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John Motson admits Newcastle United put him ‘on the map’

2 years ago

John Motson is calling it a day.

Most of us can’t remember a time before he was commentating for Match of the Day.

However, everybody relies on getting the right breaks if they are going to make it big and that is what happened for John Motson 46 years ago.

Three months after his first ever TV commentary, the 5 February 1972 saw Motson handed a third round FA Cup replay and the rest, as they say, is history.

John Motson has been talking about his career and admits that it was that Hereford v Newcastle match which really ‘put me on the map.’

Motty will no doubt never forget it and Newcastle fans are never allowed to.

Obviously it was a big deal when a non-league club beat a top tier one but no doubt there is extra TV appeal, due to the footage summing up that era – the muddy pitch and the 70s ‘fashions’ on show with the celebrating Hereford fans.

Ronnie Radford’s goal clearly adding to the appeal, even though the winner from Ricky George wasn’t quite of the same quality.

Maybe now John Motson is calling it a day, the BBC could give him the footage as a leaving present never to be seen again.

So that next January, Newcastle fans can be spared seeing it yet again, ahead of the third round matches.

John Motson speaking to BBC Sport:

‘My very first TV commentary was a scoreless draw between Liverpool and Chelsea in October 1971. It was not a very distinguished game or a distinguished commentary either I might add.

The one that put me on the map was my first FA Cup tie when Hereford beat Newcastle in a third-round replay in 1972 with Ronnie Radford’s goal – everyone will remember that.

I was still on trial that year on television so it was a big day for me. I went down there thinking that Newcastle were going to have a comfortable win.

The guy who drove me down to Hereford for the game was called Billy Meadows, he was their centre-forward. He took me down with Rickie George, who was to come and score the winning goal in extra time after Radford hit a 40-yarder.

Billy then drove us home, because they both lived near me in Barnet, and we sat in Billy’s front room and had fish and chips and listened to American Pie before Match of the Day came on and there, wonder of wonders, was my match propelled to the top of the show.

I didn’t look back after that because the BBC realised then I was capable of commentating on important matches.’


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