Watching The Match
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Football and television have been intertwined in culture for more than half a century and Brian Barwick has played a massive role in the continuing liaison between them. Watching The Match 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 if ever it was needed that football can deliver the dramatic like no other sport.
The BBCs Match of the Day, the first dedicated football highlights show, was first aired in August 1964. The FA Cup Final, for years the only match shown live, suddenly became an all-day event with ITV's FA Cup Wrestling Special FA Cup Final going up against 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.
Satellite television has moved football into a new stratosphere with almost 40 per cent 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.
Watching The Match is full of a fascinating story, personal anecdotes abd interviews from in front of and behind the cameras, spanning 75 years. Written by a man who has held every important post in football television, this is a must-read book for all football fans.
"... the long history of football on the box ... told in detail by Brian Barwick" - Sport magazine
"... celebrating the characters who have regularly brought the beautiful game into our living room for the past 50 years" - Choice magazine