John Motson, the long-time football commentator for the BBC, has died aged 77.


The football pundit, who was affectionately known as 'Motty', commentated on almost 2,500 televised matches for the BBC before retiring in 2018, the year he also celebrated his 50th anniversary with the broadcaster.

Having joined the BBC on a full-time basis in 1968, Motson went on to cover 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and 29 FA Cup finals. He worked on Match of the Day from 1971, and in 2001 he was awarded an OBE for services to sports broadcasting.

A statement from Motson's family said: "It is with great sadness we announce that John Motson OBE died peacefully in his sleep today (Thursday)".

Tributes have flooded in following the news of Motson's passing, with Sky Sports commentator Jamie Carragher saying: "RIP John Motson. An absolute Legend of the game. So many of us grew up listening to this man describe the action & goals on MOTD & cup finals. Sad loss."

Meanwhile BBC director-general Tim Davie said in a statement: "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.

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"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."

Many, including Gary Lineker, also referred to Motson as the "voice of football" in their tributes. Lineker said: "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."

On 24th February, the BBC announced it would air 2018 documentary Motty: The Man Behind the Sheepskin to mark Motson's passing. The film promises to chart "his poignant, but fun-filled, journey around the football grounds that have provided the backdrop for so many remarkable commentaries and football stories from this unique broadcaster, famed for his love of a sheepskin coat."

Motty: The Man Behind the Sheepskin replaces the 2012 film Mud in the schedules, airing at 11:10pm on Sunday, 26th February on BBC One following Match of the Day 2.

Motson was born in Salford in 1945 and was the son of a Methodist minister. Before joining the BBC full time, he worked as a reporter for the Barnet Press and Sheffield Morning Telegraph, and then as a freelancer for BBC Radio Sheffield.

He became a household name, known not only for his iconic commentary but also for his signature sheepskin coats. He presented his final match for Match of the Day in 2018, a fixture between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion.


In the same year, he was also presented with an award for Outstanding Contribution to Sports Broadcasting at the BAFTA TV Awards.