John Motson: Tributes pour in for legendary commentator

Euan Burns
John Motson is the voice millions grew up hearing when watching football
John Motson is the voice millions grew up hearing when watching football / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

The sporting world is in mourning once again after the passing of legendary BBC commentator John Motson at the age of 77.

His voice is one multiple generations associate not just with football, but sport in general across the BBC and one that is recognisable even to those without a keen interest in sport.

His career with the BBC began back in 1971, having previously been a player for Dulwich Hamlet. Hailing from Salford, Motson commentated on over 2,000 games on television and radio, often wearing his trademark sheepskin coat.

Motson retired from live commentary in 2008 but he was still a commentator for Match of the Day and was also a regular on BBC Radio 5 Live. He fully retired from commentary in 2017, but returned a year later to work for talkSPORT.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media during the morning on February 23, 2023. European football expert Andy Brassell said on Twitter: "The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club. So many lines, and I'm sure everyone of a couple of different generations will have theirs. RIP Motty."

Broadcaster Max Rushden also said: "RIP Motty. Along with Barry Davies and Brian Moore, the soundtrack of my entire youth watching football."

Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler told BBC Radio 5 Live: "John was the standard-setter for us all. We basically all looked up to him - his diligence, his dedication, his knowledge. He was a very serious broadcaster but he was a real fun guy to be around.

"I went on a few football tours with him. We all had to stand up and speak and when Motty spoke we knew we were in for a good time - he had a great sense of humour.

"I am just so shocked. I hadn't seen him for a little while. I didn't know it was anything as serious as this. Just a few days after Dickie Davies left us. Broadcasting has taken two very big hits."

Former footballer turned broadcaster Gary Lineker also added some kind words, saying: "Deeply saddened to hear that John Motson has died. A quite brilliant commentator and the voice of football in this country for generations. He’ll be very much missed. RIP Motty."

A fellow major name and voice of football commentary, Clive Tyldesley, paid tribute to his hero. He said: "As a teenager I just wanted to be John Motson. Nobody else. Terribly sad."

Another major football commentator, Derek Rae, added his condolences: "Sad to hear this. The voice of football in England for so many & around the world too thanks to the early days of EA Sports FIFA. R.I.P., Motty."

Adam Summerton, often the voice of Sunday night Serie A games on BT Sport, said: "Always admired how John Motson conveyed his love & enthusiasm for the game - a voice so many of us grew up with. His words synonymous with so many big moments. Thoughts with his family, friends and colleagues."