John Motson dies aged 77: Tributes pile in as sport mourns commentator

‘An absolute LEGEND and gentleman’: Tributes pile in for iconic commentator John Motson – who has died aged 77 – as former players and broadcasters mourn ‘the voice of football’

  • Iconic football commentator John Motson passed away aged 77 on Thursday
  • Gary Lineker described him as ‘a brilliant commentator and the voice of football’
  • Follow LIVE: The sporting world reacts to the passing of commentator Motson

Tributes have piled in for legendary sports commentator John Motson, who passed away aged 77 on Thursday.

Motson was synonymous with the BBC – where he commentated on over 2,000 matches on television and radio.

His stunning commentary portfolio included 29 FA Cup finals, 10 World Cups and 10 European Championships.

Former players turned broadcasters Gary Lineker, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher also swiftly took to social media to pay their respects to the iconic commentator.

Lineker, who has long been the face of BBC’s Match of the Day, said in a tribute: ‘Deeply saddened to hear that John Motson has died. 

John Motson, who was synonymous for his iconic commentaries and sheepskin coat, has died 

‘A quite brilliant commentator and the voice of football in this country for generations. He’ll be very much missed. RIP Motty.’

Ex-Liverpool and England star Carragher tweeted: ‘RIP John Motson. An absolute Legend of the game. So many of us grew up listening to this man describe the action and goals on Match of the Day and cup finals. Sad loss.’

Meanwhile, Manchester United legend Neville, who alongside Carragher regularly commentates on Sky Sports, simply wrote: ‘RIP John Motson’ with a love heart emoji.

BBC pundit Alan Shearer also paid his respects on Twitter, with Motson providing most of the soundtrack to his 260 Premier League goals as a player.

‘RIP Motty,’ he tweeted. ‘An incredible career. The voice. Legend.’

Winning an OBE in 2001 for his services to broadcasting, Motson retired from his role at the BBC in 2018. 

Motson was married to wife Anne – with the pair having tied the knot in 1977. They have one son together called Fred, who was born in 1986. 

Born in Salford, Motson – the son of a Methodist minister – had stints as a reporter on the Barnet Press and Sheffield Morning Telegraph at the start of his career.

Motson – who has covered over 2,000 games on television and radio – passed away aged 77 

After hearing news of his passing, several other famous faces wanted to pay their respects to the iconic commentator.

Ex-Arsenal and Everton star Kevin Campbell tweeted: ‘Rest in Peace John “Motty” Motson an absolute legend and gentleman.’

David Baddiel, who used Motson’s iconic voice as part of his and Frank Skinner’s hit song Three Lions in 1996, said: ‘John Motson. Oy. Feels impossible: a voice that, at one time, *was* football. RIP.’

Sportsmail columnist Chris Sutton also paid his respects with a touching tribute, which read: ‘Really sad news to hear of the passing of John Motson. 

‘He was a legendary figure in the commentary box and will be sorely missed. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family.’

Former Liverpool and England captain Phil Thompson, who has since plied his trade covering top flight matches on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, said: ‘What a voice, what a man RIP John Motson.’

Ex-England international Graham Roberts also penned a tribute, which read: ‘Very sad news today about John Motson. A great man and brilliant commentator. RIP John.’

Clubs and governing bodies up and down the country also felt compelled to mark the death of such an iconic figure in football. 

Tottenham Hotspur, recalling Motson’s coverage of the 1981 FA Cup final between Spurs and Manchester City, tweeted: ‘We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of John Motson. He called one of the most iconic goals in our history, and many more. There will never be another like Motty.’

Liverpool described Motson as an ‘iconic voice of the game’ in their tribute, while local rivals Everton labelled him ‘a broadcasting legend’, admitting he will ‘be sorely missed’.

The BBC, his home for several decades, tweeted: ‘Rest in peace, John Motson. The legendary commentator, who had an illustrious 50-year career with the BBC, has died aged 77.

Meanwhile, the FA wrote: ‘We are very sad to hear that John Motson has passed away. His iconic voice will always be synonymous with football. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP, Motty.’

BBC presenter Gary Lineker said he’s ‘a quite brilliant commentator and the voice of football’

Commentators were also quick to show how much Motson had inspired them in touching tributes on Twitter.

BT Sport commentator Darren Fletcher wrote: ‘This is such sad news – an iconic commentator with his own distinctive and brilliant style. The soundtrack to my youth watching football. RIP Motty.’ 

Ian Darke, another commentator for BT Sport, said: ‘Very sad to hear of the passing of John Motson. 

‘Probably the most famous football commentator of them all. Meticulously researched and retaining boyish enthusiasm and love of the game over half a century of the biggest games , he set the gold standard.’

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