As legendary football commentator John Motson announces retirement, did you know he started his career in Sheffield?

John Motson is stepping down from the BBC after 50 years.
John Motson is stepping down from the BBC after 50 years.

Legendary football commentator John Motson has announced he is hanging up his microphone and famous sheepskin coat - but did you know he began his career in Sheffield?

The broadcaster, fondly known as Motty, has announced he will bring the curtain down on 50 years at the BBC at the end of the current football season.

The 72-year-old has covered 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships, 29 FA Cup finals and more than 200 England games.

But it all began back in Sheffield in the late 1960s.

In 1963, Motson's career began in the newspaper business as a reporter in Barnet.

But it was in 1967 that he first covered the beautiful game, working for the Sheffield Morning Telegraph where he covered both Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday.

His broadcasting career took off when the BBC hired him in 1968 as a sports presenter on Radio 2. Three years later, he gained a role with Match of the Day and became a regular commentator in the 1971–72 season - and the rest is history.

"I've absolutely loved my time commentating for BBC Sport," said Motson.

"I've been fortunate enough to witness some of the biggest moments in football history mere yards away from the action, so I've really been very lucky."

Motson, known for his trademark sheepskin coats and encyclopaedic knowledge of the game, wants to continue his links with the sport.

"I'm hoping to keep my association with football and with broadcasting - I'm not retiring from everything, I'm retiring from the BBC," he said.

He will commentate on 18 games over the course of the Premier League season as part of a 'farewell tour' before a last appearance during the BBC's FA Cup final programme in May 2018.

Back in 2007, Motson was one of the guests of honour at The Three Merry Lads in Lodge Moor when former Morning Telegraph sports editor Benny Hill invited ex-colleagues to celebrate his 80th birthday.

The gathering brought from around the country more than 50 scribes who had contributed to the sports pages during his 40 years on the paper until closure in 1986, ranging from those who had gone on to make their names nationally to others who remained working locally.

At the bash, Motson reminsced about his formative years on the sports desk at York Street in the late Sixties when David Jones, first sports editor of the then fledgling Radio Sheffield persuaded his old print journalist mates to contribute on-air match reports for free.

A few days later Motson found himself before the meticulous Benny perusing – with shakes of the head and much sighing – an article for the Telegraph before looking over the top of his glasses and declaring with some prescience: "Maybe you should stick to talking rather than writing, lad."