Hartlepool-born TV presenter Jeff Stelling has dismissed talk that he is planning to retire.
Jeff, who hosts Sky Sports’ hugely popular weekly Soccer Saturday football show, spoke out after he was quoted in a national newspaper saying his next big decision would be when to hang up his microphone.
But speaking exclusively to the Mail, he said he had no plan to retire any time soon because he loves the job too much.
Jeff said he had been inundated with calls and messages since the article in the Daily Star.
He told the Mail: “I have absolutely zero intention of retiring.
“I have had lots of people on and messaging me.
“I’ve got three kids and a wife to clothe and feed and I love the job far too much to retire, so it’s all just nonsense.”
Jeff, who turned 62 last weekend, also joked he would not be retiring before Soccer Saturday pundit Phil Thompson, who is a year older than him.
The premature reports about his retirement prompted many comments on social media.
Coral bookmakers said on Twitter: “Soccer Saturday will never be the same...”.
Football_Tweet said: “Please don’t do it, Jeff.”
The Sportsman said: “Our Soccer Saturdays will never be the same.”
And Bettors United said: “When are we going to see a petition to stop Jeff Stelling retiring?!?”
Jeff cut his teeth at the Mail in the 1970s before moving into radio and television.
He has become a household name thanks to his informative, humorous presenting on Soccer Saturday, including his outbursts when his beloved Hartlepool United score.
He used to bring out a James Brown figure singing ‘I feel good’, whenever Pools’ namesake of the Godfather of Soul put the ball in the net.
During his time behind the desk, Jeff has worked with footballing greats including George Best, Rodney Marsh and Matt Le Tissier.
He is Pools’ Honorary President and writes a regular column in the club programme The Blueprint.
Last year he and then Chief Executive Russ Green raised more than £420,000 for Prostate Cancer UK by walking 10 marathons in 10 days from Hartlepool United to Wembley.
In June, he aims to raise £500,000 for the charity on March for Men, by walking 15 marathons in 15 days from Exeter City’s St James’s Park to that of Newcastle United.
Clocking in at 400 miles, Jeff’s journey will see him visit more than 40 football clubs including Hartlepool United.