Legendary football commentator John Motson who has a decorated 50 year career at the BBC has died at the age of 77.
In a statement, his family said: “It is with great sadness we announce that John Motson OBE died peacefully in his sleep today (Thursday 23 February).”
Motson, who joined the BBC back in 1968 and started working on Match of the Day in 1971, is one of the most beloved broadcasters and commentated on some of the most memorable games in English football.
‘Motty’ was known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the game and wearing an iconic sheepskin coat while in the commentary gantry.
Seeing his career catapulted by Hereford United’s shock FA Cup upset win over Newcastle United in 1971, he covered 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and 29 FA Cup finals for the BBC before retiring in 2018.
His final live radio commentary for the BBC was in March 2018 and he bowed out by describing the action for Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win over West Brom at Selhurst Park on the final day of the 2017/18 campaign.
A special ceremony saw Motson invited onto the pitch and presented with a framed programme and crystal microphone by then-Palace boss Roy Hodgson.
In 2001 he received an OBE for services to sports broadcasting and later received a special BAFTA award to recognize his legacy.
Motson commentated on nearly 2,500 games across 50 years and his enthusiasm came across in every single one.
Tributes poured in for the former Radio 2 sports reporter, who will down as one of the best to pick up the mic.
Devastated to hear of the death of John Motson. Thoughts are with his family and friends pic.twitter.com/Kk50XUVEXL
— The Spurs Show (@spursshow) February 23, 2023
MOTD host Gary Lineker commented: “Deeply saddened to hear that John Motson has died. A quite brilliant commentator and the voice of football in this country for generations. He’ll be very much missed. RIP Motty.”
Jamie Carragher wrote: “RIP John Motson. An absolute Legend of the game. So many of us grew up listening to this man describe the action & goals on MOTD & cup finals. Sad loss.”
Fellow commentator Clive Tyldesley tweeted: “As a teenager I just wanted to be John Motson. Nobody else. Terribly sad.”
BBC Radio Manchester broadcaster Mike Minay weighed in: “John Motson was, to me, THE voice of football. There are very few that wouldn’t say if you wanted to be a commentator, you wanted to be Motson. Iconic soundtrack to many classic games. The safest of hands & the ability to call the special moments right. Rest in Peace, Motty.”