12 of football's most memorable theme tunes

Nick Moore takes a misty-eyed look back at a dozen jangles that have lived longest in the memory - whether for the right or wrong reasons...

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We've enjoyed quite an array of football coverage over the years, but programmes only get one chance to make a first impression. Where some intro theme tunes have become the stuff of legend, others are best forgotten. Read on for a comprehensive guide to the best – and worst – footy-related dittys in circulation...

1) Match of the Day

The planet’s longest-running TV football show also boasts the BBC’s most iconic theme. Frankly, it’s almost the national anthem – in fact, shouldn’t we just jog on that plodding dirge God Save The Queen and officially install MOTD’s glorious staccato parping as England’s official melody? It’d certainly put a spring in the step at Olympic medal ceremonies, Three Lions friendlies and Last Night of the Proms.

Anyway, the ditty was composed by Barry Stoller six years into the show’s run in 1970; he eventually bashed it out in his basement with a drummer and a trumpeter. “Those fanfare harmonies give the music a gladiator feel, akin to entering the ancient games arena in Rome,” he reckons. It also evokes getting some toast on and slumping into the sofa. Great work, Bazza.

2) Sportsnight

Between 1968 and 1997, midweek football meant Sportsnight. On Tuesday or Wednesday nights, we marvelled at impossibly romantic, foggy European Cup Winners' Cup ties from beyond the Iron Curtain (as well as FA Cup replays and midweek internationals) brought to us by BBC Sport’s fab five anchormen: Carpenter, Coleman, Gubba, Rider and Lynam. The theme tune chimed perfectly with the demeanour of these smooth, jacket-clad sex titans: an urgent, news-bulletin marimba with swinging, big band good times dolloped on top, it suggested that while they may be serious men of sport, they’d be popping the champagne corks in a jazz club literally minutes after the programme finished.

3) Sports Report

Radio’s timeless Match of the Day equivalent, Sports Report’s Out Of The Blue evokes a green and pleasant land that doesn’t exist and never did – yet upon entering its aural wonderland it’s impossible not to believe that we aren’t about to cut over to Winston Churchill direct from the War Office, who will tell us that we’ve just given Mr Hitler a bloody nose in Normandy.

There's no bluetooth or ISIS here, you can leave an apple pie to cool on the windowsill without it being snatched by cyber perverts, and after a picnic with some ladies in long frocks and frilly umbrellas, we can all gather around granddad’s wireless and enjoy Tom Finney score a splendid goal for North End. Impressive.