John Motson honoured with special night of BBC programmes


The BBC is to dedicate an evening of programming to mark the retirement of legendary football commentator John Motson as he retires after an incredible 50 years behind the microphone.

Taking place on Saturday, 19 May, BBC Two will pay a fitting tribute to the man who has provided the voice to over 10 World Cup finals, 10 European Championships, 29 FA Cup Finals, over 200 England internationals and over 2000 football matches.

Motty: The Man Behind The Sheepskin takes Motson on a poignant but fun filled journey around the football grounds that have provided the backdrop for so many remarkable commentaries and football stories from this unique broadcaster, famed for his love of a sheepskin coat.

Reliving some of those immortal commentaries and the stories behind them, the programme also hears from those closest to him including his beloved wife Annie and son Fred, plus football legends Gary Lineker, Ian Wright, two of his longest standing co-commentators Sir Trevor Brooking and Mark Lawrenson along with celebrity football fans Noel Gallagher and Sir Rod Stewart.

On the night, Motty Mastermind, sees Motson take over from John Humphrys as the host of the famous quiz show. With his love of facts and figures, John is the perfect quiz master as he sets to grill Alex Scott, capped 140 times for England and former Arsenal Women’s Captain, former world boxing champion Anthony Crolla, football commentator Jonathan Pearce and record breaking swimmer Mark Foster.

Rounding off the night is Countdown To The Full Motty which sees Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker introduce a special countdown of some of Motty’s greatest football commentaries from over 50 years as a broadcaster.

The evening of special programmes will be broadcast on the same day as the 2018 FA Cup Final, where Manchester United take on Chelsea live from Wembley on BBC One, kicking off 5.15pm.

Motson’s final commentary can be heard on 13 May on Match Of The Day as he describes Crystal Palace’s home match against West Brom. On that same evening he will also be presented with the Special Award at the BAFTA TV awards taking place at The Royal Albert Hall, live on BBC One from 8pm.

On hanging up his microphone for the last time, Motson said:

“I’m truly humbled that the BBC is dedicating such a special evening to me.

I’ve been very lucky to have witnessed some incredibly special moments in football and I look forward to sitting down with my family, and many football fans in the country, to look back on the past 50 years.”

A special Twitter emoji will give fans a unique way to celebrate John’s remarkable career. It will go exclusively live on Twitter on 11 May 11 at 11am until 21 May at 11:59pm, with Motson becoming the first ever UK sport broadcaster to have their own bespoke Twitter emoji.

To use, Twitter users should simply include any of the following hashtags in a Tweet and John will appear holding that iconic microphone one last time:

#JohnMotson    #ThanksMotty    #ThanksMotson    #ThankYouMotty

John Motson has been one of the best known personalities in sports broadcasting on the BBC for the last 50 years, contributing to Match of the Day, Grandstand, Football Focus and BBC Radio Sport regularly since 1968.

After starting out as a sports reporter on Radio 2 in 1968, he made his first major breakthrough on Match of the Day during the iconic FA Cup replay between Hereford and Newcastle and he has been heard on Match of the Day since 1971.

From 1979 to 2008 he was the BBC’s voice on major finals such as the FA Cup, European Championships and World Cup.

That run included his record-breaking sixth World Cup final in Berlin in 2006 and his 29th FA Cup final in 2008; an achievement not matched by any other commentator.

His retirement, announced in September 2017, follows fifty consecutive years with the BBC that has seen him cover 10 World Cups, 29 FA Cup finals, 10 European Championships and more than two hundred England games.

He received an OBE in 2001 for services to sports broadcasting.

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