British soccer commentator John Motson dies at 77
John Motson, the BBC soccer commentator who was one of the most well-known voices in British sport for 50 years, has died. He was 77.
The BBC announced the death of Motson on Thursday, without giving any details.
Fondly referred to as “Motty,” Motson called games for Britain’s national broadcaster from 1968-2018, covering 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and 29 FA Cup finals.
He commentated on almost 2,500 televised games, the BBC said, before retiring at the end of the 2017-18 Premier League.
Motson was known for his passion and knowledge of soccer, and was synonymous with wearing a sheepskin coat in the commentary box.
“A quite brilliant commentator,” said Gary Lineker, the former England captain who works for the BBC as the presenter of its flagship soccer show, Match of the Day, “and the voice of football in this country for generations.
“He’ll be very much missed. RIP Motty.”
Tim Davie, the BBC director-general, described Motson 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.”
“Like all the greats behind the mic,” Davie said, “John had the right words, at the right time, for all the big moments.”
Motson started as a newspaper reporter before joining the BBC in 1968 as a radio sports presenter.
His big break came in 1972 when, on trial as a fledgling commentator, he was asked to call an FA Cup match between Hereford, which played in England’s non-leagues, and first-division Newcastle.