Yesterday afternoon saw John Motson complete his last ever live commentary for the BBC when taking listeners to BBC Radio Five Live through the ups and downs of Arsenal’s lunchtime meeting with Watford.
For millions of football fans across the country, Motson has been been an ever-present voice in their lives, having completed his first ever radio commentary back in 1969 when watching Everton take on Derby in a 1-0 win for the Toffees.
After 48 years on stadium gantries across the world, “Motty” has travelled to 10 World Cups and 10 European Championships, taken in 29 FA Cup finals and talked the nation through more than 200 England games but for supporters of a red and blue persuasion, there has been no more iconic 90 minutes in the 72-year-old’s lengthy career than the day he watched Palace beat Liverpool 4-3 at Villa Park in the 1990 FA Cup semi-final.
Given the fact that John Motson is set to commentate for the final time this weekend, I feel it's only right to share this footage from Palace's 4-3 FA Cup semi-final win over Liverpool from 1990.
His words will stay with me forever. pic.twitter.com/twaoMoesSc
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) March 9, 2018
Having been hammered 9-0 at Anfield back in September of the 1989/90 league season, the general public were primed and ready to witness another mauling live on TV that day but the Eagles, managed by the now legendary figure that is Steve Coppell upset all the odds to triumph in extra-time thanks to a close-range stabbing header from workmanlike midfielder and future boss Alan Pardew.
In what was a topsy-turvy match from start to finish, Motson saw Ian Rush give the Reds the lead after 14 minutes before goals from Mark Bright (46′) and Gary O’Reilly (70′) saw Palace wrestle back control. Unbelievably, Dalglish’s men levelled through Steve McMahon (81′) and took the lead though John Barnes (83′) when a penalty was awarded following a frantic re-start to the game.
At this stage, Coppell’s men looked beaten all ends up but miraculously, Andy Gray (not the Scottish fella who got sacked by Sky) popped up to head home on 88 minutes following a scramble in the penalty box, sending the game into a nerve-shredding period of extra-time.
Despite the exhaustion being felt by each and every player in a Palace shirt, the decisive goal was nodded home by Pardew on 109 minutes and is now preserved in history with the accompaniment of Motson’s iconic commentary alongside it.
John’s powers may have waned a tad in recent years but back in April of 1990, there is no doubt that the man famous for his sheepskin coat and endless statistics was at the top of his game.