John Motson, BBC football voice for five decades, dies aged 77

John Motson, the football commentator whose animated voice was inseparable from many of the sport’s biggest moments during his 50 years at the BBC, died on Thursday. He was 77 years old.

The BBC confirmed his death, citing a statement from his family. The statement did not specify a cause or say where he died.

The network turned to Mr. Motson, who retired in 2018, for its best matches, including 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and 29 FA Cup finals. He also gave an analysis on “Match of the Day”, the BBC’s featured weekly programme.

“John Motson was the voice of a footballing generation,” BBC director-general Tim Davie said in a statement, adding that “like all greats behind the microphone, John had the right words, at the right time, for all”. the great moments.”

Mr. Motson, often known by his nickname, “Motty”, was born on July 10, 1945 in Salford, England. He dreamed of becoming a newspaper reporter, beginning his career when he left school at 16 at the weekly Barnet Press and the Sheffield Morning Telegraph, according to a 2008 profile in The Independent.

He was selected to participate in the experiment for a local radio station that relied on print reporters. An editor, after hearing his work on the radio, told him: “John, based on the evidence of this copy, I really think you should try the world of voice,” he told The Independent.

He thrived on local radio, joining the BBC in 1968 before starting on “Match of the Day” in 1971. He then became the station’s leading voice, broadcasting nearly 2,500 games in his career, including more than 200 involving to the England national team. .

He was also at Hillsborough Stadium in 1989, when police missteps and overcrowding led to the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans. The tragedy, which also injured more than 700 fans, has remained in the news decades later.

For many football fans in Britain, the news of his death inspired memories of your favorite calls, many of whom became attached to specific games as they grew to love the sport. Gary Lineker, the current host of “Match of the Day,” was among those who paid tribute, saying on twitter that Mr Motson was a “quite brilliant commentator and the voice of football in this country for generations”.

Mr. Motson is survived by his wife, Anne, and their son, Frederick, according to the BBC.


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