John Motson, the legendary BBC football commentator, has died at the age of 77.
The BBC reported his death on Thursday morning. It follows his 50-year career with the corporation as one of its most distinguished sports broadcasters.
In a statement, his family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce that John Motson OBE died peacefully in his sleep today.”
Known as “Motty” to his admirers, Motson was at the mic for 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and 29 FA Cup finals before he retired in 2018.
He was honored by BAFTA in 2018 with the Special Award. In 2001, he received an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to sports broadcasting.
Motson commentated on almost 2,500 games and was known for his everyman style and excitability behind the microphone. His iconic sheepskin coat was another trademark.
He joined the BBC in 1968 after spells as a reporter on the Barnet Press and Sheffield Morning Telegraph.
He was a regular on Match of the Day, the Premier League highlights show, and was in the commentary box for historic moments, not least the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, when 97 Liverpool supporters were killed in a crush.
Memorable quotes included his commentary on David Beckham’s 2002 World Cup penalty against Argentina at the Sapporo Dome in Japan.
The game was broadcast early in the morning in the UK, with Motson saying: “Hold the cups and glasses at home. You can smash them now! David Beckham has scored for England!”
BBC director-general Tim Davie said: “John Motson was the voice of a footballing generation – steering us through the twists and turns of FA Cup runs, the highs and lows of World Cups and, of course, Saturday nights on Match of the Day.
“Like all the greats behind the mic, John had the right words, at the right time, for all the big moments. He will rightly be remembered as a legendary figure in British sports broadcasting, respected by those in the game, loved by fans and an inspiration to those who followed him in the commentary box.”
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