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John Motson OBE (1945-2023)

23 February 2023

A defining voice of English football, legendary commentator John Motson OBE has died at the age of 77.

During his illustrious 50-year career, ‘Motty’ was an ever-present in English football, commentating on over 2,000 football matches across the League and its competitions since 1971.

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

Motson was the voice for some of the biggest moments in football history, covering 10 World Cups – including a record-breaking six Finals – 10 European Championships and 29 FA Cup Finals, as well as more than 200 England games.

At the 2018 EFL Awards, he was recognised with the Contribution to League Football Award – the EFL’s most prestigious award, presented annually by the Board of the EFL to an individual who has given a lifetime’s service to the professional game on and off the pitch.

Upon accepting the honour, Motson said: “I was a Football League commentator when I started in 1971 and I’ve always been an admirer of how the League has stuck together over the years. To get this award was a huge surprise to me – I didn’t realise it was going to be the first award tonight or that there would be so many nice words spoken.

“I am really grateful. It has been a great privilege and a great thrill to do what I’ve done. I’ve had some celebrations this season because it is the last one before I retire, but I have to say, this EFL Award tops the lot.”

Motson made his breakthrough on Match of the Day during the famous FA Cup replay between Hereford United and Newcastle United in 1972 and went on to be renowned for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the game and trademark sheepskin coats.

He became an OBE in 2001 for services to sports broadcasting and continued to be a mainstay in the commentary box until his final game in 2018 between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion.

Motty was invited on to the pitch after full-time and applauded by the fans before Palace manager Roy Hodgson presented 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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