The Non-League Football Paper

LEGEND WAS BOTH A FRIEND AND IDOL

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IWAS really saddened by the news that legendary football commentato­r John Motson has passed away at the age of 77. John was a truly devoted Non-League fan. He started off his career covering Barnet FC at Underhill Stadium for the local newspaper. Then, of course, John exploded onto our screens when commentati­ng on Southern League underdogs Hereford United’s fabled FA Cup victory over top flight Newcastle United in 1972. It was his first ever match on BBC TV commentary duties and a freshfaced Motson screamed: “Oh what a goal! What a goal!” as Ronnie Radford famously hammered into the top corner from 35 yards.

On a personal note, I got to know John very well over the years. He was indeed a lovely person.

When I was at school, I attended a meeting of the Associatio­n of Football Statistici­ans in Central London where John was the guest speaker. I nervously approached him afterwards and said: “I’m hoping to become a football reporter one day.”

He warmly shook my hand and gave me some indepth advice about how to get into the business. I will never forget that moment. In later years, I was reunited with John when we reported together for talkSPORT Radio. This included a live broadcast on the FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying draw in 2019.

I recall that John was drawing the numbers out of that iconic velvet bag along with pundit Danny Murphy. All of a sudden, local rivals Potters Bar Town and Barnet were paired together so John told listeners: “I was just saying to someone in my local pub last night this was going to happen”! Murphy replied: “Great that you did you preparatio­n for the cup draw down the pub, John!”

But that was typical of John Motson. He was a man of the people and he loved to talk football with everyone.

He is a huge loss.

RIP Motty

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