Jeff Stelling’s replacement for Sky Sports Soccer Saturday from the 2023/24 season onward has been revealed according to reports.
The last two candidates who had been battling it out for the roles was Caroline Barker or Simon Thomas over the past week.
But according to Mail Sport, it’s former Blue Peter presenter Simon Thomas winning the race as host of Sky Sports’ iconic results service.
Sky plan to announce Thomas’ appointment next week having beat Caroline Barker and Jules Warren, and knows he has a lot of work to do to win the viewers over, especially as successor to Jeff who presented Soccer Saturday for 25 years before called time at the end of last season.
Simon Thomas wins the race to replace Jeff Stelling as host of Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday | Daily Mail Online https://t.co/fPXWJYAfcY
— Matt Hughes (@MattHughesDM) July 15, 2023
Simon Thomas, 50, had previously been part of Sky’s main Premier League presenters before stepping away from the role.
This came after the sad death of his wife around six years ago so that he could care for his family.
Thomas, who is also a Norwich City fan, spent six years presenting BBC children’s TV show Blue Peter before linking up with Sky.
He’s also presented on Cricket AM, Amazon Prime, The Debate and Newsround, while also featured on many other shows on the BBC and ITV.
In 2011, he was handed the job of presenting Sky’s EFL and League Cup coverage, then did the same for Premier League matches three years later.
Thomas will present Soccer Saturday for the first time on the 5th of August, the opening weekend of the EFL, before the Premier League gets underway the week after.
In February, Thomas said: ‘For many many years, whilst I was technically freelance – I wasn’t really’, Thomas began.
‘For eighteen or so years at the BBC with Blue Peter & then on to Sky Sports I was on either one, two or even three year contracts. For a broadcaster, these contracts were absolute gold dust. I was incredibly fortunate.
‘Financially I had security, I could make plans, I could put money aside for holidays, pay into pensions & rainy day funds.
‘Almost five years on I still know deep down it was the right decision; but as I’ve slowly tried to rebuild my career; its left me in the strange new world of being truly freelance’, he wrote.
‘That world of one minute feeling busy and fulfilled with a packed work calendar, to then turning the page & seeing empty weeks stretching ahead & feeling a sense of disconcerting emptiness.
‘I’ve quickly learnt that being freelance in broadcast is not for the faint hearted. One minute you can feel on top of the world wondering how you’re going to fit everything in; next you’re feeling that uncomfortable anxiety pondering where the next gig is going to come from. Is the rainy day fund going to run dry?
‘Part of me loves the excitement of the unknown; the not knowing what might come next; but perhaps a bigger part of me craves a return to the days of a decent degree of certainty.’
Recent reports suggest that Jeff Stelling may well return to TV next season after holding discussions with Amazon and the BBC. He is expected to appear on Channel 4’s Countdown but as a guest after filming episodes recently.
Here’s what fans had to say as Jeff Stelling’s replacement for Sky Sports Soccer Saturday from 2023/24 season is revealed…
@Adamefc95: There’ll never be anyone like Jeff but good luck to Simon Thomas #SoccerSaturday
@Brightonfan: That’s brilliant news, he throughly deserved it!
@wuds100: He’s been good on Sky Sports News for years but this is a huge step, Good luck to him because replacing Stelling will be nigh on impossible.
@andrewMOT: Great choice. Shame about the calibre of the pundits by his side
@UtdCasper: Great news, Simon is a legend 👍🏽
@Camden_Woods: Massive boots to fill! Good luck @SimonThomasTV 👍🏻
@peterrwrightt: Impossible to replace Jeff, but he’ll smash it
@samlee1428: Very happy for him @SimonThomasTV
@JackBurgess_02: Not bad at all!
@mcfcstu27: Thank god for that.
@LPP2014: Won’t be the same but could have been worse. I like Simon.
@_chris96bcfc: I don’t mind Simon Thomas he’s a good broadcaster. But I think this is a huge downgrade, really feel sky needed someone with more of a personality
@Declancarr96: That’s a great move.
@MrMass93: Well deserved
@MattStevns: Great news. Sensible from Sky.
@benoliver000: No one will ever reach the popularity Jeff had but they probably couldn’t have got many better to replace him than Simon Thomas tbf