Jeff Stelling reportedly quit Sky Sports out of loyalty for sacked pundits
This season will be his last as host of Soccer Saturday
Jeff Stelling is set to leave Sky Sports at the end of the season. The 66-year-old has presented Soccer Saturday since the mid-1990s but announced last weekend that he will leave his role in May.
According to a report in The Times, Stelling has decided to leave the long-running show partly because of a decision made last year.
Sky Sports removed Soccer Saturday pundits Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Matt Le Tissier from their positions ahead of the 2020/21 season. All three had one-year remaining on their contracts when they were dismissed.
Stelling and pundit Paul Merson worked alongside Thompson, Nicholas and Le Tissier for several years. The popular host of the show said the pundits were his "best friends."
According to a report on Tuesday, Stelling has decided to leave Soccer Saturday partly because the three pundits were let go last year. And, if they were still on Soccer Saturday, "Jeff would have stayed on."
Stelling told The Guardian last year that he was upset over the departures of Thompson, Nicholas and Le Tissier. But he never voiced his opposition to the decision with his employers, as he felt it was not his place to do so.
“I’m an employee and I do what they tell me. If I don’t like it, my alternative is to leave," he said.
When announcing his departure on Saturday, Stelling did not cite the exits of Thompson, Nicholas and Le Tissier as a factor in his decision to leave Sky Sports.
The popular presenter simply said it was time to move on, and that he had no intention of retiring.
Wish I cd reply to everyone individually but wanted to say I was overwhelmed by the kind comments today. Thank you. We still have 7 months of Roath Ravers, Eisa is a good investment, Hartlepool, Broom sweeps thrpugh etc etc still to come! Not sure if that’s good news or not !!
— Jeff Stelling (@JeffStelling) October 30, 2021
"I've come to the decision, and incredibly difficult decision, that this will be my final season," he said.
"It's been my decision. Sky have been brilliant with me as they always have done. I'm not intending to retire, that's up to people out there.
"It's time to let somebody else have a go at what is the best job in the world. After all, I wouldn't want to get the point I call Wraith Rovers, Roth Wraithers. We wouldn't want that, would we? "I'm going to be here until May and then leaving the show and the company.
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