Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: No shades of grey in John Motson's commentary

By John Laverty

Oh, brilliant... oh yes, ohhh YES! I know what you're thinking but you're wrong! That wasn't a soundbite from Fifty Shades of Grey.

It was, however, the commentary that accompanied Paul Gascoigne's terrific goal for England against Scotland 18 years ago. (Incidentally, I was sitting with Gazza's missus Sheryl when the ball hit the back of the Wembley net, but that's a story for another day.)

BBC replayed that epic volley - complete with John Motson's breathless words - many times in the run-up to Tuesday's friendly between the old enemies at Celtic Park. And, in doing so, reminded me why I've never warmed to the otherwise affable Motty.

The man's leanings towards all things English is, a bit like that goal from Euro 96, breathtaking.

The quality of the strike notwithstanding, to get carried away like that - while working on behalf of the supposedly neutral British Broadcasting Corporation during an all-British encounter - still rankles nearly two decades on.

And the veteran Motty hasn't changed; if Joe Hart makes a save it's "what a stop from the England goalkeeper" and, if Wayne Rooney makes a mistake it's "an error from the England captain, of all people..."

Other players' nationalities never seem to be worthy of even a passing mention.

Mind you, that well-known Motson soundalike, Clive Tyldesley, got pretty excited himself when Roo scored against the Scots the other night.

But he's always come across as being star-struck and overawed by big-name players - even those who don't have three lions on their shirts.

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