Voice of football John Motson to hang up his microphone on career which began in Sheffield

John Motson.
John Motson.
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Legendary football commentator John Motson will hang up his microphone today but do you know about his links to Sheffield?

The veteran broadcaster will commentate on Crystal Palace's match at home to West Brom this afternoon before bringing to an end a career which has included 29 FA Cup finals and six World Cup finals.

Motson, 72, previously worked as a reporter at Sheffield Telegraph in 1967, which was his first taste of covering football.

The commentator will take his home-made notes that have served him so well in the past, but the springtime heat means the sheepskin will remain in the wardrobe for the game at Selhurst Park

"It's already too hot for the sheepskin," he said.

"It was too hot last week at Watford, so don't worry, the sheepskin has been put away now.

"I'm pleased the weather's turned - sheepskin is great, and you do shiver a bit between November and March (without it) I must say."

Asked to sum up his emotions heading towards his Selhurst Park finale, Motson added: "At the moment I'm perfectly balanced and quite cool about it. I'm not going to make a really big deal of it - I've known since September that this was going to be my last season.

"I do like Selhurst Park as a commentary position anyway so I'm not worried about that side of it.

"I'm just feeling quite calm and collected about the whole thing. I know it's going to be a special day because I've also got the BAFTA awards in the evening and they're giving me a lifetime achievement award which I'm very thrilled about, so the day is going to go on into that.

"But the match is something I've got to deal with first and I shall do it in the normal way."

The 'normal way' for Motson involves hours of pre-match preparation, where his wife Annie plays a key role.

"I'm old-fashioned, I'm a dinosaur," he said.

"I don't work off a computer and I don't delve into the club websites, my research is based mainly on my wife's wonderful record book which she keeps dutifully and diligently every day of the season with all the teams, matches, appearances, goalscorers, newspaper cuttings, you name it - she's got it all in one big volume.

"We've got 35 of these at home, and they're a great record of my commentary career. I'm also sad to see the end of the Rothman's Football Yearbook because that's been a bible for all of us in the media hasn't it?

"So that's the formed basis of where I start from - then I might go and see the teams play in midweek if they had a match, and I've got DVDs of Crystal Palace and West Brom.

"And I won't be changing how I prepare this week - I've got my own methods and no doubt the up-and-coming commentators will find a different way of doing it."

Motson's career in commentary will be recognised in a special 'Motty Night' of programming on BBC Two on May 19, just after the FA Cup final has finished.

He insists he has not thought too deeply about what the next challenge might be, just said: "The voice is still working, it's still strong, so if there is a way I could use it or someone could come up with a route I could go down, I suppose I would have to think about it."