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John Motson

Kirsty Young talks to broadcaster John Motson.

John Walker Motson, OBE, also known as Motty, has been commentating on football since 1971. He covered more than 2000 games on television and radio, including all the major football championships, 29 FA Cup finals (with an additional five replays), 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and 200 England games. At the age of 72 he's just retired.

Known not only for his footballing knowledge and his voice, he is often recognised by his knee-length sheepskin coat. His passion for football was ignited by his father, a Methodist minister for 40 years, who on his one day off each week would take his only son to watch football. The first game John attended was at Charlton Athletic when he was seven, and the excitement of it inspired him to create scrapbooks of footballing facts and collect match programmes.

After five years at boarding school, where he wasn't allowed to play football, he left at 16 after one term doing A levels. He joined the Barnet Press as a trainee reporter and then moved onto the Sheffield Telegraph. When BBC Radio Sheffield, one of the first six local radio stations, came on air, he was one of the reporters pulled in to give match summaries. He then moved to the BBC as a sports assistant in radio, before joining the Match of the Day team on television.

He has been supported in his career by his solicitor wife, Annie, who meticulously kept details of every match in thick A4 books which John used for his preparation. He was awarded an OBE for services to football and in May 2018 he was honoured by BAFTA with a Special Award for his lifetime's work.

Presenter: Kirsty Young
Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

52 minutes

Music Played


    • David Baddiel, Frank Skinner & The Lightning Seeds

      Three Lions

      • Epic.
  • Billy Cotton & The Johnston Singers

    The Red Red Robin

    • The Red Red Robin (The Songs of Charlton Athletic F.C.).
    • 13th Moon Recordings.
    • 1.
  • Paul Anka


    • The Very Best Of Paul Anka.
    • Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
    • 1.
  • Elton John


    • Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player.
    • Mercury Records Limited.
    • 1.
  • John Denver

    Annie's Song

    • The John Denver Collection.
    • Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
    • 1.
  • Elaine Paige

    Don't Cry for Me Argentina

    • Evita - Original London Cast.
    • MCA Records.
    • 9.
  • Henry Francis Lyte

    Abide With Me

    Composer: William Henry Monk. Music Arranger: Ernest Bullock. Choir: Choir of Westminster Abbey. Conductor: Martin Neary.
    • Perfect Peace.
    • Sony Music Entertainment.
    • 7.
  • Paul Simon

    The Boy in the Bubble

    • Graceland.
    • Warner Music UK Limited.
    • 1.

    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger


    Running shoes


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest John Motson
Producer Cathy Drysdale


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