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Legendary commentator John Motson passes away

Legendary commentator John Motson, who had an illustrious 50-year career with the BBC, has passed away aged 77.

Motson covered 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and 29 FA Cup finals for BBC Sport before retiring from the organisation in 2018.

Popularly known as 'Motty', he had worked on Match of the Day since 1971.

"It is with great sadness we announce that John Motson OBE died peacefully in his sleep today (Thursday)," said a statement from Motson's family.

The son of a Methodist minister, he had stints as a reporter on the Barnet Press and Sheffield Morning Telegraph at the start of his career.

He also worked as a freelancer for BBC Radio Sheffield before he joined the BBC on a full-time basis in 1968.

After starting out as a sports reporter on Radio 2, he made his breakthrough on Match of the Day during the famous FA Cup replay between Hereford and Newcastle four years later.

Originally billed as a five-minute segment, Hereford's shock 2-1 win - featuring Ronnie Radford's famous 30-yard strike - saw the match promoted to the main game, with Motson capturing all the drama.

From 1979 to 2008 Motson - known for his trademark sheepskin coats and encyclopaedic knowledge of the game - 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. He also covered more than 200 England games.

His final game for Match of the Day was between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion in 2018.

He 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.

Motson became an OBE in 2001 for services to sports broadcasting.

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