Who is John Motson? The BBC football commentator ahead of his final live commentary


Who is John Motson? The BBC football commentator ahead of his final live commentary

The legendary broadcaster will step into the commentary booth during Arsenal’s clash with Watford, for his final live broadcast

John Motson is set to call time on his esteemed live commentary career on Sunday March 11.

The legendary 72-year-old has been the voice of football for many throughout the last half-century.

Motson has been a commentator for the past 48 years and, while he will continue to feature on Match of the Day for the rest of the campaign, this Sunday will mark his final live commentary.

Who is John Motson?

Motson is a commentator and football broadcaster, and has been working with the BBC since 1968.

Born in 1945, to a Methodist minister, Motson went to school in Bury St Edmunds at Culford, where football was seen as secondary to the likes of rugby and cricket.

Motson’s career began in 1963 and he began working for the Sheffield Morning Telegraph four years later, whereupon he began covering football.

He has a son, Frederick, who was born in 1986, and is married to Anne. He also has an OBE.

When was his first football commentary?

Motson began work in the commentary booth in 1969, covering an encounter between Everton and Derby County.

He has since covered 10 World Cups, and 29 FA Cup finals, along with over 200 England matches.

His most famous commentary remains Newcastle United’s FA Cup defeat by Hereford United in 1972.

Assigned the game as a young commentator, with the expectation of it being a five-minute highlights segment between Match of the Day’s two main games, Motson witnessed a brilliant comeback, as Hereford recorded a 2-1 victory, thanks to Ronnie Radford’s long-range strike, and it became the lead of the show.

Who does John Motson support?

Motson is a Barnet fan.

In January, the commentator explained his fandom in an interview with the Daily Mail.

“I’m a long-time Barnet FC fan,” he said. “My first job in journalism was on the weekly Barnet Press and they play only half an hour’s drive from where I now live.

“My son Fred got me this set of Russian-style dolls, painted in Barnet’s colours, after spotting them in a shop in Prague, of all places.”

John Motson’s coat

Motson is well-known for his famous sheepskin coat!

Covering a game between Wycombe Wanderers and Peterborough United, a sudden snow storm saw the game called off, with Motty recording a piece to camera explaining the change in weather conditions, all wrapped up in his coat.

He explains in his autobiography: “A shock result seemed quite a possibility when I left home in bright sunshine that morning, preparing to interview Martin O’Neill for Football Focus. As I turned off the M40 in the Thames Valley and started my descent down the hill that leads to Wycombe’s ground, it started to snow.

“So heavily, that within five minutes there was a covering on the road. But that was nothing compared with the Adams Park pitch half an hour later. It was in three or four inches of snow and the referee took one look and postponed the game.

“Grandstand told me to forget the interview with O’Neill, and record a piece to camera explaining the sudden change in weather conditions.”

Famous John Motson quotes

Motty is well-known for his one-liners.

“Here’s Gascoigne. Oh brilliant! Oh yes! Oh yes!” Euro 1996, as England beat Scotland at Wembley and Paul Gascoigne scored a wonder goal.

“For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the all-yellow strip.” – Something of a gaffe!

“The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club.” – Wimbledon beat Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup final.

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The World Cup is a truly international event.” – Stating the obvious.

“And Seaman, just like a falling oak, manages to change direction.” – David Seaman defies the laws of physics

“Nearly all the Brazilian supporters are wearing yellow shirts. It’s a fabulous kaleidoscope of colour.” – In his own inimitable style.


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