Whilst the sport of football seems to possess multiple commentators, all of whom possess the necessary credentials to become proficient contributors to the game, one of them seems to be at the forefront of focus. John Motson, who has plied his trade with the BBC for five decades, recently announced his retirement, and as such this period seems to signal a poignant opportunity to reminisce about the career of Motson, and the reasoning behind why he seemed to achieve such longevity. Whilst naturally his retirement may provide an opportunity for other commentators to propel themselves forward, and perhaps strive to attain a place covering major finals, Motson’s achievements, including his appearances in 20 international tournaments, may have already cemented his legacy, and provided his colleagues with goals to aim for.
Having been hired by the BBC as a sports broadcaster for Radio 2, Motson seemed to showcase at an early stage the potential to become one of the most recognised commentators in the country. He seemed to utilise this period productively also, honing his credentials and gaining the necessary experience to attain a place on Match of the Day. After making his debut in 1971, and commentating on his maiden FA Cup final in 1977, he seemed to become an integral member of the team, earning the position as main commentator, providing him with a multitude of opportunities to become involved in various finals. Yet, whilst having seemingly accomplished superior levels in comparison to other commentators, he seems to have consistently strived to improve in key areas; this most notably seemed to occur during the 1994 World Cup, where Barry Davies was selected to cover the final as opposed to Motson. Yet, this seemed to be a challenge he relished, utilising this as motivation to reclaim his position at the pinnacle.
Whilst his football achievements may be his crowning glory, he also seems to have achieved in other key areas, most notably in contributing to innovating the act of commentating, with his accomplishments across a wide range of areas enabling him to become a more accomplished contributor to the sport. Motson consistently uses colour-coded notes prior to each fixture, influencing other commentators to become similarly prepared, and has also been a vocal advocate for many charitable organisations. As well as appearing in multiple video games, and children’s television shows, he seems to have played an integral part in renovating the game, and showcasing the beneficial aspects of becoming a commentator, and therefore he may have ensured he resonates with a wider breadth of people.
Whilst Motson may therefore claim the plaudits, his retirement may signal opportunities for his colleagues to strive to exert their influence on the game, and attain the role which Motson seems to have played. Yet, many of his colleagues seem to have prioritised vocalising their praise for Motson, and recognising his contributions to the sport. In addition, he seems to have had a profound impact on a multitude of Premier League clubs, and in an occupation where it may be required to be objective, being held in high regard may prove his integrity further. His recognition from his colleagues may also have been a factor in the longevity he has achieved, and may have also enabled him to extend his tenure with the BBC after his original retirement in 2008.
With Motson retiring at the conclusion of this season, there still seems to be ample time to both exert his influence in the game and simultaneously be recognised for the achievements he has amassed. The latter may be increasingly important during this period, as Motson’s career, whilst naturally paying dividends for him, seems to have showcased the benefits of striving to achieve on a different path, thus laying the foundations for success on the journalistic side of the sport. As such, it may be this innovation claiming the focus, as whilst for his colleagues he seems to have showcased how to become increasingly proficient, his highlighting of the wide array of opportunities in football may have motivated an influx of fresh commentators to strive to similarly impact the sport as Motson has.
How may Motson’s colleagues utilise his accomplishments to enhance their capabilities and commentators?