Hartlepool football broadcaster Jeff Stelling announces he is leaving Soccer Saturday and Sky after over 25 years
and live on Freeview channel 276
The 66-year-old broadcaster announced the “incredibly difficult decision” live on air on Saturday’s show (October 30).
Jeff, who is president of his beloved Hartlepool United, said he will also be departing Sky Sports, but plans to carry on working.
He said: “Before we do the team news from Newcastle, I have got some team news from Sky Sports and Soccer Saturday to tell you about.
“I will have been at Sky for 30 years next year, and hosted Soccer Saturday for the past 25 or so – I am not too clever at statistics – but I have come to the decision, an incredibly difficult decision, that this will be my final season.
“It has been my decision. There has been no pressure whatsoever. Sky have been absolutely brilliant with me, as they always always have been.
“I am going to be here until May, and then I am leaving the show and the company so that is about seven months of Saturday afternoon parties, so let’s get this party going.”
Jeff, who worked for the Hartlepool Mail at the start of his career, was handed the presenting role for Sports Saturday in 1994, which became Soccer Saturday four years later.
He has remained the face of the popular show ever since.
Jeff was given a standing ovation from the Soccer Saturday pundits following his announcement.
Sky Sports managing director Jonathan Licht told the channel’s website: "Jeff is a true broadcasting legend and has been a big part of Sky Sports' growth and popularity over the last 30 years.
"Jeff's pure passion and dedication to the game has set him apart and made Soccer Saturday a fixture for millions of fans every Saturday afternoon.”
Jeff’s exit comes after Matt Le Tissier, Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thompson were controversially stood down from the show last year.
He previously hosted Channel 4 game show Countdown for three years from 2008.
In 2010 he was granted the title of honorary freeman of Hartlepool.
Over the years he has also helped to raise over £1million for different charities including Prostate Cancer UK in a series of marathon walking challenges.