Legendary commentator John Motson dies aged 77

One of football's most influential voices has passed away...

Editorial Team
18th March 2023
Image: Twitter @BCFC
Football is more than just two sides kicking a ball around for 90 minutes on a Saturday. It is a multisensory, multimedia affair which engages and evokes emotion for the masses. Think about the most iconic moments in the sport? Do you see the passage of play, or do you hear the words which brought It to life?

Motson’s passing has marked the end of an era in broadcasting.  Football has lost a true heavyweight, an innovator, with Motty’s words illuminating the game for over 50 years. Donning his iconic sheepskin coat he called over  2500 games in total; commentating at 10 world cups, 10 European championships and 29 FA cup finals, amongst countless big ticket league games.

The footballing world stopped to pay its respects to Motty, with fans across the country giving a round of applause in the 77th minute of games to mark his passing, with chants of “there’s only one john Motson” ringing around the grounds in the last gameweek of fixtures.

Motson was the first “journalistic” commentator, he would do his homework and use his contacts to keep the fan truly immersed in the “story” of the game. Ignoring convention,  he knew that describing the passage of play was only one fragment of the job. He understood the fans’ desire to hear the gossip, to be given an “in” to the world of football, and in a time before social media Motson was that portal.

Although Motson was never as poetic as Peter Drury, or never had too many “Aguero” moments; his timbre, consistency and knowledge places him above any as the “voice of football”. Emulated, but never matched: John Motson.  

By James Turner, head of NSR

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