RIP John Motson, 1945-2023

RIP John Motson, 1945-2023

The world received some very sad news earlier today when we learned that legendary English football commentator John Motson, whose career spanned decades (and included very long stints in video games), had passed away at the age of 77.

Even the most casual English-speaking football fan will know his work, regardless of whether they knew his name or not. Motson was one of the most endearing commentators in the sport, beginning his career on radio in the 1960s before moving to TV shortly after. He didn’t retire until 2018, having covered ten World Cups, ten European Championships and, incredibly, over 2500 games in total, on both TV and radio, domestically and internationally.

As familiar as Motson’s work was to anyone catching a game on TV or the radio, he’ll be almost as familiar to a whole generation of gamers. Given his prominence in the actual commentary booth, Motson was chosen to be the first (English) voice of EA Sports’ FIFA series, beginning with its first foray into the world of CD-based games in FIFA 96. Which means he was also the main commentator for FIFA 98, which as we’ve covered here previously is the greatest sports video game ever made.

Motson’s last FIFA game as the main commentator was FIFA 06, after a decade spent working alongside some of the greats of the business, like Ally McCoist. He did, however, make a nice little return over a decade after that, as part of FIFA 19’s singleplayer story campaign, which featured a flashback moment that only Motson’s iconic commentary could bring to life:

Motson, who passed away “peacefully in his sleep”, is survived by his wife Anne and his son Frederick.

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