Behind The Scenes with Mark Chapman on Match of the Day 2

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New MOTD2 and Five Live presenter Mark Chapman is quietly turning into one of the BBC’s most capable football presenters. We asked him about what it's like for a football fan to watch football for a living and his new role on Match of the Day 2.

Congratulations on getting the Match of he Day gig. How does it feel to be presenting such a famous show?
It’s slightly surreal. There is a slightly odd feeling when you hear that theme music. You get goosebumps: ‘is this really happening?’ But here we are, you have to get on with it.

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Who were your football presenters growing up?
It would have been Bob Wilson on Football Focus. And then, obviously Jimmy Hill.

Of course. We’d almost forgotten about Jimmy Hill.

Yeah, Jimmy Hill who did absolutely everything there is in football. I think there is probably a fascinating documentary to be done on Jimmy:
all-seater stadiums, the man who abolished the minimum wage for footballers, player, chairman, manager, presenter, pundit.

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Who was your favourite presenter?

Des was the one, really. Even little things with Des still stick in the memory, like how he would put his glasses on if there was ever a serious story he needed to read out.

When you're not on TV, you seem to be on radio doing the BBC Five Live evening sports shows. Which of radio or TV do you prefer?

Radio will always be my first love. I mean you know, telly is seen as glamorous and a better payer, but I just adore radio. I’ve adored the radio since I was kid. I would never do anything – as crawling as this may sound to my Five Live bosses – to jeopardize my Five Live Gig.

With the new MOTD 2, it seems like you're trying to get a bit more of that radio feel on to TV.

You speak to some pundits who’ve done radio and done telly. They say, God, we love doing radio. Why? It’s because of the time that we get. I’m trying to give more time to the pundit to get across what they are trying to say. And also, trying to strip it back a bit.

To make it a bit - I suppose - like radio on the telly so the pundits aren’t obsessed about this circle going here, graph, or a line going here. So they could get their thoughts out without worrying about their word hitting the right timing of the graphic.

Football punditry ha sbeen criticised for being too basic in recent years. Are we seeing a new approach?

You’ve got a very mainstream audience on BBC, which isn’t as niche as the Sky Sports audience. That’s just the nature of BBC One compared to Sky Sports One and Two. I think you have to have stuff that appeals to the hardcore football fans who do want an intelligent analysis.

Gary Neville can have 20 minutes on a Monday night to reconstruct as necessary, such is the beauty of that show. And you can get that on radio as well. You can have 15 minutes to discuss one thing. 

How many games do you actually get to watch on a Saturday or Sunday?

All of them. And final score is an example of this. All the games are fed into the building. The Match of the Day production office has a countless number of screens.

Footballers are so dull and robotic when interviewed on TV but sound completely different when you speak to them on the radio. Why is this?

I think there are two things there. On radio we are not trying to hurry them up, and they are not waiting for the team bus. And the other thing, which is major, is that on radio we can get the footballer at home on the phone.

Who have you most enjoyed interviewing over the years?

A lot of the managers. Tony Pulis, I’ve always enjoyed, and David Moyes as well. He came with us to South Africa, and is a really bright guy.

As a Man United fan, how do you think they are going to do under David Moyes?

I think United will do absolutely fine under David Moyes, I don’t necessarily think they’ll win the title. And let’s not for get that it was said an awful lot of times last season that they won games without playing very well. And everybody else has strengthened a lot this summer.

What concerns me most about Manchester United isn’t Moyes, it’s the fact that they’ve got a new Chief Executive. And I think that if Gill had stayed I am not sure if we would have seen half the hoo-ha that’s gone on.

Considering what you do, we're guessing you're quite handy at Fantasy Football?

Actually, I don’t have a team at all - for two reasons. First, it distorts my view of the weekend. If my team is winning 5-0, and I’ve got a player on the opponent team, you end up hoping he scores. I just can’t deal with that.  And secondly, I always forget to change it.

Watch of the Match of the Day 2 tonight at 10.25 on BBC1