As John Motson announces retirement from the BBC - Ian Dennis shares advice Motty sent him as 17-year-old

As former local newspaper reporter John Motson announced his retirement as a BBC football commentator today – a BBC colleague has shared a letter of encouragement he sent him 26 years ago.

Motson began his career at the Barnet Press before joining the Sheffield Morning Telegraph and then the BBC 50 years ago.

The 72-year-old is to leave the BBC at the end of the current football season.

BBC commentator and football reporter Ian Dennis was a 17-year-old aspiring journalist when he wrote to Motson in 1988 inquiring about a career in sports broadcasting.

Motson, by then a famous name and well established as a BBC commentator, wrote back with a typed reply on BBC headed notepaper.

He said that “enthusiasm and opportunity” are “the two big things you need”.

And he said: “May I say, by way of encouragement, that when I left school I did not get a job on the paper right away. Indeed, I worked in a book shop for some months while waiting for a vacancy too crop up in journalism.

“The important thing is not to get too impatient because a lot of people are trying to gain a foothold in the business, by which I mean keenness is often the key.”

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