Adam Jones talks about the Match of the Day controversy.
After the horrific events of Saturday 28th October, which included the Leicester City helicopter crash and Glenn Hoddle falling ill (https://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2018/oct/27/hughton-and-hughes-lead-well-wishes-for-glenn-hoddle-video), people on social media were doubting whether highlights of the day’s five Premier League games were going to be shown on the BBC’s Match of the Day. Personally, I feel that showing highlights of the games that night was not insensitive.
This accident, Glenn Hoddle falling seriously ill at the BT studios shortly before he was supposed to go on air and a Brighton fan passing away during their match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Amex Stadium (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/46005913) completed what was arguably one of the darkest days in English football.
The helicopter crash (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-46013381) left everyone very concerned and completely shocked. It is almost inconceivable to think that Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was enjoying his team’s late equaliser against West Ham United hours before he was involved in this awful incident.
Host Gary Lineker started Match of the Day by giving a very sensitive address to the audience stating what had happened, keeping speculation to a minimum. It was clear to see that a lot of thought was put in to what was going to be said on air to the public and how it would be presented.
The show was broadcasted suitably, and it is commendable the way that Lineker handled the situation. What I found especially fitting is the fact that the game at the King Power stadium was broadcast as the first match of the programme. There were no post-match interviews broadcast or analysis by the pundits Phil Neville and Jermaine Jenas, reflecting the fact that there are things in life that are more important than football. That is very true.
However, a lot of happiness in some people’s lives can often be linked to football. Promotion, last minute winners and title wins are just some of the things that cause elation and a feeling of euphoria in football supporters.
What brought Mr Vichai the joy of Leicester’s Premier League title? What made this possible? Only one word is needed to provide the answer to this: football.
I believe football is more than just a game, it is an escape for a lot of people. A game that can be played for fun, for charity, and this game can be played by a lot of people, no matter what your ability is. Therefore, a lot of people including myself would argue that it was right to show highlights of the games.
It is very cliché, but I feel that owner Srivaddhanaprabha would not have wanted Match of the Day to be cancelled, being very heavily emotionally and financially invested in Leicester City since he took over in 2010. He was an incredible man, giving a lot of money to charity (https://www.hinckleytimes.net/news/local-news/leicester-city-chairman-donates-2m-11316495) and providing success to Leicester City through heavy investment, making a lot of supporters happy.
Whilst I understand people would have a different opinion on this, the decision that was taken to show highlights on Match of the Day was the correct one in my opinion. May everyone on board that helicopter rest in peace, and anyone injured on the ground make a full and speedy recovery.
With thanks to Adam Jones