March 15, 2024

Five Star Sport

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Jeff Stelling: Tribute to Sky Sports Presenter Following His Final Soccer Saturday

4 min read
Jeff Stelling: Tribute to Sky Sports Presenter Following His Final Soccer Saturday

After 25 years in charge of Sky’s premier football results show, the 68-year-old, who has worked there for more than 30 years, announced last month that he would be leaving.

The 68-year-old bid his farewells in an emotional speech, during which he revealed that Elton John had called him unexpectedly.

Stelling said he was left “starstruck” when the legendary singer – once the owner of Prior to his final Soccer Saturday appearance, the Watford football club called him at home to wish him well.

“Elton John rang me this week,” Stelling said.

“I recently was asked if I’ve ever been star-struck, and the answer is yes… When Elton John called me at home and said, “Thank you so much for everything you have done,” I was in awe.

“”Every week I watch the show, you tell me Watford is losing, and every week you tell me Hartlepool (the team Stelling supports) is losing, so I feel like we are kindred spirits,” he (Elton) said to me.”

Following a celebratory montage and round of applause at the end of Sunday’s Soccer Special programme, Stelling joked: “We appreciate your ovation. Because I’ve changed my mind, I mean this is tricky.”

Stelling thanked everyone who contributes to the show, including the commentators, runners, production team, and call center employees.

He said: “It’s a team game.”

Stelling said his time at Sky had been “absolutely wonderful”.

He added: “It has been the most wonderful job anyone could ask for.

“You’re the luckiest man to ever take a breath, my wife Lizzie loves to tell me. And, truth be told—I don’t often tell her this—but she’s correct.”

By thanking the audience for their tremendous support, Stelling concluded the program.

Stelling last month announced his intention to step down after more than 30 years at 25 years at the helm of Sky’s premier football results program.

He said it was the “right time” to move on and give Sky Sports viewers a break from his “relentless rants, bad gags and over-the-top celebrations of Hartlepool United goals”.

On social media, well-wishers paid respects.

Son Robbie posted: “I’m so proud of you, dad.

“You have undoubtedly made an impact on fields outside of football because you have poured your heart and soul into the program.

“You have taught me so much about football and life in your roles as a broadcaster and father.

“The best person to ever exist is you.”

Piers Morgan tweeted: “Few people ever get to leave a long-running TV job while still performing at their absolute best, but Jeff Stelling just did it.

“Jeff, you were great fun, exciting, entertaining, and very professional. You will be missed.”

Former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes tweeted: “Do what you love, according to Jeff Stelling, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. You’ve never held a job. Respect, you’re The Goat. Enjoy the next section.”

LBC presenter Iain Dale thanked Stelling for “hours and hours of tremendous sports broadcasting”.

He added: “Jeff is truly one of the few people who should ever be called “total legends.” a football fan’s best pal.”

FootballJOE posted: “The best laughs on television for twenty-five years. I appreciate you being the Saturday voice and face of football.”

Hartlepool United wished fan Stelling “all the best”, adding: “Our local hero.”

FC Halifax Town joked: “Good luck with your retirement. Next season’s Halifax vs. Hartlepool matchup is always open to attendance, and we’ll make an effort to avoid canceling it twice.”

NFL UK said “congrats on an incredible stint”, declaring: “From our screens, you’ll be missed.”

Friday saw a thank-you note from Prostate Cancer UK to Stelling for representing the organization’s badge for the previous eight seasons.

A spokesperson added: “Many of the millions of football fans who were at risk for prostate cancer have now heard our message thanks to you.”

September will see the annual Stelling football charity march for Prostate Cancer UK.

TV presenter Chris Kamara also posted an early tribute, describing Stelling as the “best broadcaster” he has ever met.

In the post on Thursday, he said: “I’m sending in my tribute early because Jeff has played a significant role in my life and I adore him dearly.

“Working with the maestro is something I do miss. There won’t ever be one like it. Your nickname will always be “Unbelievable Jeff.””

1992 saw Stelling join Sky. From 2011 to 2015, he served as the broadcaster’s primary host for its live Champions League coverage.

He previously announced plans to leave Soccer Saturday at the end of the 2021/22 campaign but stayed for another season.

Gary Hughes, Sky Sports’ director of football, previously said: “Jeff has long been associated with Saturday afternoon football, thrilling and inspiring football fans everywhere.

“Soccer Saturday has become a fan favorite event thanks to his distinctive broadcasting style and enthusiasm for the game, and he has received numerous honors for it.

“We’ll miss him terribly.”


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