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Euro 2008: John Motson's finals farewell





Euro 2008 could be John Motson's last commentary on international football after more than three decades as a familiar voice behind the microphone.



The 63-year-old commentator has disclosed that the finals in Austria and Switzerland will be his last major tournament and he will not cover the 2010 World Cup.



They think it's all over: Motson

"I'm coming to the end of my career. I'd been thinking about it at the start of the season, but now I've decided I don't want to be tearing around South Africa for the next World Cup at the age of 65," said Motson. "It's physically and mentally challenging."


Motson will take charge of the final on Sunday and, with the BBC having lost the rights to cover live international matches from next season, will be limited to Match of the Day highlights duties, something that "saddens" the best known commentator on the sport still working today.


Since he first appeared on Match of the Day in 1971, Motson has covered nine World Cups and nine European finals. He has built a strong reputation as both a source of football knowledge and someone for whom a child-like enthusiasm for the game has never disappeared.


"Younger reporters and commentators depend on club websites," he said. "I'm of an older generation. I haven't changed my system since 1971 and I couldn't adjust now - I'm too old.



"I wonder if I really had to do all that work. You do get a reputation for stats and it's still in my head, but I don't go into quite so much detail as I used to."


He has been with the national broadcaster for his entire career and his voice has become synonymous with BBC football coverage. His loyalty was regularly tested over his career with bids for his services from rivals but 'Motty' as he is affectionately known, remained loyal.


Football fans' forum

"With every offer I had, the BBC reacted in such a way that I opted to stay," Motson said in an interview with Radio Times. "I come from the generation who watched the BBC. It’s my heritage. Working with the BBC is like working for Manchester United."


Motson has witnessed from the commentary box some major changes in the national game - not all of them to his liking.


"I'm uncomfortable with the size of salaries and the division of money between the clubs - the gap between the Premier League and the rest," he said. "We should divide the spoils a little more generously."




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