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23rd Mar 2017

Jeff Stelling has bad news for fans who love his work on Soccer Saturday

End in sight

Darragh Murphy


OK, we’ve composed ourselves. Apologies.

But that reaction is somewhat warranted as Gillette Soccer Saturday presenter and everybody’s dream uncle, Jeff Stelling, has admitted that retirement is on the horizon.

Stelling is a huge part of most football fans’ lives, spending hours on end rattling off live score updates and acting as the pot-stirrer in the (admittedly sometimes cringeworthy) banter on the show each weekend.

But, having presented television programmes for four decades, Stelling admits that the idea of hanging up his microphone is becoming increasingly appealing.

“I don’t know how much longer I’ll do presenting. I’ve done it for 40 years,” Stelling told the Daily Star.

“I am not sure how long it will go on for. I might want to put my feet up. I am getting on – the next decision will be retirement.”

Considering the fickle and often vicious nature of football fans, it’s a testament to Stelling’s personality and professionalism that he is almost universally liked among supporters.

His job is certainly not easy as he fires out statistics, issues score updates, throws to reporters at grounds and has to put up with Paul Merson all without skipping a beat on live television.

But Stelling, who has just turned 62, has paid his dues and the intense nature of live television has left him looking forward to spending his retirement in full-on relaxation mode.

“I want to stick my feet up on the beach,” he said. “We spend as much time as we can in Portugal when it isn’t the football season. I love it there. I’d be very happy to spend a bit more time out there.”

Spending years tolerating the attempted comebacks of Charlie Nicholas will take its toll on any man.

And while Stelling isn’t infallible, he will be sorely missed when he walks away from the Sky Sports studio for the last time.