John Motson: ‘The voice of football’ Dies At 77


    John Motson, the voice of British football for more than 50 years, passed away quietly in his sleep at the age of 77, his devastated family confirmed.

    For the BBC, “Motty,” as he was better known to his countless followers, provided commentary on more than 2,000 games, including 29 FA Cup finals, eleven World Cups, and ten European Championships.

    Only 96 hours after World of Sport presenter Dickie Davies passed away, the broadcaster, a mainstay of Match of the Day for 46 years, was mourned by generations of football fans on Thursday.

    He and his wife Anne got married in 1977, and their marriage lasted for 45 years. Together, they have a son named Fred who was born in 1986.

    On Thursday, 23rd February, his family released a brief message which read: ‘It is with great sadness we announce that John Motson OBE died peacefully in his sleep today.’

    He was simply known as “Motty” to the millions of football fans who tuned in to hear his instantly recognizable voice on television or radio for more than 50 years.

    He was adored for his sheepskin coat and knack for finding the ideal phrases to describe the beautiful game.

    Children for generations imagined Motty commentating on their own kickabouts on playing fields and in gardens around Britain with his iconic voice and catchphrases.

    A follower wrote:  ‘I never met him but feel like I’ve known him all my life. Motty was the voice of my childhood’.

    Motty last appeared in public three weeks ago on February 4 when he visited League 2 club Sutton United and engaged in amiable conversation with supporters and players.

    The announcer organized it at the last minute, according to Vernon Pratt, a hero of the 1989 FA Cup victory over Coventry City, who spoke to MailOnline.

    Yesterday’s tributes were led by athletes including Gary Lineker, Gary Neville, and Jamie Carragher.

    John Motson: 'The voice of football' Dies At 77

    His distinctive voice and his recognizable sheepskin coat, which he wore both on and off-screen at many of his matches, were memorialized by many fans on social media.

    They also talked about his commentary at pivotal games, such as England’s Euro 1996 loss to Scotland at Wembley and Paul Gascoigne’s tears in Torino in 1990.

    The 5-1 hammering of Germany in a World Cup qualifier in Munich in September 2001 was Motty’s favorite game to comment on, he admitted.

    Motty said: ‘Oh, this is getting better and better and better. One, two, three for Michael Owen as millions of ecstatic fans watched back home.’

    John Motson

    John Walker Motson OBE, an English football commentator, lived from 10 July 1945 until 23 February 2023.

    He began his career with the BBC in 1971 as a television analyst and called more than 2000 games on radio and television.

    With the exception of a brief period in the middle of the 1990s, Motson dominated the BBC’s football commentary from the late 1970s to 2008.

    He started donning his recognizable sheepskin cloak in December 1990, when he “battled horizontal sleet showers ahead of Wycombe Wanderers’ FA Cup tie with Peterborough United”.

    Motson made the announcement that he was giving up live television commentary in 2008. He continued to commentate on CBeebies’ Footy Pups and cover games for Match of the Day highlights, as well as make appearances on BBC Radio 5 Live.

    He retired completely from BBC commentary in September 2017 after covering 29 FA Cup finals, 10 UEFA European Championships, and 10 FIFA World Cups.


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