Match of the Day – Missing Editions

As you know, Match of the Day started in August 1964, and ITV’s answer, The Big Match, in 1968 (running until 1992).

It’s usually the case with long-running television series that some, at least, of the footage is lost or destroyed along the way. I’ve often thought what an excellent digitial TV channel could be made just with MOTD and Big Match reruns, broadcast straight without editing or comment.

Before MOTD, of course, Pathe News covered football to some degree, and quite a number of their quick little films have been Youtubed – almost certainly in contravention to their stiff copyright demands (look for the yellow “Preview Only” written across whatever foggy black-and-white coverage you’re viewing). The Pathe material can be frustrating – being, as it is, highlights of highlights of highlights, with often sensationally condescending commentary.

I’ve been enjoying watching the reams upon reams of complete MOTDs and Big Matches on Google TV Beta, and that leads me to ask, does anyone who reads here regularly know if MOTD has in fact lost many editions down the years? Not every week of season 66-7 seems to be there, although it might not yet have been made available. And I can’t find any editions from the first Derby County championship year, which is extremely frustrating. There’s only one brief clip on Youtube of that side that I know of, and the MOTD DVD, though excellent, doesn’t add anything.

The Pathe footage on Google is more generous – rather than put up the “official” films from their excellent website – the sort of thing you’d have seen at the cinema in the 1920s and 1930s – it’s the unfinished rushes, if I’ve used the right term. No commentary and no editing – often poor camera angles, bad lighting and so forth, but extended periods of play. They’ll have knocked out the final film from these rough and lengthy shots. Fascinating stuff – there’s a whole sequence of Alex James that reminds me of a superior Aaron Lennon. I’ll post it here once I’ve worked out how.

Here’s a Pathe from Youtube for the time being. The quality is dreadful by comparison. Listen out for the train whistle in the background!


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