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Iconic football commentator John Motson has died at the age of 77

The legendary broadcaster's passing was confirmed by the BBC this morning (February 23)

By Nick Reilly

John Motson pictured at his last commentary game for the BBC (Picture: Alamy) during the Premiership League match between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion (WBA) at Selhurst Park, London, England on 13 May 2018. (Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto)

John Motson, the iconic voice of football on the BBC, has died at the age of 77.

His family said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we announce that John Motson OBE died peacefully in his sleep today.”

Motson worked for the corporation for 50 years and was the voice of more than 25000 games across TV and radio in that time.

Known for his familiar and often-worn sheepskin coat, Motson joined the BBC in 1968 and covered a staggering 29 FA Cup Finals, 10 World Cups and 10 European Championships before hanging up his mic in 2018.

He began his career as a newspaper reporter in Barnet, North London, before later joining the BBC as a sports presenter on Radio 2. As The Guardian notes, his first big moment there came in 1972, when he commentated on Hereford United’s memorable victory against Newcastle. The fixture took first place on Match of the Day and became the first time his iconic voice was first displayed to the public.

Other notable games included his commentary on Wimbledon’s 1988 FA Cup final win against Liverpool at Wembley. He quipped: “The Crazy Gang has beaten the Culture Club.”

He was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting in 2001.

Tributes have already flooded in from across the world of football and entertainment.

Gary Lineker said: “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 added: “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.”

Clive Tydesley, another revered commentator, added: “As a teenager I just wanted to be John Motson. Nobody else. Terribly sad.”