The enduring importance of Match of the Day

When I initially had the idea for this article, my third child, and first son, wasn’t yet born. But on September 7th he arrived into this world. It’s quite the intro for a football blog, but I wanted to take a moment to explore the importance of football in our familial relationships - particularly my relationship with Dad.

Written by: Patrick Johnson



My Dad was a Sheffield United fan as a child, living not too far from Sheffield geographically and likely wanting to pick a local team that drew him in. However, by adulthood he was a rugby man, having played rugby in his youth and refereed into his later years – he often brings this up when players surround a ref in a football match, “I’d send them all off!” he’ll proclaim, watching players harangue the official.

I consider myself lucky though that he was never a ‘pushy parent’. He didn’t want to impose his passions onto his son, instead allowing me to find the hobbies I loved myself. And in 1996, football came along. Initially, this was in the form of the 1996 FA Cup Final, and “Le Roi”, Eric Cantona. But soon after, EURO 96 began and a lifelong love was formed. I followed England’s progress with the enthusiasm any 9-year-old would and was heartbroken at their loss to the Germans on penalties.


My passion was born and with it, my addiction to one particular TV show I started watching in 1996, when the new Premier League season rolled around, and the first time I heard this piece of musicIf you don’t live in the UK, but you like football, you might have heard of 'Match of the Day'. However, being from the UK you most certainly know (and love) the cultural institution that is the BBC’s flagship football programme.

'Match of the Day' is the only way to freely to watch Premier League highlights in the UK (ok, only legal way). And within those 90 minutes of purity are all the goals, all the incidents, gossip and world class pundit analyses which always make you appreciate our sport just a little more.


My Dad may not have been a football man by the time his 9-year-old son irrevocably started watching 'Match of the Day' - that was every Saturday evening. Regardless, it never stopped him from sitting next to me every week to share in my passion. 

Today as a father myself now, I don’t want to be a ‘pushy parent’ and decide what my children's passions should be - particularly with two daughters and now a young son who might not care about football at all.

However, I would be lying to ay it isn't with an extra smile and rush of joy I more recently have opened up for 'Match of the Day' on Sunday mornings. Because now my daughters have started to come and sit with me, curiously asking questions, and often saying “Can we hear the music again?”


My point of writing this blog it turns out - if you have a passion, then share it with the people you love. And if you’ve never watched 'Match of the Day', make sure you get to check it out, if just for that music!



Which TV pundit claimed that you can't win anything with kids?


 Answer: Alan Hansen




Answer: ...