My Mentor: Jake Humphrey on John Motson
'Motty's what you would call a consummate professional. I aspire to that'
Monday 28 July 2008
It's only when you start watching sport from a broadcaster's perspective that you realise how difficult it is to sit in a stadium of 45,000 people, and get it bang on pretty much all of the time. I have a huge respect for commentators. Their job is much trickier than being a TV presenter.
I remember going into a production meeting, the first week that I did Football Focus – I was a bit in awe, really. John Motson came over and he told me that he thought I did Football Focus really well. He gave me his business card and said: "If ever you need any guidance or any help with a story, just give me a call." For him to think that what I'd done was good really meant a lot.
Motty's approach is: if you have all the knowledge, then you can't get caught out. He is a really methodical planner. He still has notes from games he did back in the 1960s.
At the Euros, Motty was the person I'd have a chat with over breakfast, or drink with in the evening. His knowledge of the game doesn't just cover those 90 minutes of the previous match. Over the years, he's been there, seen it and done it.
When you put the football on, you know immediately that it's Motty commentating. What I've learned from that is there should always be a reason why I'm the person presenting the programmes I do. He has been picked for the biggest jobs because of his uniqueness, and that he can be relied upon. He's what you would call a consummate professional. I aspire to that.
He is exactly the same off the mic – effusive, chatty, and knowledgeable. Talent like that doesn't come along very often, and the BBC has been lucky to have him for so long. People like John Motson have turned BBC Sport into a supremely professional outfit.
I think there's an important role for Motty in BBC Sport and I'd love to continue working with him for as long as it's possible.
Jake Humphrey is presenting the BBC's Olympic coverage live from Beijing. John Motson has commentated on BBC football for 30 years.
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