John Motson dead: BBC commentator legend dies aged 77 as stars pay tribute to 'voice of football' | The Sun

LEGENDARY football commentator John Motson has died aged 77 leaving the world of sport in mourning.

The BBC pundit celebrated 50 years in the job in 2018 before hanging up his mic in May that year.

Motson, who was affectionately known as Motty, later came out of retirement to join talkSPORT.

The commentator was famed for his signature sheepskin coat as he became the voice of football for countless generations.

During his career, he covered ten World Cups, ten European Championships, 29 FA Cup finals and more than 200 England games.

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

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Tributes have flooded in for the legend from the world of football.

Gary Lineker wrote: "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."

Jamie Carragher said: "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."

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Former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell wrote: "Rest in Peace John “Motty” Motson an absolute legend and gentleman."

While David Baddiel said: "John Motson. Oy. Feels impossible: a voice that, at one time, was football. RIP."

In 2014, Motson was diagnosed with bowel cancer and forced to miss the World Cup in Brazil.

Speaking at the time, he said: "I consider myself very lucky I was diagnosed so early that the cancer was dealt with and the positiveness came about because I wanted to get back into my normal life.

“That drive and determination was probably the most positive thing I could’ve had.”

Motson was born in Salford and began his journalistic career in Barnet – the team he supports on the Barnet Press.

He worked as a reporter between 1963 and 1967 before being hired for BBC Radio 2.

His first radio commentary was an Everton v Derby clash in December 1969.

Three years later, Motson became a household name thanks to his work on Match of the Day.

His breakthrough came during Hereford's shock 2-1 win against Newcastle in the 1972 FA Cup replay.

Motson was only meant to cover the match for a five-minute segment but Ronnie Radford's famous 30-yard strike meant the clash was promoted to the main game.

He famously remarked on the game: "Oh what a goal! Radford the scorer. Ronnie Radford! And the crowd are on the pitch. What a tremendous shot by Ronnie Radford."

It helped propel his career even further – with Motson going on to voice major FA Cup, European Championships and World Cup finals.

He commentated on almost 2,500 televised games in totalincluding a record-breaking sixth World Cup final in Berlin in 2006 and his 29th FA Cup final in 2008.

Motson was famed for his often poetic commentary and encyclopaedic football knowledge during his illustrious career.

His quip at Wimbledon scuppering Liverpool's chances of the double in 1988 became notorious.

The legend said: "The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club."

Motson bowed out after 50 years on the final day of the 2017/18 season and was invited on to the pitch.

Then-Crystal Palace manager Roypresented him with a framed copy of the programme from his first and last matches at Selhurst Park and a crystal microphone.

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He won a Bafta that year for his work and received an OBE in 2001 for services to sports broadcasting.

Motson lived in Hertfordshire with his wife Anne, who he married in 1977.

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