Football on 5
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Football on 5 is the principal live football programme on Channel 5 in the UK.
From 1997 to 2007, Channel 5 showed many away qualifying matches involving the home nations. England were shown playing in Poland (twice), Luxembourg, Bulgaria and Albania. This was the high point of Football on 5's early coverage as they showed all the qualifying campaign for Euro 2000 for England
They also showed Scotland games which included their crucial final qualifier for World Cup '98 at home to Latvia, plus trips to Lithuania, Faroe Islands, Czech Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, Latvia, San Marino, Croatia and Belgium. They also showed the second leg of their Euro 2004 play-off with Holland
Many Ireland away matches were shown in qualification for the 2002 World Cup, these included the away matches against Holland, Portugal, Cypurs, Andorra, and Estonia. This stopped in 2002, but was resumed with Ireland's away match in Israel in 2005.They showed the second leg of their Euro 2004 play-off with Holland
Wales' Euro 2000 qualifiers away to Italy and Bulgaria were and they showed the first Wales football match at the Millennium Stadium against Brazil in 2000. They also covered a Northern Ireland's match in Moldova which was their only match on the network.
Channel 5 won the terrestrial UK rights for the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001, 2003 and 2005 showing a selection of matches including each final along with games featuring any English or Scottish teams who participate in the FIFA World Club Cup. Channel 5's coverage of the FIFA Confederations Cup ended after the 2005 tournament as BBC Sport won the rights and covered the event on BBC Red Button or BBC Three.
Between 2002 and 2004 they showed live matches from the Scottish League Cup, including the two finals; Rangers v Celtic in 2003 and Livingston v Hibs in 2004. Channel 5 usually showed one match per round usually on Thursday nights keeping with the tradition of UEFA Cup matches. Steve Scott was still the host at this time and Jonathan Pearce commentated.
For the 2007/08 season, Channel 5 won the rights to broadcast a live Serie A game on Sunday afternoons, presented by Radio 1 DJ Mark "Chappers" Chapman. Games were also shown on sister channel, Fiver and a highlights show was broadcast on Saturday afterwards. Channel 5 announced in July 2008 that they would not be continuing to cover Italian football for the 2008/09 season. Mark Chapman maintained a relationship with Channel 5 when he hosted a UEFA Cup match in 2008 between Portsmouth F.C. and AC Milan and deputised for Colin Murray whenever he was unavailable. His ties ended when, in 2009, Chapman presented Match of the Day for the first time (with ex-Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez and Martin Keown) in a friendly International between Northern Ireland and Italy in Pisa, which Italy won 3-0. He has since been seen deputising on Final Score on the BBC whenever Gabby Logan has been unavailable or due to her covering other sports such as the 6 Nations and Gymnastics.
Channel 5 have previously covered pre-season friendly games in the run up to new seasons and have done since 1999. Two games from Liverpool's pre season tour were shown in July 2008 with Channel 5's current UEFA Europa League at the helm. Occasional charity games, such as those featuring a team of England Legends, have also been shown on Channel 5. They showed The Carlberg Belfast Challenge in 1998, which Liverpool were in, The Gelderland Tournament the same year with Chelsea and Dennis Bergkamp's testimonial and anything else they could grab in the early days.
European Club Football
The backbone of Channel 5's football coverage consisted of UEFA Europa League matches, which it had shown throughout its existence, and The Uefa Cup. This is Channel 5's longest running football commitment showing matches from this every season since 1997-98 starting with Arsenal back in 1997 until the end of the 2011-12 season. They showed Aston Villa and Rangers a lot in the early days but would only cover the tournament to a point as BBC or ITV would usually have the rights from the quarter finals onwards. Usually Channel 5 showed these on an ad-hoc basis covering sometimes three games in a day from early afternoon to late evening if there were many British clubs playing. For the three seasons starting in 2009/10 season, Channel 5 was the UK’s lead network for Europa League coverage, winning rights to first choice matches in every round and exclusive coverage of the final. They previously held second choice matches and had no final coverage. Matches not covered by Channel 5 are shown on ITV4 or ESPN UK. . When they became the main broadcaster they just picked one match usually at 8pm on a Thursday night.
It had shown matches involving Chelsea and Newcastle United in the last two seasons of the now-defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. They showed The Cup Winners' Cup in the early days of Channel 5, they showed virtually every Chelsea match in 1997-98 and 1998–99 and also Newcastle when they were in it in 1998
At the start of the twenty-first century Channel 5 would occasionally cover Champions League qualifiers involving British teams. They showed qualifiers of Newcastle in 1997, Liverpool in 2001 and 2004 and Manchester United in 2005.
They showed the FIFA World Club Cup Championships in 2008 which Manchester United won with commentary by Dave Woods and Stan Collymore with the usual UEFA Cup team presenting
Channel 5’s football coverage has had a number of presenters over the years. Brough Scott famously presented their first big match, after that it was Jeremy Nicholas for a short period until ITV News presenter Steve Scott, brother of ITV Sport anchor Angus Scott took over as host until 2004, when he was replaced by John Barnes. In 2006, Barnes moved to a roving reporter and co-commentator role. Whenever Barnes wasn't available when he was the host Skys NFL presenter Nick Halling would deputise.
BBC Radio 1 DJ and football enthusiast Colin Murray took over the reins as he already appeared on Channel 5 hosting live NFL. In 2007, his Radio 1 colleague Mark “Chappers” Chapman joined Channel 5 to cover Italian football alongside Laura Esposto. In 2010, Colin Murray left Channel 5 after the final of the Europa League in which Fulham F.C. were beaten 2-1 by Athletico Madrid, to become a full-time host with BBC Sport. Mark Chapman only appeared once more on Channel 5 covering for Colin Murray and with Laura Esposito now presenting in Italy, Channel 5 needed a new host and Jim Rosenthal was appointed to host live Europa League matches, hosting a live match every round up to the final.
Channel 5’s first main commentator was Capital Gold and BBC Radio Five Live man Jonathan Pearce. Pearce hosted an array of football from UEFA Cup, Confederations Cup, Internationals to Scottish Football. Pearce left in Summer 2004 to join the Match of the Day team. John Helm was then the main commentator and filled the role left by Pearce, with other commentaries coming from Gary Bloom, Tony Jones and Jon Champion. In 2007 Dave Woods became first choice and Jones still commentates occasionally for Channel 5.
Channel 5’s regular pundits consisted of Pat Nevin who, from 2009, moved to pitchside before games and in the OB truck at half and full-time; Stan Collymore who briefly replaced John Barnes and is now in the studio alongside Jim Rosenthal, and Graham Taylor who is the principal co-commentator. When needed, guests are used as pundits such as Kevin Ratcliffe. Channel 5 has also used other pundits and commentators when needed, such as Ray Houghton, Terry Butcher, Joe Royle and Stewart Robson.
Uniquely, John Barnes has appeared in every major role for the show: firstly, he hosted the programme then, when Murray was appointed host, Barnes appeared as a co-commentator. He also appeared as a pitchside analyst speaking to resident reporter Dave Beckett, giving his thoughts on the action during the match,at half time and at full-time, and conducting post-match interviews.
Football on Five is channel 5 longest running non news program airing from 1997 to the present however Channel 5 has lost the contract for the Europa League to ITV Sport who now have first and second pick of each round with the rest of the matches being shown on ESPN from the season 2012/13. The matches will be shown on ITV4 and should a British club get to the Quarter Finals onwards then the matches will be shown on ITV1. Channel 5 was not mentioned by UEFA when the rights were announced and it seems unlikely they will win any other big football contracts which puts into doubt the future of Football on 5.
In July 2012, Channel 5 announced that they would be carrying on Football on 5 with pre-season friendly coverage, starting with Southampton vs Ajax on 28 July. However, this was the only match shown and Channel 5 has not broadcast a live football match since this date.