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Four Things Match of the Day Must Do to Avoid Becoming Extinct

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Like Pavlov's dog I am conditioned to respond to certain things in certain ways. One of those is childlike excitement at hearing the Mariachi-style music of Match Of The Day starting up on a Saturday night.

But in recent years the BBC has conducted a ruthlessly efficient reconditioning campaign to rival that of A Clockwork Orange. The result? I am emotionally dead to MOTD.

By the time it is screened at 10.30pm I've generally seen all the goals, understand the debating points and have seen/heard the arguments on social media or on radio. Essentially, MOTD is offering nothing new.

In spite of paying more than £170m for rights to some of the most desirable sporting footage going the BBC is wasting its opportunity - and I'm not alone in suggesting it has totally lost its touch.

MOTD is a programme with no unique selling point. The biggest issues generally boil down to how bad and overpaid the presenters are or Lawro's hideous choice of shirt.

MOTD does little more than lull me into sleep - and that's a terrible failing by the BBC.

To avoid adding to the wave of negative commentary about the programme, here's four things I believe MOTD urgently needs to do before it becomes seriously at risk of extinction.

Develop the Conversation on Social Media

One thing football fans love to do is talk and debate the game, but beyond the anti-MOTD tweets it's near impossible to have an informed discussion on social media.

A verified Twitter account #BBCMOTD does exist with almost 200,000 followers, but a brief glance through the tweets from this account reveals it is woefully misused.

#BBCMOTD should be at the centre of all football debate, bossing the agenda, prompting debate and engaging football fans.

On Facebook the Match of the Day page has 1.5m likes - pretty impressive. Fans comment in the thousands, but the activity from MOTD is again, dreadful. When I looked on Tuesday 16 December, the last post was the about the programme's running order from 8 December (1,074 likes and 277 comments by the way - fans care).

Instagram drew a blank. Where's the green room pictures? Why doesn't MOTD give fans something extra?

On social media MOTD is missing a massive opportunity. That's a straight red.

Learn From BBC Question Time

#BBCQT has become THE current affairs/political event of the week. Not only does it engage its fans on social media, but it also makes its studio space work much harder.

#BBCQT does not have a fixed set, instead roaming around the country to get opinion and it works. This is something MOTD could easily achieve.

Beyond this the things which really work are: 1) the live audience and 2) the panel.

MOTD is gagging for a live studio audience similar to #BBCQT and even the 5 Live Debate. Why not have 100 passionate fans who have the chance to ask a questions based on the day's action? It works on Question Time and it would work on MOTD.

But what really gets to me and millions of others are the pundits. If reports are to be believed they are paid thousands to appear. And for what? I'm not going to go into a rant about it here, it gets boring.

What I believe would work better is a revolving Question Time-style panel of experts, from ex-players, managers, refs and writers to offer insight around the day's games and what they mean for the season. To be honest, I wouldn't be against the likes of Mr Lineker chairing.

In short, the days of a presenter and two pundits lazily running through highlights are gone.

Have a Personality

Love it or loath it, Soccer AM has a personality. It's laddish, it's silly and guess what, it's popular. If MOTD was a mate of mine I'd not know how to describe him.
'Nice bloke, but a bit dull' might be the best I could do.

Be Number One at Analysis

It constantly amazes me, when a great pundit offers insight, how little I really know about football. But I rarely get that from MOTD. It has no authority.

Gary Neville's efforts have won much praise. Please BBC learn from him.

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