John Motson: iconic commentator dies age 77

John Motson, the legendary voice behind some of football’s most memorable commentary, has sadly died at the age of 77.

A statement from his family said: “It is with great sadness we announce that John Motson OBE died peacefully in his sleep earlier today (Thursday).”

For years, Motson was a familiar figure to all who watched matches on TV. Throughout an incredible career that spanned decades, he commentated on ten World Cups, ten European Championships, 29 FA Cup Finals, and countless other big games.

Having started on radio, John Motson earned a spot as a commentator for Match of the Day in 1971. However, he first earned widespread recognition for his voiceover during an all-time FA Cup giant-killing.

“Motty” commentated on the 1972 FA Cup third-round replay between Hereford United and Newcastle. Non-league Hereford pulled off a staggering upset, beating Newcastle 2-1 – with Motson there to capture it perfectly on comms. His commentary over Ronnie Radford’s thunderbolt is an enduring piece of FA Cup history.

From here, Moston’s in-depth knowledge and engaging voice made him a staple of broadcast football. According to BBC Sport, he covered almost 2500 matches, which included numerous major tournaments and Cup finals.

In 2001, Motson earned an OBE for services to sports broadcasting as a result of his impact on the game. After 50 years in the commentary booth, John Motson finally left Match of the Day in 2018.

His status as one of the sport’s most well-known voices has led to an outpouring of tributes in his honour.

Premier League teams lead tributes to John Motson

Clubs throughout the UK have expressed their condolences at the loss of the broadcasting icon. For example, Premier League leaders Arsenal expressed their sadness about Motson’s passing.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of John Motson,” read a statement on Twitter. “One of the greatest commentators of his generation, he was synonymous with so many of the beautiful game’s greatest moments. Rest in Peace, John.”

Similarly, both Chelsea and Liverpool paid their respects, calling Motson an “iconic voice of the game”.

Meanwhile, Spurs gave tribute to Motty by sharing a video of his exceptional commentary. The North London side shared Ricky Villa’s incredible goal from the 1981 FA Cup Final replay. This, of course, featured Motson’s voiceover.

Fellow big names in the broadcast industry also paid tribute.

“We all looked up to him, his diligence, his dedication, his knowledge,” said Sky Sports commentator, Martin Tyler. “He was a very serious broadcaster, but he was a really fun guy to be around. When Motty spoke, we knew we were in for a good time – he had a great sense of humour.”

“As a teenager, I just wanted to be John Motson,” said commentator Clive Tyldesley. “Nobody else. Terribly sad.”

Featured image credit: Getty