John Motson: The legendary BBC commentator's most memorable quotes

Euan Burns
John Motson had one of world football's most iconic voices
John Motson had one of world football's most iconic voices / Matthew Ashton/GettyImages

The passing of legendary BBC commentator John Motson has inevitably led to a flood of tributes from former colleagues, players and supporters.

Motson's family confirmed in a statement that he died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 77, having stepped away from the microphone in 2018 after a long and distinguished career with the BBC.

Generations of football fans grew up in the United Kingdom listening to Motson's iconic voice, with his BBC career spanning ten World Cups, ten European Championship finals and an incredible 29 FA Cup finals among thousands of other commentaries for Match of the Day.

Motson will forever be remembered as one of broadcasting's greatest voices, with his free-flowing and relatable commentary style describing some of the biggest moments the game has ever seen.

Here, 90min looks back at some of the most iconic quotes from his career, often voiced while wearing his trademark sheepskin coat.

John Motson's most memorable quotes

Ronnie Radford

Early in Motson's Match of the Day career, he was commentating on Hereford against Newcastle in an FA Cup third-round replay. Ronnie Radford's incredible goal equalised for non-league Hereford and they went on to win the game - a moment Motson said changed his life.

“And then Ronnie changed everything. He changed his life, my life, the history of the FA Cup with a goal that came out of nowhere. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen a shot fly through the air and go into the net quite like it.”

"Now Tudor has gone down for Newcastle. Radford again.... what a goal! What a goal! Radford the scorer - Ronnie Radford. The crowd are invading the pitch!"

John Motson

Wimbledon in the FA Cup

Lawrie Sanchez, Dave Beasant
Lawrie Sanchez (second left) was Wimbledon's match winner / David Cannon/GettyImages

Possibly the most iconic of them all was Motson's commentary of Wimbledon beating an incredibly talented Liverpool side in the 1988 FA Cup final, against all the odds. Motson came out with one of his most famous ever lines.

"The Crazy Gang has beaten the Culture Club."

John Motson

Michel Platini fires France into Euro '84 final

Michel Platini of France
Michel Platini was France's hero against Portugal / Getty Images/GettyImages

John Motson could not contain his amazement when he commentated on Michel Platini's goal that put France into the final of Euro '84.

"Tigana. Two to his right, and Platini through the middle. Tigana again. Tigana. Tigana. Platini – Goal! Platini for France! With a minute to go, it's 3-2!"

John Motson

David Platt's winner

David Platt of England
David Platt / Getty Images/GettyImages

Another seismic moment in the career of Motson was when David Platt scored a 119th-minute winner against Belgium in the round of 16 at Italia '90.

Equally as memorable perhaps was Motson's subsequent commentary, when Chris Waddle missed the decisive penalty against West Germany to lose in a semi-final penalty shootout.

""It's there by David Platt! England have done it, in the last minute of extra time!""

John Motson


Mark Hughes of Manchester United and Craig Fleming of Oldham
Mark Hughes battles Craig Fleming of Oldham / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Motson was working during a period of time when Manchester United were incredibly dominant and therefore many of his big moments came whilst commentating on the Red Devils. A late Mark Hughes volley against Oldham Athletic became a favourite for United fans.

""Look at Mark Hughes, the volleying specialist. But he's never left it as late as that.""

John Motson

Gazza lights up Euro '96 for England

Paul Gascoigne
Paul Gascoigne celebrates his goal against Scotland / Stu Forster/GettyImages

There was huge expectation across England as Terry Venables attempted to win Euro '96 on home soil.

An expectant Wembley crowd bore witness to not only one of England's greatest ever goals from Paul Gascoigne against Scotland, of all opposition, but those at home got to enjoy Motson's thrill at the genius midfielder flicking the ball over Colin Hendry before firing past Andy Goram to make it 2-0.

"Oh brilliant! Oh yes! Oh yes!"

John Motson

Robbie Keane scores dramatic late equaliser against Germany

Robbie Keane of  Ireland celebrates
Robbie Keane's goal against Germany was made all the better by Motson / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Motson may have been an Englishman but his infectious commentary was just as good when the drama belonged to other sides. Robbie Keane's iconic late equaliser at the 2002 World Cup against Germany is a special moment for Irish fans, and Motson made it even better.

""Look at these scenes! Just look at these scenes! And you can’t say they don’t deserve it.""

John Motson

Count the passes

Gary Pallister and Paul Ince of Manchester United and Paul Bernhard of Oldham
Paul Ince was involved in one of Mark Hughes' great FA Cup goals / Michael Cooper/GettyImages

Motson often seemed bewitched with some of Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United sides and a goal from Mark Hughes in the FA Cup left him shouting about the beauty of the goal that he'd seen.

""Hughes, Ince, Hughes! Great move! Fantastic goal! Oh, a beautiful goal, count the passes!""

John Motson

Owen's hat-trick as England maul Germany in Munich

Michael Owen
Michael Owen enjoyed one of his finest England nights in Munich / Ben Radford/GettyImages

England will remember 1966 with great fondness, beating West Germany 4-2 at Wembley to win the World Cup.

But their record against the Germans had been pretty iffy thereafter, with defeats on penalties at the World Cup in 1990 and European Championship in 1996 the most brutal and painful.

But on September 1, 2001, Motson was on the mic as Michael Owen inspired England to a rampant 5-1 win over Germany in Munich - his commentary for the Liverpool striker's third among his best work.

"Oh, this is getting better and better and better. One, two, three for Michael Owen!"

John Motson

Beckham's penalty

 David Beckham of England scores ...
David Beckham smashes home England's penalty / Ross Kinnaird/GettyImages

David Beckham had been public enemy No.1 not long before, but he scored a winning penalty for England against Argentina in the group stage of the 2002 World Cup, leading to one of Motson's greatest lines.

""Hold the cups and glasses at home. You can smash them now! David Beckham has scored for England!""

John Motson