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John Motson: Legendary football commentator dies aged 77

John Motson celebrated half-a-century in commentary in 2018 and, during his long, distinguished career covered 20 major international tournaments; a statement released by his family said he died “peacefully in his sleep” on Thursday


Legendary football commentator John Motson has died at the age of 77, the BBC has announced.

Motson – whose career in broadcasting spanned more than half a century – covered 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships, 29 FA Cup finals and over 200 England games during his long career.

A statement released by his family read: “It is with great sadness we announce that John Motson OBE died peacefully in his sleep today (Thursday).”

An announcement on the BBC Sport website read: “Legendary commentator John Motson, who had an illustrious 50-year career with the BBC, has died aged 77.”

After starting as a newspaper reporter in Barnet and at the Sheffield Morning Telegraph, Motson joined the BBC in 1968 as a sports presenter on Radio 2.

Motson’s commentary on Ronnie Radford’s famous long-range strike which helped non-League Hereford knock top-flight Newcastle out of the FA Cup in 1972 saw him take top billing on Match of the Day – pushing him into the spotlight and the affections of the sporting public.

His long career also took in two Olympic Games and Wimbledon’s memorable 1988 FA Cup final triumph against Liverpool at Wembley as the Crazy Gang beat the Culture Club.

Awarded the OBE in 2001 for services to broadcasting, Motson hung up his microphone for the BBC at the end of the 2017-18 Premier League season.

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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