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Jeff Stelling explains why he’s staying on Soccer Saturday after reversing on quit decision

Jeff Stelling explains why he’s staying on Soccer Saturday after reversing on his decision to quit the football scores show.

Five days ago, Sky Sports announced a surprise U-turn on Jeff planned departure, which he confirmed for the end of the 2021/22 season.

He said in October that this would be his final season, after 30 years at Sky, however, he has decided to stay on as host for at least 2022/23.

He said in his column for Hartlepool Mail: The biggest [U-turn] was obviously by Will Smith at the Oscars who went from laughing at Chris Rock’s joke to slapping him in the face in an instant.

“It is a good job I don’t get a slap every time I tell a bad gag! I would be a mess!

“I know my decision to stay at Sky as host of Gillette Soccer Saturday did come out of the blue.

“After all the Sports Journalists Association had just given me their coveted Lifetime Achievement award at their annual dinner.

“They only do that when they think you are done!

“But walking down the street people would shout out ‘Don’t retire Jeff’, cabbies pulled over to tell me the same thing and social media was awash with messages urging me to stay.

“The truth is that I was never retiring so there was never going to be a Sinatra or Streisand or Scholes-esque comeback.

“I always intended to carry on working and had lots of offers. I had been mulling over which to accept for months.

“It was always going to be difficult to leave Sky.

“I have been there for 30 years and in that time the company has always been good to me.

“They have backed and supported me through some difficult personal times.

“And when I suggested that I could carry on for at least another year, they agreed pretty much on the spot.

“After all, how could I leave before Paul Merson has learned how to pronounce Allan Saint-Maximin?

“Or before Kris Boyd learns to love Leeds United?

“I know a year might not be enough by the way which is why I agreed AT LEAST another 12 months with Sky.

“Hopefully that will be time enough for me to be presenting when Pools win promotion back to League One.

“I didn’t think I would live long enough to see us back in the Football League after four years out but Raj Singh, Dave Challinor, Graeme Lee and the players have made that a reality.

“They have run themselves into the ground in what will be a 59 game season by the time we play Colchester United on the final Saturday.

“To think the likes of Mikel Arteta complain about fixture congestion when Arsenal will have played 44 games when their season finishes.

“And that Lifetime Achievement Award? It’s going to have to go back.

Jeff Stelling shows just how class he is by donating his fee for his monthly column with Hartlepool Mail to Hartlepool’s Alice House hospice.

Jonathan Licht, Managing Director of Sky Sports said on Jeff staying: “Football fans everywhere will be delighted that Jeff will continue to host Soccer Saturday.

“He is a massive part of Saturday afternoon life and everyone at Sky Sports shares the joy this news will bring.

“We just can’t get enough of Jeff, and can’t wait to bring more of his broadcasting magic to our viewers.”

Twitter users react before Jeff Stelling explains why he’s staying on Soccer Saturday after reversing on his decision to quit…

@DannyCraven12: Do us a favour though @JeffStelling and remove yourself from gambling adverts

@Bristol_jack79: How else would we know how Hartlepool are getting on! 🤣

@andrewstevo39: Best news in a long while.. great news. Soccer Saturday just wouldn’t be the same without the one and only Jeff Stelling 👏👏

@ClemmyKarl: If you are staying because of Merse pronouncing St Maximin correctly, you’ll never retire😂😂😂

@STFC_Carl: Just need kammy to stay now please jeff 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺

@ste71: Until you change the panel I won’t be watching not the same since champagne Charlie and them went

@Richie_boyd: Keep defending the Great North east Jeff

@Nigeljdixon: You’ll be there until the end of time if your waiting for @PaulMerse to speak English and begin to appreciate anything from the North East. In other news the vast majority of us are very pleased with your announcement, we couldn’t cope with Merson, Boyd & Morrison without you

@lowes_mick: Sanity prevails with at least one Football Presenter continuing his/hers/its excellence 👌👍

@DannyRead1993: Looking forward to the rest of the season and beyond you have saved Saturday afternoons in a dark time for our country throughout especially the past 2 years keep going @JeffStelling

@Tash_ander50n: So pleased, you made the right decision. My Saturdays wouldn’t be the same without you ❤️❤️❤️

@ircowell: Well done Jeff I personally think you are the best in the business and should keep going for a few more years! sky know that too once you leave the show will also finish!! Enjoy your new 5 million a year contract 👍🏻

@HobsonDhobson22: I stopped watching, not because of you @JeffStelling but the replacements weren’t a patch on the old guard, ruined a great show and Saturday afternoons for me.

@Geordie1723: Or he actually gives Eddie Howe and Newcastle a bit of praise that would make a pleasant change, he had us down and out in November, so just be fair Merse we know your a Boro fan 🤷‍♂️🤣

@Captain_Mugwash: Could find yourself presenting until well into your 90s then!

@billy_boro: So glad you’re staying on Jeff

@Choakie: So pleased you’re staying Jeff! Would NEVER have been the same without you 😍

@IanDeakin16: You are the only reason to watch it now Jeff.

@darren_worley6: Saturdays are staying great, cheers jeff

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