Motson in his famous sheepskin coat (©GettyImages)
Motson in his famous sheepskin coat (©GettyImages).

Phil Neville should be replaced by John Motson in commentary

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A number of media outlets, including the Independent, reported that former England player Phil Neville was roundly criticised following his poor performance co-commentating during England’s 2-1 defeat to Italy last Saturday.

Many of Neville’s abusers popped up on Twitter, with one user saying, “If the entire stadium burns down, Phil Neville will mumble "Well, that's what flames can do. If they're not marked."”

Neville himself responded to the criticism, saying on BBC Radio 5 Live that, “co-commentary is harder than what I thought it was gonna be.”

He also made light of the situation, “I'm just glad I helped everybody sleep back home.”

However, there have been criticisms levelled at the BBC because of their decision to choose Neville for the game when he had literally no experience of commentary.

Perhaps now is the time for Neville to be moved to non-commentating duties, meaning that a replacement for the co-commentary hot seat will need to be found.

Surely then, veteran broadcaster John Motson is the best man to take the reins for England's next game. 

Not only is he renowned for his passion whilst broadcasting, he also has a remarkable knowledge of teams and players.

Yet he is nearing the grand old age of 70 and is limited to covering highlights of games on the BBC’s Match of the Day.

Surely that shouldn’t stop a man stepping into the breach who has been commentating on football games for the best part of 50 years.

In that time, he has delivered his familiar tone to viewers and listeners on over 1,500 matches, including covering previous World Cups and European Championships.

Whilst he did announce his retirement from live commentary in 2008, that surely shouldn't stop the BBC from at least asking him to return on a temporary basis. 

Indeed, in 2001 the BBC revealed that Motson’s voice was the best for commentating and that 32% of the nation agreed that he was the best in the country.

This information came about as the result of a study by speech therapist Jane Comins, who analysed the voices of eight top commentators and concluded that his voice was the best.

Colin Gill, a clinical psychologist, then analysed reactions of fans to differing commentators and discovered that Motson was indeed the nation’s favourite.

Despite his age, he will be a lot better than Neville, who is surely unlikely to co-commentate again at this World Cup after the widespread criticism and complaints levelled at the BBC and himself.

People should now get behind Motson to return, with the hope that his voice will be heard on TV screens across the country once more.

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World Cup
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Phil Neville

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