Angry football fans have rallied behind Colin Murray after he was dropped from presenting BBC’s Match of the Day 2.
The broadcaster confirmed on Tuesday that the 35-year-old Dundonald man would be replaced on the highlights show from the start of the next season.
The news will have come as a huge blow to Murray, an avid football fan. The lifelong Liverpool supporter has five stars tattooed on his arm to mark the club’s European Cup victories.
He landed his dream job anchoring the Sunday evening football show in 2010, but after being dropped he will now focus his attention on radio work and presenting darts and American football.
Murray declined to comment last night.
It is understood Murray was looked upon as irritating by some of the Match of the Day pundits who felt he was there to ask them questions rather than offer his opinions on matches and players, which he regularly did.
Murray, who started his BBC career at Radio 1 and also presents 5 live's Friday night show Kicking Off, and Saturday morning's Fighting Talk, has presented Match of the Day 2 since Adrian Chiles defected to ITV in 2010.
The BBC dismissed rumours over Christmas it was set to replace Murray after just over two years in the post — but yesterday confirmed his departure.
“We'd like to thank Colin for his great contribution to Match of the Day 2,” said a BBC statement.
“We look forward to him continuing on the show until the end of the current football season.
“He will continue to play a key role in BBC output, especially as a regular presenter on 5 live and across TV output for darts and American football.”
Ex-Liverpool star and regular Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen told Murray on one occasion that he should leave the negative comments regarding players to the experts.
But furious football fans last night claimed Hansen — along with other regular ex-players on the show — should have been in the firing line ahead of Murray.
Many vented their anger on social networking sites following the confirmation of Murray’s impending departure.
“Murray's crime was to dare to have an opinion,” one fan said.
Another posted: “Bit of bias being a Liverpool fan, though I didn't know he was, and took a liking to him straight away — and he has personality!”
Opinionated? Too right, unlike his dreary colleagues
By Stephen Beacom
So, come the end of the season Colin Murray’s unmistakable Norn Iron accent will no longer be heard on Match of the Day 2.
The BBC are binning him in favour of supposed ‘rising star’ Mark Chapman.
It’s been suggested that one of the reasons Colin is leaving is because he irked pundits for daring to voice an opinion.
He’s from Northern Ireland! What did they expect?
Maybe those pundits like the tired Alan Hansen, dull as dishwater Alan Shearer and caricature of himself Mark Lawrenson realised that unlike themselves these days the Dundonald man had something interesting to say. You’ve all heard of player power in football, well if pundit power really was behind Colin’s departure, then that truly is ridiculous.
Maybe these experts would be better served trying to raise their game because right now they are being shown up by Gary Neville, whose insight and opinions on Sky Sports are outstanding.
Match of the Day 2 on Sunday nights was considered a fun, younger sibling of elder, more responsible brother Match of the Day, screened on Saturday.
Murray, vibrant with a bit of edge and fresh ideas, did a fine job and was forever a champion for Northern Ireland, which is always good to hear.
There’s no doubt this axing will be a blow to the big Liverpool supporter and huge music fan, but he'll dust himself down and continue to work in other areas for the Beeb. A few other channels may be interested in him too.
We haven't seen the last of him.