How stats back up Sunderland fans’ Match Of The Day gripe

HOST ... Gary Lineker.

HOST ... Gary Lineker.

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FANS regularly complain about their club’s place in the Match Of The Day running order – and now Sunderland supporters have the stats to back up their argument.

No team in the Premier League has been shown last on the BBC highlights programme this season more often than Sunderland, who have occupied that slot seven times.

That is once more than Aston Villa, and twice more than both Swansea City and Crystal Palace.

Sunderland have been shown first on the programme, hosted by Gary Lineker, once this season – and that was the 8-0 drubbing at Southampton in October.

Meanwhile, both of the times they were on second also ended in defeats, to Arsenal and Manchester City respectively.

However, the BBC insists the running order is “not personal”.

The BBC’s head of football, Mark Cole, said: “It’s not personal.

“We’ve got a couple of Sunderland fans in the office and the chap who does all our stats is a Sunderland fan, so he’s keeping a particular eye on it.

“If they’re on last by the end of the season the most, then it means they’ll still be in the Premier League, because they won’t be drawn into those big relegation battles that feature highly in the programme.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle United have been in the last slot just twice this season, while they have been on first three times.

• Watch the video of Mark Cole explaining how the games are selected