Sunderland in the top three of MOTD screening league

Sunderland's Lamine Kone celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game with teammates during the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light on May 11.
Sunderland's Lamine Kone celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game with teammates during the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light on May 11.
1
Have your say

Sunderland might have ended up in 17th place in the league, but the side’s Match of the Day fixtures put the club as one of the top of the bill.

The club’s appearances on the BBC1 programme put it in third place, featuring 16 times in the first, second and third sections.

Gary Lineker at Old Trafford, who has said he has no regrets about pledging to host Match Of The Day in his underwear following Leicester City's historic title victory.

Gary Lineker at Old Trafford, who has said he has no regrets about pledging to host Match Of The Day in his underwear following Leicester City's historic title victory.

It appeared last just once.

The rankings show its matches were shown first four times, second five times and third on seven occasions.

The survey puts Sunderland behind only Manchester City, who appeared in the top three 21 times, and Arsenal - 18 times.

Newcastle United appeared first on four occasions, second five times and third four times, with a final billing on three nights.

We don’t really bother too much about it - and I think people probably watch other football shows these days anyway, so don’t read too much significance into it.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes

Stoke were bottom of the screening league, with the club appearing last in the running order more than any others during the 2015-16 campaign - it was shown last nine times.

That was despite a third successive top-half finish that featured the attacking talents of Bojan Krkic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic, Mark Hughes’ side closed the BBC’s Premier League highlights show on nine occasions.

West Brom were next on the list, on last eight times, while Bournemouth, Everton and Swansea all received bottom billing on seven occasions, as every club except Arsenal and Manchester City ended the programme at least once.

Stoke opened the programme on three occasions - home wins over Chelsea and Manchester City as well as December’s thrilling 4-3 win at Everton.

The table drawn up to show which Premier League sides appeared the most in which positions on this seaon's Match of the Day show.

The table drawn up to show which Premier League sides appeared the most in which positions on this seaon's Match of the Day show.

But between September 26 and December 12 - a period of time in which the Potters went from 18th to 11th in the table - they were shown last six times in nine appearances.

Potters boss Hughes was not shocked to learn the news.

He said: “That is no surprise at all.

“I think it happens every year, and we have been in the top 10 (in the Premier League) for three years and still can’t shift that title.

George Forster, chairman of Sunderland AFC Supporters' Association.

George Forster, chairman of Sunderland AFC Supporters' Association.

“Over the course of a season you would expect to be on (high up) so many times, but for whatever reason we get slipped back in the running order.

“But we don’t really bother too much about it - and I think people probably watch other football shows these days anyway, so don’t read too much significance into it.”

The Press Association Sport survey looked at every Saturday night Premier League highlights programme throughout the season, as well as the finale on Sunday night and the midweek shows which aired on December 28, January 13, February 2 and March 2.

Leicester’s fairytale season meant they were given top billing on more occasions than anyone else.

The Foxes were first eight times, including the season’s opening show when they beat Sunderland.

Should they lead the show on the opening day of the 2016-17 campaign, they will be introduced by a topless Gary Lineker after the former England international said in December he would present the first show of next season in his underwear if his boyhood club won the title.

Five of Leicester’s games in the top slot took place since the start of February, all of which were wins for Claudio Ranieri’s men.

The closest challengers to Leicester in being shown first were Manchester City, who opened the show seven times, while deposed champions Chelsea, relegated Norwich and Liverpool all topped the bill on six occasions.

Liverpool had the best ratio of any team with their six number one slots - all since Jurgen Klopp took charge in October - coming in just 16 appearances.

Aston Villa and West Brom were the only clubs not to be shown first during the campaign.

Third-placed Tottenham had just two top-billing appearances, the first of which came in March, although with just 19 total appearances they were the second-least featured club during the campaign.

West Brom (four), Aston Villa (six) and Bournemouth (seven) had the least top-three airings.

As usual, the amount of goals shown appeared to have a bearing on where a game would feature, with the first game averaging 3.89 goals and the last 1.37.