Alan Hansen 'to leave Match of the Day' in BBC shake-up
Veteran pundit may not stay on when his contract ends next year, but Phil Neville says no to Auntie
THERE will be some major changes in the upper echelons of the Premier League this summer, with the likes of Alex Ferguson, Paul Scholes and Roberto Mancini bowing out and Jose Mourinho rejoining the fray.
But it is not just the big clubs that are experiencing shake-ups. Off the field there are changes coming too.
Next season BT will challenge Sky's dominance with its new Premier League coverage, featuring an array of new pundits and gimmicks, including a full-sized pitch on which analysts will act out key moments. And now, according to the Daily Mail, the BBC is planning to give its Match of the Day programme, which has come in for heavy criticism this season, a "much-needed shake-up", although not until after next summer's World Cup.
The main casualty is likely to be lead pundit Alan Hansen, whose contract expires in 2014. The paper says that after 20 years his analysis seems tired and adds "there seems no great wish on either side to renew a contract that expires after the World Cup".
But the Mail claims the BBC have suffered a setback after Phil Neville, who was seen as a successor to Hansen, rejected a three-year contract with the Beeb.
The broadcaster may have been hoping that Neville could replicate the success of his brother Gary, who has been something of a revelation as an analyst with Sky.
Hansen's departure is not the only change at the Beeb. Earlier this season Match of the Day 2 presenter Colin Murray was axed amid claims he annoyed guests, a season after another well-regarded pundit, Lee Dixon, jumped ship for ITV.
MotD's stock has fallen sharply in recent seasons and just last week Belfast Telegraph columnist Declan Bogue said lampooning the show was like taking candy from a baby, and claimed the presenters were "content to sit there nodding at each other in open neck shirts, like an ill-advised stag-do of a second-time-round marriage".