There’s a little known saying: Life doesn’t start until you’ve heard John Motson say ‘OH BALLACK’.
It’s the best thing that has ever happened in football. His disappointed tone is sensational. It’s the exact vocal inflection that you use when you find your cat eating your lunch. In fact, if Michael Ballack manages to land the leading role in the next Garfield movie, Motty would be a shoe-in for the part of his disapproving owner (aptly named Jon).
After all, the 72-year-old will be looking for work following this weekend, when he commentates on his very last game.
Motson is a true icon of British football. I’d list the stats behind his incredible career, but being the ultimate statistician, he probably knows them already, so I’ll make some up instead. He’s been the voice of over 430 FA Cup finals. He’s celebrated more England goals than there are stars in the universe. John Motson invented Match of the Day.
His retirement from live television commentary in 2008 has meant that Motty’s dulcet tones haven’t graced many of football’s highlights over the last decade. Martin Tyler’s prominence on Sky, along with that AGUEROOOOO moment, has seen him take up the ‘voice of football’ title, but Motson’s legendary status has never diminished.
So what iconic fixture has the BBC chosen for Motty’s curtain call? Arsene Wenger’s final farewell at Huddersfield perhaps? How about one last visit to Anfield or Old Trafford? Nope…it’s Crystal Palace v West Brom.
Sunday’s fixture at Selhurst Park hardly screams ‘fitting send-off’. Palace are already safe, West Brom are already down. It’s such a dead rubber, that there’s a risk Motson will be the only person there. That’s no way to conclude a 125-year career. That’s no way to reward a man who had to sit next to Mark Lawrenson for the best part of a decade. There must be another way.
I propose that Super John is given one last World Cup to go out on. It’s the summer swansong his career deserves. Without it, he could end up wondering around holiday resorts in his sheepskin jacket or trying to recreate his iconic lines around the dinner table (Oh, I say what a good lasagne that is).
Let’s have Motty scream Harry Kane’s name as he taps in an equaliser again Panama. Let’s hear the pride in his voice as he reels off Kieran Trippier’s crossing stats. I don’t want Guy Mowbray and I don’t want Jonathan Pearce. There’s only one voice for England letting us down at international tournaments and it belongs to Mr Motson.