A tribute to John Motson, the voice of the FA Cup for generations of football fans

Following the news of legendary football commentator John Motson's death, content manager Nicholas Veevers reflects on the loss of a voice forever associated with the FA Cup

Thursday 23 Feb 2023
John Motson was a special guest of the FA for the Emirates FA Cup Final of 2018 at Wembley

For generations of football fans, John Motson was THE voice of football and it is with great sadness that we learned of his passing on Thursday morning.

The former BBC commentator provided the soundtrack to some of football's biggest games for so many fans across five decades and tributes have been flooding in since the news was announced.

John was synonymous with the FA Cup, stretching right back to February 1972 when the competition provided him with one of his breakthrough moments in broadcasting.

His commentary of the third round replay between non-League Hereford United and top-flight Newcastle United turned out to be one of the FA Cup’s all-time classics.

And Motson’s famous take on the stunning goal scored by Ronnie Radford to help Hereford produce what remains one of the biggest giant-killings in history will forever be etched in the competition’s history.

He went on to spend 50 years with the BBC, commentate on 29 FA Cup Finals, ten World Cups and ten European Championships and for me, growing up in the 1990s, his distinctive tone became the soundtrack to Saturday lunchtimes and evenings when we could get our weekly football fix.

Whether it was his voice providing the background to that weekend’s big game on Match of the Day, or seeing him in his sheepskin jacket on Football Focus ahead of an FA Cup tie at a snowy Wycombe Wanderers, you always knew that ‘Motty’ would so often be on the mark.

On a professional level, I had the opportunity to both meet and work with John on numerous projects for the FA and it was always an incredible pleasure.

In particular, I recall his involvement around the 2018 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United when he was a special guest of the FA at Wembley following his retirement earlier that year, last season's 150th FA Cup anniversary celebrations and also the FA’s 150th anniversary back in 2013.

Whether it was an interview for our own channels or match programmes, John was always more than willing to contribute and make his mark on what we were doing.

Usually, the conversation would stretch beyond the initial topic and his interest in football and being able to talk about the game with anyone, not to mention his knowledge and memory of games and teams over the years was remarkable. It's said he commentated on over 2000 games, and I'd say there was a fair chance he'd recall most of them.

It’s been a while since we heard his voice at a game, but it’ll never be forgotten.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels