John Motson’s recent death has been met with an indelible sadness for so many Football fans as we say goodbye the man who’s words painted a thousand pictures.
Know affectionately as Motty, he propelled himself into folklore in 1972 as Ronnie Radford’s long range rocket sent Hereford United through in what is still regarded as one of the greatest shocks in FA cup history, whilst Motson himself was on a one year trial with the BBC at that juncture and feared he would never make the grade.
However, with Hereford slaying the giant, and an always hugely enthusiastic John Motson providing the narrative he found his popularity grow extensively almost overnight as the man from Salford found his way into the hearts of the Great British public.
The word legend is often banded around in modern society, yet where he is concerned it almost seems to hand him a disservice, as his timeless voice transcended through generations of Football fans.
He provided insight and fascinating analysis from the gantry over a mind bending 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships, and 29 FA Cup finals.
His attention to detail for every instance and outcome of every match he covered never waned, as in an age before information was instantly accessible on the internet it was him who was always there primed and ready for every scenario as we watched the drama unfold for England across numerous major championships.
For every glorious moment it was Motty who somehow always found the right words and tempo in that iconic voice of his that would somehow heighten even the most euphoric moments.
He was there for the iconic run into the semi finals of Italia 90, Paul Gascoigne’s marvelous strike against Scotland in Euro 96, and the 5-1 trouncing of Germany in 2001 where Michael Owen would plunder a hat trick in a famous victory.
On the contrary, he was always able to find the right words in the face of crushing disappointment, which we have had more than our fair share of over the years.
The domestic game also benefitted enormously from John’s unique talents, as Match of the Day became a national institution, with him providing the lead role each and every Saturday on commentary which was essential viewing for any football fanatic.
Whilst the likes of Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard would have his epic equalizer against West Ham in the FA Cup final victory in 2006 accompanied by the perfect score in the form of his dulcet tones.
The list of iconic moments is truly endless, as it was always John who was there to hold your hand through both the good times and the bad.
He was as passionate as they come, and without his presence in the commentary box over the years I genuinely believe that the game of Football wouldn’t have trickled its way into the fabric of society so deeply in this country.
Ultimately Football is simply a game, yet it is built on a tapestry of connections that we as fans have with each other and the theatre that plays out on our screens on a weekly basis.
Alas with John Motson leading proceedings on the microphone we had the undeniable master when it came to providing the vocal soundtrack that brought the game and its artistry to life.
In my opinion he is a once in a lifetime character who’s passion and love for the game of Football always shone through at every match he attended.
For myself and many others John was an inspirational figure who proved that despite being the man who wore glasses and a sheepskin coat, it was possible to carve out a magnificent career in the game that he adored.
Motty may or may not have ever truly understood the gravity of his importance to our game in this country, yet it shouldn’t be underestimated, as the spoken word is so vitally important not only in sport but also in life as it shapes our opinions and emotions in the world around us.
He will be sorely missed by so many fans and spectators of the game as his passionate commentary has embedded itself into so many classic sporting moments that surely wouldn’t resonate as deeply if he hadn’t had been behind the microphone, and I sincerely believe those cherished memories will continue to hold weight in our minds despite his passing.
In closing his death is a truly sad day for Football as we and the game have to say goodbye to a truly iconic man who refreshingly earned the upmost respect of the Footballing fraternity without ever kicking a ball.
John Motson was simply the voice of a generation and I hand over the final statement to Gary Lineker whose poignant words on Match of the Day perfectly summed up the feeling in and around his death.
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