lineker, Match of the Day has featured and also made many famous names. There's some very famous ones. Jimmy Hill. Alan Hansen. Ian Wright. Alan Shearer. Jermain Jenas. Danny Murphy. Mark Lawrenson. These are just a few that come off the top of my head. And also two extremely famous Match of the Day moments.

Back in 2016 or 2017 it was, after Leicester won the Premier League. Well, before they won it, Gary Lineker said, if Leicester win the Premier League, I'm going to do the first show of next season in my underpants.


Tommy - 11:10:
That's right, yeah. I don't think he actually thought Leicester would win the league. I don't think many people did. He definitely didn't. But, yeah, they did, obviously. And Gary Lineker, if nothing else, he's a man of his word. He does what he says, I believe, and this is a great example of that, he said he'd do it in his pants, and he did. However, it was just the introduction. I don't think he did the whole show in his pants because that would have been cold, I think.


Tommy - 11:35:
Yeah. And there's another very, very famous moment on Match of the Day, a very famous quote. Before Gary Lineker's time, a guy called Alan Hansen was on the show, an ex-footballer, and he said a very famous line about the Manchester United team in 1995, I believe it was, when he said, "you can't win anything with kids."

So Man United had what, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, all of these young, amazing players, but they still hadn't really proved themselves. And he said you'll never win it. You won't win the Premier League with all those young players. What happened? Man United won the Premier League.


Tommy - 12:43:
Yeah, a very famous mistake. So let's talk a bit about the show, our opinion. Did you watch the show when you lived in London?


Tommy - 14:05:
So I said before, I feel it's out of date. I think that's true. What I would say, actually, having thought about it a little bit more as we're talking, is I think it's amazing if you went to a match that day.

So I remember back when I lived in London, going to Spurs, a 3:00 p.m. match, you can't watch the other matches on that day, typically, so you may go to the pub afterwards, have some dinner, go home, relax, turn on Match of the Day and then watch all of the highlights from the day. I think that's a really nice routine for people. Yeah, that was definitely one of my favourites. However, if you go to a game, you have a few beers, it's tough to stay up till midnight watching football highlights.


Tommy - 14:47:
Yeah. I do also think they take it very seriously, the analysts. They really dive in quite deep sometimes, and it's deeper than I need. I like just seeing the highlights and a little bit of discussion. It doesn't need to be too deep, but it feels very like this is the most important job in the world, kind of. That's the feeling I get from it, but maybe that's just me.


Tommy - 15:19:
I feel like it's probably almost too long as well. It usually lasts about 90 minutes. It's like a full match where they could probably shorten it. Not so much analysis, but yeah, I'm sure there are definitely people who like that, too.

Gary Lineker, what do you think of him?


Tommy - 15:51:
Suna no hito?


Tommy - 15:56:
Yeah, he's definitely a very, very clean image person. Of course, very famously, Gary Lineker never got a yellow card in his career.


Tommy - 16:06:
Yeah, that's right. So I think that kind of has extended into his broadcast career, where he is, despite what's happened in the last week, he is not controversial. He's actually very opinionated. On Twitter, he says quite a lot about the government and things, but this was the first time that I can remember him really getting involved in anything of this kind of nature.


Tommy - 16:40:
Yeah, let's talk about it. So on March 7th, the UK government. We're recording on March 15th. So it's just over a week.


Tommy - 16:49:
Yeah. The UK Government put out a video of Home Secretary Suella Braverman announcing a new bill to stop illegal asylum seekers from entering the country.


Tommy - 17:45:
So the video was posted on Twitter and Gary Lineker quoted that saying, "good heavens, this is beyond awful." He also said, the policy that the Government announced is "in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 1930s." So, basically, comparing the current UK government with Nazi Germany, which is obviously a very emotional kind of claim. It set in motion a crazy few days that engulfed the nation. And eventually, the BBC decided to stand Gary Lineker down as host of Match of the Day because he broke impartiality rules. So that's that word that we used in the intro, in the vocab: impartial. He broke those rules.


Tommy - 18:55:
That's right. So this led to other pundits, like Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, saying they would not appear on the show in support of Gary Lineker. And so, in the end, as you said earlier I think, Match of the Day went ahead without any hosts, no commentary, no analysis, just match coverage, just highlights that only lasted 20 minutes.


Tommy - 19:23:
Yeah. I watched it, actually, I watched a little bit of it.


Tommy - 19:27:
Yeah, it wasn't too bad. It was basically what I was saying. All of the annoying stuff with the analysis was gone.


Tommy - 19:39:
On March 13th, which was only a couple of days ago, the BBC and Gary Lineker released statements to say they had come to an agreement over the use of social media and he would return to the show the following week.


Tommy - 20:16:
That's right. So let's talk about our opinions on this a little bit. The first thought that comes to my head is, this was all so dumb, just really stupid, what happened here. First of all, Gary Lineker, in my opinion, was correct. The UK government's policy, similar to Australia's -- we had a very similar policy about stopping illegal asylum seekers coming by boat, is something I personally am very much against. I think we should be helping these people, not turning them away.

I also think Lineker is right to tweet his views. It's his personal Twitter account. He should be allowed to say that. The BBC way way way overstepped the mark with how they reacted to this, likely because they were under pressure from the UK government. I have no doubt people in the government contacted the head of the BBC saying, "this is something we can't allow to happen" basically. The crazy thing is that there are other people on the BBC saying very similar nature of things, just on the other side. So, people who are against immigrants and things like that, they're allowed to say it, but Gary Lineker wasn't. There's a big issue there too.

Ultimately, the one thing that I think most of all is this stupid saga has just taken attention off the real issue. And the real issue is human beings fleeing war-torn countries and horrendous, really bad situations, looking for safety and a better life. Instead of talking about them, we're talking about a millionaire ex-footballer. Millionaire BBC TV executives disagreeing about something on Twitter. That's why I think it's so dumb.






Tommy - 24:30:
And look, I think there definitely needs to be rules for people on Twitter about what they can say. The thing is, Gary Lineker, only complained about the words that were used in the video, the messaging. Definitely, every government needs a policy around illegal immigrants and refugees. You can't just let everyone in, because is just impossible. But the way that the Conservative Government of the UK, the way that the Conservative Government of Australia used to talk about these people is what really makes some people angry, like Gary Lineker. And that's where I agree.


Tommy - 25:16:
Yeah, definitely. I think it'll just go back to normal. And that's the problem, right? Everyone forgets, the government will push forward with this policy. I hope Gary Lineker doesn't just let it go. I hope he keeps speaking out because he has a platform. He can bring awareness to this. I think you mentioned, maybe, he actually houses refugees. He lets people who enter the UK stay at his house. He's not just criticising without doing anything, he is actually helping these people as well. So I think he's definitely got the right to speak about this more than many people do.


Tommy - 26:06:
Yeah. I hate this so much.


Tommy - 26:15:
Definitely. I hate this so much. Keep sports and politics apart, because they only say that when they don't agree with it. If they agreed with that opinion, then, yeah, no problem. So, for example, I don't know, Qatar or whatever, anything like that. Newcastle and Saudi Arabia. Sports and politics is definitely mixing there, but we're getting money, so who cares? It's just so hypocritical.


Tommy - 27:06:
In this world we live in, sports, football is one of the biggest things, the most popular thing in the world, basically. It is inevitable that it's going to mix with politics and general life. It's just going to happen.


Tommy - 27:47:
So I would be like Gary Lineker. I'd say, "I don't care. I'm going to say…"


Tommy - 27:57:
If you don't like what we say, then you shouldn't sponsor our programme, basically.

Tommy - 28:03:
It's a very deep topic as well, so we can only give our small opinions that don't really matter much. A weird week in the life of a TV programme and a TV host.

So we received a few comments recently. In fact, I broke our website for a couple of days and we got a few people writing to us saying we can't comment. Just so you know, we received everything. So thank you very much. I got all of the comments. I just got them in one big batch. Sorry for breaking the website, but thank you to everyone who sent in a comment over the last couple of weeks. We're going to read one that we got thanks to Westernさん from last week's episode.


Tommy - 29:17:
Thank you very much. That's a very nice comment. First of all, yeah, thank you very much again to Hagiharaさん. It was a great talk we had with him about some of the good work he's doing over there. It's interesting that Westernさん says this about our guest episodes, because sometimes I find, at least for editing, they're the more difficult ones to kind've got three people speaking two languages, it's kind of tough to make sure that the conversation makes sense. So I'm glad that it was received well.


Tommy - 30:20:


Tommy - 30:29:
We hopefully get some new good guests lined up and bring you some more soon. All right, well, thank you very much, as always, for listening. Send your comments, your feedback, your thoughts, anything we'd love to hear from you. You can send it via the website or on Twitter, and we'll read out some next week. Thank you very much. See you again next time.

皆様からのお便りお待ちしております。「サッカーx英語 ポッドキャスト」と調べていただけるとGoogleで上の方に出てきます。各回の放送の下の方にコメントできるとこありますので、そちらからお便りなどお待ちしております。 それでは、また来週です。Bye for now.

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