The Match of the Day theme tune is 50

Fifty years ago today, on 15th August 1970, BBC introduced a new theme tune for Match of the Day. It would become an iconic part of British culture.

Young composer Barry Stoller recorded a demo in his London basement using a Clavioline, an early electronic keyboard that replicated the sounds of trumpets.

The BBC then recorded a full orchestra version for the show, but the song lost its magic when it was played perfectly.

So the tune that I first heard that Saturday, and that millions heard every week for decades, was the original home-recorded demo played by three musicians in a basement.

David Coleman introduced the first episode to use the new theme tune. Here are the opening credits:

All four teams wore plain single-colour shorts without sponsor’s names plastered across their chests.

In the main match, I watched Don Revie’s Leeds beat Matt Busby’s Manchester United with a beautiful goal.

Peter Lorimer crossed the ball from the right side of the penalty area towards Mick Jones at the left side.

I assumed Jones would head it back across the box to Allan Clarke, but he scored directly with a powerful header.

In the second match I watched John O’Hare shoot Derby County one up against Chelsea, before Ian Hutchinson scored with two headers to give victory to the reigning FA Cup holders.

For the obsessive among us, the line-ups were:

Manchester United
Alex Stepney, Tony Dunne, Paul Edwards, David Sadler, Ian Ure, Paddy Crerand, Nobby Stiles, John Fitzpatrick, George Best, Bobby Charlton, Brian Kidd.

Leeds
Gary Sprake, Paul Madeley, Terry Cooper, Billy Bremner, Jackie Charlton, Norman Hunter, Peter Lorimer, Allan Clarke, Mick Jones, Johnny Giles, Eddie Gray.

Chelsea
Peter Bonnetti, John Dempsey, Ron Harris, Paddy Mulligan, Marvin Hinton, John Hollins, Peter Houseman, Alan Hudson, Keith Weller, Ian Hutchinson, Peter Osgood.

Derby County
Les Green, Rob Webster, Roy McFarland, Dave Mackay, John Robson, Willie Carlin, Alan Durban, John McGovern, Alan Hinton, Kevin Hector, John O’Hare.

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3 Comments

  1. I always thought it was borrowed from, and not credited to, a folk song I often heard on TV around that time… Football Crazy, by Robin Hall and Jimmy MacGregor. What yah think?

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