John Motson believed Ronnie Radford's legendary goal for Hereford against Newcastle United in the FA Cup was the moment that changed his life. Motson's commentary for the moment is perhaps the most memorable from his long and successful career and fans have been reminiscing following his death at the age of 77.
The BBC announced Motson's passing this morning with tributes quickly flooding in from the world of football and beyond. He covered 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and 29 FA Cup finals for BBC Sport after joining the broadcaster in 1971. He finally retired from the mic in 2018 after 47 years as the voice of football.
He also covered more than 200 England matches and commentated on almost 2,500 televised games while he was awarded an OBE for services to sports broadcasting in 2001.
However, Motson believed his career could have been very different had he not been put on commentary duties for Hereford's FA Cup encounter with Newcastle in 1973. The Magpies were expected to run out comfortable winners against their non-league opponents but the Bulls ran out 2-1 winners in one of the biggest shocks in the competition's history.
Radford had levelled the scoring with a sensational strike from around 35 yards out with Motson's commentary of the moment becoming as legendary as the goal itself, insisting it changed his life.
Speaking to the Press Association in 2022, he said: “I was on trial at Match of the Day for a year and I got given this game, which I know was a replay and they’d drawn up at Newcastle, but most people thought Hereford were going to lose by one or two goals – and when Malcolm Macdonald scored, it looked that way.
“And then Ronnie changed everything. He changed his life, my life, the history of the FA Cup with a goal that came out of nowhere. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen a shot fly through the air and go into the net quite like it.
“It probably wouldn’t have happened that way had he not done that. The way that goal went in and when it went in, it changed everything.
“It changed people’s concept of me as a commentator, it got me more important games, and Ronnie’s contribution to that was one of the most amazing goals in FA Cup history."
The match was promoted to first on Match of the Day that night and the rest, as they say, is history with Motson going on to become one of the most iconic commentators in the history of the sport.