Are You Watching the Match Tonight?
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Football and television have been intertwined in culture for more than 50 years and Brian Barwick has played a massive role in the continuing inter-reaction between them. Are You Watching the Match Tonight? tells the story of how football on television became a national obsession.
The first live football match in England was the 1938 FA Cup final, and the winning goal was a penalty in the last minute of extra time - proof that football can deliver the dramatic like no other sport. Football on television went from grainy film-edits in the 1950s to the first dedicated highlights shows; Match of the Day first aired on 22 August 1964 (ITV's regional shows began in 1965). The FA Cup final, once the only match ever certain to be shown live, became an all-day event with ITV's FA Cup Wrestling Special competing with the BBC's It's An FA Cup Knock-out.
The 1966 World Cup brought live international matches into the public's home for the first time and the BBC coverage of the final will forever be remembered by Kenneth Wolstenholme's legendary, "Some people are on the pitch ... they think it's all over ... here comes Hurst ... it is now!" Soon commentators, presenters and analysts such as Wolstenholme, Barry Davies, John Motson, Brian Moore, Martin Tyler, Keith Macklin, Gerald Sinstadt, Jimmy Hill, Brian Clough and Terry Venables became national figures and their sucessors, Gary Lineker, Gabby Logan, Jeff Stelling, Adrian Chiles, more so.
SatelliteTV moved football into a new stratosphere with almost 40% of all Premier League matches shown live every season and the FA's sale of broadcast rights in 2012 for that league alone brought in £3 billion. Are You Watching the Match Tonight? is full of fascinating stories from in front of and behind the cameras, a remarkable story spanning 75 years. Written by a man who has held every key post in TV football, and filled with personal anecdotes and interviews with famous faces, this is a must-read book for all football fans.