The world of sports broadcasting is mourning the loss of legendary commentator John Motson, who passed away at the age of 77. The iconic voice of British football, affectionately known as “Motty,” had a 50-year career with the BBC, covering 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships, and 29 FA Cup finals.
In a statement released by Motson’s family, they confirmed that he passed away peacefully in his sleep today. He is survived by his wife Anne and son Frederick.
BBC director-general Tim Davie paid tribute to the revered commentator. He said…
“John Motson was the voice of a footballing generation – steering us through the twists and turns of FA Cup runs, the highs and lows of World Cups and, of course, Saturday nights on Match of the Day. Like all the greats behind the mic, John had the right words, at the right time, for all the big moments.”
Gary Lineker, who worked alongside Motson on Match of the Day, expressed his deep sadness at the news of his passing, calling him “a quite brilliant commentator and the voice of football in this country for generations.”
Motson’s encyclopedic knowledge of the game and his trademark sheepskin coats made him a beloved figure among football fans, with his commentary synonymous with the biggest moments in the sport.
Motson began his career as a reporter for local newspapers before freelancing for BBC Radio Sheffield. He joined the BBC on a full-time basis in 1968 and made his breakthrough on Match of the Day during the famous FA Cup replay between Hereford and Newcastle in 1972. His coverage of Ronnie Radford’s stunning 30-yard strike helped propel him to national prominence, and he went on to cover more than 200 England matches and commentate on almost 2,500 televised games.
Motson’s final game for Match of the Day came in 2018, between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion. After the game, he was applauded by the fans and presented with a framed copy of the programme from his first and last matches at Selhurst Park, as well as a crystal microphone by Palace manager Roy Hodgson.
Motson’s contributions to sports broadcasting were recognized with an OBE in 2001 and an award for “outstanding contribution to sports broadcasting” at the British Academy Film and Television Awards (Bafta) in 2018. BBC pundit Chris Sutton paid tribute to Motson, calling him “a legendary figure in the commentary box” who will be sorely missed.
The passing of Motson marks the end of an era in football broadcasting. His distinctive voice and insightful commentary helped shape the way we watch and understand the game, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations of sports broadcasters to come.
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