What are we going to do for Motty?

Published: Monday, 27 February 2023

John Motson. The voice of a generation. Perfect. That was the best description of the legendary BBC commentator that I read last week. As I’m writing I still can’t believe that he isn’t still with us.

I don’t really have much to add to the thousands of lovely words that have already been written. I think it’s all been covered. He was a terrific guy - not the best footballer I’ve ever played with - but he tried! 😂.

He was a central figure in the commentators X1 that a lot of us used to play for - shuffling about at full-back but totally committed - just like he was to everything that he did - but football came first. My memories of Motty make me smile.

Sadly the PL did nothing last weekend to mark his passing. I know we can’t stop for a moments silence - or tribute with applause - every time someone passes - but come on - we should have done for Motty. The guy is a legend.

We did when Brian Moore passed. Quite right too. Moore has a seat at the top table of broadcast legends. Motty joined him last week but we didn’t make much of it. There were isolated tributes - I loved what Palace did in the 77th minute of their game v a Liverpool - and there were others - but too few. It should’ve been a collective thing. And it’s not too late. Let’s do it properly next weekend eh?

I don’t suppose too many of you noticed that Bernard Ingham also passed last week?  I know it’s ‘Sir’ but I don’t refer to him like that. For his family I’m sorry. Losing a loved one is always a terrible event, but there won’t be too many tears shed for Mr Ingham in Merseyside.

He was described by Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph as ‘the finest spin doctor a PM ever had’. A very generous description - one that I don’t share. He was once press secretary to Margaret Thatcher.

Those close to the Hillsborough disaster know him only too well. It’s never been proven, but it’s generally accepted that it was a call from Ingham to editor of the Sun, Kelvin McKenzie, that led to the infamous headline ‘The Truth’ on that papers‘ front page in the days following the tragedy. It was a disgustingly inaccurate headline.

So what was his motivation? Ingham was desperate to ensure that no blame for the events at Hillsborough that day were going to be attributed to the South Yorkshire Police, who Thatcher had needed to break the miners strike of 1984/5. She felt indebted to them for the part they played in smashing the strike - and ultimately destroying the entire industry. She was forever grateful to them and wasn’t going to have their reputation sullied over what happened at Hillsborough. 

What Ingham did led to years of frustration, lies, hurt and cover-ups by both Police and Tory govts. I’ve always said the ‘victims’ of Hillsborough were the families who lost loved ones. They had to pick up the pieces and fight for the truth. In the end they got that, but they never got justice. There’s a whole lot more I could say, but let’s leave it here. I’m sorry for Ingham’s family - but he was not one of the good guys.

Well done United. Job done. But as my mate Andy Gray pointed out on beINSPORTS - they didn’t play well. Not that you have to in a final - you just have to win  - but, again, as Andy pointed out - their best players were all defenders.

That says a lot about how Newcastle played. I felt for them. At times they were terrific. They opened really well and were the better team before United scored. They should take pride from what they contributed to the day and I hope it won’t be long before the wait for a trophy is over.

Eddie Howe has built carefully and is well ahead of schedule, but Newcastle are going to need better players all over the pitch if they’re going to join the really big boys. But as we know, everything is now possible at St James’.

Chelsea? There’s not a lot left to say is there? It’s an on-going shambles. Does anyone know what Graham Potter is actually trying to achieve? I have no idea. Nor do his players.

The relief at West Ham was palpable. Well done Moysie. One thing though - please be careful David when suggesting managers’ shouldn’t be adversely questioned whilst in a job because criticism can affect their mental health.

A lot of work has been done - is being done - in this very sensitive area - all of it very worthwhile. It’s complex subject so I don’t think we should deflect or blur the edges because we don’t like being held to account. As someone almost destroyed by public criticism I know what I’m talking about. I too have had death threats - but I’ve never treated them seriously and I don’t think Potter did himself any favours playing that card in his press conference Friday. I repeat - I hear you guys - but please be careful.

If Sean Dyche didn’t know what he’d taken on he certainly does now. And what a week Everton face - Arsenal and Forest away. These two games could define their season. They’ve got to get something from them or I fear the trap door is going to start opening.

Javi Garcia made a great start at Leeds - but it’s too soon to start talking about him as their saviour.

It’s beginning to look like Saints and Bournemouth are going - so it’s one from the rest down there.

A final word on the VARce at Spurs. The officials on the pitch had it right. There was no need for VAR to get involved. I thought we’d dropped this nonsense? Don’t get busy guys if there’s no need.