Instead of leaving the running order up to a real person, whose judgement can be called into question, there should be a formula for deciding this, based on nothing but cold, hard facts. The best way is to link the order to position in the league table at the time. I have done a mock-up of this for last Saturday's Match Of The Day, so you can see how this would work.
There were six games played on Saturday:
- Manchester City vs. Aston Villa
- Hull vs. Crystal Palace
- Leicester vs. Burnley
- Liverpool vs. West Brom
- Sunderland vs. Stoke
- Swansea vs. Newcastle
And this was the Premier League table on Saturday, as Match Of The Day went on-air:
So, my formula would take an aggregate league position (ALP), by calculating the mean average of the two teams' standings in the table. (For example, if the top two teams in the table were to play each other, their ALP would be 1.5 [1st place + 2nd place, divided by two] and so this would be the first game shown.)
Under this system, Saturday's Match Of The Day running order would therefore be as follows:
- ALP 4.5 - Manchester City vs. Aston Villa
- ALP 9.5 - Liverpool vs. West Brom
- ALP 11 - Swansea vs. Newcastle
- ALP 11 - Hull vs. Crystal Palace
- ALP 13 - Sunderland vs. Stoke
- ALP 14 - Leicester vs. Burnley
(As you can see, two games have identical ALPs - of the four teams involved in these two games, Swansea are the highest in the table, so their match with Newcastle gets shown first.)
Oh, but what if a game between two teams lower down the table is really exciting?!
…you might be saying.
Well, that doesn't matter! When the formula is in control, the order is what it is - it isn't affected by subjectivity, and the teams whose matches are shown first have earnt that right through their previous good results, so there can be no complaints. And besides, if the 'exciting' games aren't always right at the start, there's more chance of everyone watching all the way to the end.
The BBC need to implement my system of ordering matching matches now. They will thank me.