Match Day (video game)

Match Day is a football computer game, published by Ocean Software in 1984 for the ZX Spectrum. It is the first game in the Match Day series, and was the creation of programmer Jon Ritman and Chris Clarke.[1] Versions were later released for the Amstrad CPC and PCW, BBC Micro, Commodore 64 and MSX systems.[2]

Match Day
Match Day Cover.jpg
Developer(s)Jon Ritman, Chris Clarke
Publisher(s)Ocean Software
Platform(s)ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, MSX
Mode(s)1 or 2 players


Jon Ritman met Chris Clarke, formerly of Crystal Computing, at Artic Computing in 1983 where Clarke was marketing Bear Bovver, Ritman's latest game for the company.[1] They decided on going freelance to produce a football game after discovering that distributors wanted to see a ZX Spectrum game comparable to International Soccer on the Commodore 64.[3]: 209  By chance Ritman met David Ward, co-founder of Ocean Software, at a computer show and told him what he was working on. Several months later Ward called Ritman and offered him a £20,000 advance for the game which he accepted immediately.[4][3]: 209  Ocean licensed the theme tune from Match of the Day from the BBC but not the title,[2][3]: 41  naming it Match Day instead.


ZX Spectrum version

This was the first soccer game for the ZX Spectrum where large moving footballers characters could dribble, throw-in, take corners, etc. The game uses modified sprites from a Ritman's previous title Bear Bovver to create an almost isometric, but still ultimately side-on football title.[5]

The game had 8 teams that the player could choose, such as Ritman Rovers, Clarke PR and Ocean United. Players could rename the teams and redefine the team colours.


Match Day was released in late 1984 and became a best-seller over the Christmas period reaching number 2 in the charts[6] behind Ghostbusters. The BBC micro version ported by Chris Roberts[2][7] reached the top of the BBC charts in September 1985.[8] Match Day sold over 50,000 copies[3]: 212 


The sequel, Match Day II was much the same but incorporated two features still used today in most football titles - a deflection system, the ball could bounce off players, which meant headers were possible, and a shot power system, although it was as easy to accidentally backheel the ball with this system, as it was to hit a powerful shot. The game is also similar to a previously, not published game by Jon Ritman, Soccerama.[9]

Later, in 1995, Jon Ritman tried to release Match Day III, but the name of the game was changed to Super Match Soccer to avoid any potential legal issues.[9]


  1. ^ a b "From Namtir Raiders, To A Bit Of Bovver With Bears Then On To Batman... And Beyond". Crash. No. 33. Newsfield. 25 September 1986. p. 84. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "The History Of Match Day". Retro Gamer. No. 164. Imagine. 26 January 2017. p. 36-41.
  3. ^ a b c d Wilkins, Chris; Kean, Roger M (2013). Ocean - The History. Revival Retro Events.
  4. ^ "In The Chair with Jon Ritman". Retro Gamer. No. 59. Imagine. 2 January 2009. p. 25-31.
  5. ^ Sport Games review Archived 2008-02-17 at the Wayback Machine at
  6. ^ "Top 20 Software Compiled By Gallup". Home Computing Weekly. No. 95. Argus Specialist Publications. 15 January 1985. p. 43. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  7. ^ "The Stars His Destination: Chris Roberts from Origin to Star Citizen". 13 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Charts". Popular Computing Weekly. No. 38. Sunshine Publications. 19 September 1985. p. 35. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Interview with Ritman at". Archived from the original on 2009-06-07. Retrieved 2010-11-29.

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