Legendary commentator John Motson has died at the age of 77.
‘Motty’ – who had an illustrious 50-year career with the BBC – covered 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and 29 FA Cup finals for BBC Sport before retiring in 2018. He had worked on Match of the Day since 1971.
“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,” said Tim Davie, BBC Director-General.
“Like all the greats behind the mic, John had the right words, at the right time, for all the big moments.
“He will rightly be remembered as a legendary figure in British sports broadcasting, respected by those in the game, loved by fans and an inspiration to those who followed him in the commentary box.”
The son of a Methodist minister, Motson was born in Salford, Lancashire, and educated at Culford School, near Bury St Edmunds.
In 1963, Motson’s career began in the newspaper business as a reporter in Barnet. In 1967 and 1968 he worked for the Sheffield Morning Telegraph where he first covered football.
He’s broadcasting career took off when the BBC hired him in 1968 as a sports presenter on Radio 2.
Motson’s first FA Cup Final as a commentator was for the 1977 match between Manchester United and Liverpool. Motson was drafted in as a late replacement for David Coleman, who was in a contractual dispute with the BBC.
In April 1989, Motson commentated on the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest when the Hillsborough disaster occurred.
Motson found himself commentating on a tragedy rather than a football match, and he later appeared as part of the Hillsborough inquiry, since he had been a witness.
He was awarded an OBE in the 2001 Birthday Honours for services to sports broadcasting.