How John Motson’s coat became part of football history


John Motson was, for more than 50 years, known primarily for his voice, but his long sheepskin coat – worn on freezing touchlines and in cramped commentary boxes – ended up becoming almost as much of a trademark.

He first began wearing the coat in the 1970s during the winter months of the football season. It was in December 1990 that his outerwear became notable – during his appearance on BBC Grandstand to cover an FA Cup tie between Wycombe Wanderers and Peterborough United, which was postponed by snow. Motson was photographed on the snowy pitch, battling the weather in his calf-length sheepskin. The image appeared in newspapers and became a piece of football history.

Motson was aware that the coat had become a trademark but he was clear this was not intentional. “I didn’t set out to make the sheepskin coat anything special, but it just happened when I was at Wycombe in 1990 and the snow came down,” he said in 2017. “I looked forlorn and it just stuck from then on.” Even in the warmer months, people would often ask where his coat was, he said.

Stuart Clarke, the photographer who took the 1990 picture, commented: “One shot and I create a photo, a moment in time, that will help elevate Motson and his coat to national treasure status and please audiences for many years to come.”

If football managers’ dugout outerwear has changed over the years – from overcoats in the 90s to hoodies and gilets more recently – Motson’s sheepskin was part of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school of football style. He had the coats made to measure at a Savile Row tailors’, with each one lasting about 10 years. He bought nine or 10 over his career, with each one costing about £2,000.

“I’ve always paid for my own. People think the BBC pay for them but they don’t,” he said.

In 2017, he told the Sun that he had ordered a new one for his last Premier League season of commentary. “I thought I would get one more in,” he said. “I will probably keep it for a couple of years, but won’t buy any more after that.”

Even if the weather was too warm for Motson to wear the sheepskin for his final match of Premier League commentary in May 2018, social media made sure the image of Motson was given its due tribute – an emoji of the commentator in his sheepskin with his microphone was released by Twitter on the day he retired.

One of Motson’s coats is now on display in the National Football Museum in Manchester. However, even his endorsement could not create the demand for sheepskin. Nursey of Bungay, a company that once made Motson’s coats – and those for that other sheepskin icon, Del Boy – closed in 2014 because of falling sales.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More