"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."
John MotsonThe football world is a poorer place today following the death of the legendary BBC commentator, John Motson - Motty to everyone.
I first met John Motson in 1985 when he generously agreed to voice video for a charity I was associated with. Over the years I met him many times. Several more times he did the voiceover on Christian football videos that I was working on, always the consummate professional and always offering his time without payment.
For several years he helped me with an article on the Premier League for Sorted men’s magazine. A simple question set his encyclopaedic mind whirring and he would reel off analytical assessments of any team or player I cared to mention. These articles gave great kudos to Sorted .
In 2010 we were both in Cape Town for the World Cup. John mentioned to me that he had dropped in the BBC pecking order and did not have a ticket for Germany v Argentina, World Cup Quarter Final. I was able to secure one from a contact in FIFA. We attended the game together. That was an experience! My own personalized match commentary.
During that World Cup he gave me an interview for the radio programme I was working for. When I copied the file I accidently deleted it. I rang him and explained. He said, "just come back to my hotel we can redo it". A legend and a gracious one.
John Motson was the son of a Methodist minister. He said that the question he was most frequently asked was: “You only work for 2 hours on a Saturday afternoon. What do you do the rest of the week?”. John used say that he found the question funny as it was the same question people used to ask his dad!
Clive Tyldesley, in his book on commentators, Not for me Clive made this simple statement on John Motson “Motty did it better than anyone has done before him”.
John’s readiness to help with Christian projects stemmed from his Christian upbringing and the faith that he retained, often attending midweek services if he had to work on Sunday. I thank God for every remembrance of John Motson.
Photo credit: By gordonflood - Man United V Man City, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4095096