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Legendary Football Commentator John Motson Passes Away at Age 77

Legendary Football Commentator John Motson

 John Motson, a legendary football commentator with an illustrious 50-year career with the BBC, has died at the age of 77. He covered 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships, and 29 FA Cup finals for BBC Sport before retiring from the organisation in 2018. Known as "Motty," he had worked on Match of the Day since 1971. Motson passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, according to a statement from his family. He is survived by his wife Anne and son Frederick.

BBC director-general Tim Davie praised Motson, saying he 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." Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, called Motson "a giant of broadcasting with a career spanning over 50 years," and noted his extraordinary passion for the game.

Motson began his career as a reporter for the Barnet Press and Sheffield Morning Telegraph newspapers. He worked as a freelancer for BBC Radio Sheffield before joining the BBC full-time in 1968. After starting as a sports reporter on Radio 2, he made his breakthrough on Match of the Day during the famous FA Cup replay between Hereford and Newcastle four years later. His coverage of Hereford's shock 2-1 win - featuring Ronnie Radford's famous 30-yard strike - saw the match promoted to the main game.

Motson was known for his trademark sheepskin coats and encyclopaedic knowledge of the game. He covered more than 200 England matches and commentated on almost 2,500 televised games, including a record-breaking sixth World Cup final in Berlin in 2006 and his 29th FA Cup final in 2008. His final game for Match of the Day was between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion in 2018.

Motson was awarded an OBE in 2001 for his services to sports broadcasting and was honoured with the Contribution to League Football Award in 2018. He was also recognised for his "outstanding contribution to sports broadcasting" at the British Academy Film and Television Awards in the same year.

Motson's passing has prompted tributes from across the football community. The Football Association said his "iconic voice will always be synonymous with football," while the English Football League called him "a defining and legendary voice of English football." Clive Tyldesley, who worked alongside Motson at the BBC in the 1990s, described him as a friend and "24-carat gold broadcasting royalty."

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