The programme previously formed part of the Grandstand programme but has since August 2001 been considered a show in its own right. Prior to the launch of Match of the Day 2, it was often the first chance for non-Sky Sports viewers to see analysis of the Sunday and Monday Premiership games. Now, it is more of a preview show, along with updates from the early Premiership game. A version of the programme which looks at world football airs on BBC World News.
The theme song for the 2007-2008 season is "Kill The Director" by The Wombats. The previous theme which aired from the 2003-2004 season featured a cover of the Stevie Nicks track "Stand Back" by Linus Loves featuring Sam Obernik.
As of 2006, its regular presenter is Manish Bhasin, who is usually joined by the BBC's main football pundits such as Mark Lawrenson, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown. Match of the Day commentators Steve Wilson, Guy Mowbray, Jonathan Pearce and John Motson often check-in with game previews from the stadiums. Jake Humphrey fills in for Manish when he is unavailable.
In November 2005, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared on the programme. He singled out three players as his favourites - Fulham FC's Steed Malbranque, Wigan Athletic's Arjan de Zeeuw and veteran striker Teddy Sheringham, who was playing for West Ham United at the time.