The Day

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.

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