Everybody has a John Motson moment, whether they know it or not.

Chances are, one of those goals indelibly inked into your brain has those unmistakable tones to soundtrack it, the words as clear in your memory as the minute details of the finish itself.

That’s the real art of football commentary.

Anybody, to an extent, could get by on the mic if all you had to do was say what you've just seen – but the very best work doesn’t just subtitle the action, it enhances it. Martin Tyler’s delirious commentary on Sergio Aguero’s 2012 Premier League title-winning goal is almost as famous as the strike itself. You’ll be hard pushed to find a Celtic fan who, when recalling Henrik Larsson’s ‘sensational’ chip over Stefan Klos, doesn’t hear Ian Crocker waxing lyrical over the top of it.

I could sit all day and rhyme off countless others, but the point is that few, if any, of these commentators will not have been influenced by the legendary Motson. The extent to which he made his mark on the game without ever kicking a ball was made poignantly clear by the flow of tributes brought on by his passing aged 77.

By the time he hung up his mic – and trademark sheepskin coat – he had commentated on over 2000 matches across TV and radio, all across half a century. I can’t really explain why there’s a particular one that sticks out for me. Indeed, it’s one that most won’t immediately recall, but my earliest football memories – aside from shedding tears at Cappielow – are the wonders of late 90s-early 2000s Manchester United.

Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy – recollections of these guys in their pomp invariably goes hand in hand with Motson being the voice of their thrilling exploits. He’ll have been there for league title wins and cup finals, but it’s Villa Park in 2002 that always comes to mind.

Perhaps it's because it's one of the lesser noted rollercoaster evenings for United under Sir Alex Ferguson, of which there were so many, and it tends not to be featured as often when the club’s glory days are recalled. But I never seem to pass up an opportunity to watch it, and came to realise Motson’s commentary had more than a little to do with that.

It’s the FA Cup third round, January 6.

United, having found themselves as low as ninth in the Premier League on December 8, roared back into title contention over the festive period. Their cup ambitions, however, were in serious jeopardy shortly after the New Year.

Uninspired, they found themselves 2-0 down to Villa with just 13 minutes to play, an own goal from Phil Neville set to be epitomise a disastrous day. But when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer burst through to pull one back in the 77th minute, Motson’s voice tells you that something might just be happening here.

His suspicion is justified - Ferguson has built an empire on the back of odds-defying comebacks. ‘Oh, and they have got one back…’ Motson crows as Van Nistelrooy rushes in to retrieve the ball from the goal. The next five minutes are to be all about the Dutchman.

The clock strikes 80, and Scholes’ back post ball to Beckham is headed across goal. Villa’s Steve Staunton thinks he can get there, but suddenly Van Nistelrooy is front of him, taking the ball on his chest and lashing brutally into the roof of the net.

‘Ooohh… Manchester United again come from behind!', the air of inevitability in Motson’s voice tells you what he – and the rest of us – suspected was most likely coming. But he hasn’t hit top gear just yet, because he knows this is far from over.

What happens next, however, takes even Motson by surprise. All these years later, it’s still hard not to shoot up in your chair when Van Nistelrooy breaks in behind less than two minutes later, and suddenly Motson is at full throttle. The big striker rounds the keeper to finish off a pulsating comeback, and before the he’s even fired into the empty net, Motson is exclaiming: ‘Can you believe this? You better believe it!’

It's a masterclass in commentary; reading the flow of the game, punctuating each moment perfectly, and leaving himself enough so that the big finish gets to stand out on its own. On top of that, it just feels authentic.

READ MORE: Rangers TV commentator Clive Tyldesley in John Motson tribute

I might be wrong, but I feel social media has changed football commentary and not entirely for the better. Commentators know that a big moment will be instantly clipped to be shared far and wide. How often are these goals now followed by an extended spiel, littered with metaphors and bombastic language. It can come across scripted and pre-rehearsed, and, dare I say, feels like the commentator making it a little about them.

Compare it to those eight words when Van Nistelrooy skips past Peter Schmeichel and it simply doesn’t need anything else. Motson knew when less is more, and that was – among plenty else – what made him one of the very best.

That being said, his contribution to the game overall was anything but minimal, and that is why he’s being so fondly remembered.