'Best news all year': Jeff Stelling fans react after retirement U-turn

‘That’s the best news I’ve had all year’: Soccer Saturday fans flood social media as they react to Jeff Stelling’s dramatic U-turn, revealing he WON’T be leaving the show at the end of the season

  • Jeff Stelling has announced he won’t be leaving Soccer Saturday this year 
  • The 67-year-old revealed in October that he would step down as the show’s host 
  • Fans of the show have been left delighted by Stelling’s dramatic U-turn 
  • Stelling announced he will stay on for another season at the very least 

Fans of Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday have reacted with delight after Jeff Stelling announced a dramatic U-turn on his decision to leave the long-standing show at the end of the current season. 

Stelling, 67, took the role just two years after the show’s inception nearly 30 years ago in 1994, but in October the veteran presenter announced his time on the popular weekend installment would imminently come to an end. 

The host on Monday announced his decision to stay on at least until the end of the 2022/23 campaign, however, after holding ‘discussions’ with Sky. 

Jeff Stelling will not be leaving Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday show at the end of the season

The veteran presenter has been part of the show since 1994, two years after its inception

‘Sky Sports is my home, and the Soccer Saturday team are a big part of my life,’ Stelling said in a statement released on Monday afternoon. 

‘As the end of the season approached, and I was preparing to say goodbye, I realised that I was not ready to blow the final whistle and leave the best job in the world.

‘I am thrilled to be staying, and excited about moving the show forward and creating more special Saturday afternoons on Sky Sports.’

The announcement was instantly greeted with widespread excitement on social media, with a number of fans insisting the show simply wouldn’t be the same in his absence. 

One fan, who was clearly particularly excited by the announcement, took to Twitter to write: ‘Can honestly say that’s the best news I’ve had all year!! There’s no way it would be the same without Jeff.’

Another wrote: ‘Oh wow, that’s actually really cheered me up. Jeff’s a legend, great news.’

In a heartwarming message, another user, responding to Sky Sports’ announcement, wrote: ‘That’s amazing. My dad will be so pleased. 

‘He’s just come out of a coma after a month in ICU due to a cardiac arrest. We are testing his memory and my mum asked him who he likes watching at 3pm on a Saturday and he said Jeff Stelling. We will tell him.’

One fan, rather more comically, simply wrote: ‘Unbelievable Jeff!’

A number of Soccer Saturday fans reacted with delight following the shock announcement

It wasn’t just the fans left delighted by the news, with Jonathan Licht, Managing Director of Sky Sports, insisting everyone at the company is equally as thrilled.   

‘Football fans everywhere will be delighted that Jeff will continue to host Soccer Saturday,’ he wrote. 

‘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.’

Stelling announced in October he was stepping down as host of Sky’s Soccer Saturday show

He was given a standing ovation from the punditry panel when he revealed the news

Sky had wanted BBC’s Mark Chapman to replace the long-serving host prior to his U-turn, as reported by Sportsmail earlier this month. 

Chapman is a well-known voice across BBC platforms and presents BBC Radio 5 Live’s flagship Saturday coverage, along with the Monday Night Club show. 

Arguably the voice of BBC Sport, he also hosts Match of the Day 2 and the channel’s rugby league coverage.

With Stelling’s reversal of his decision, that appointment is now out of the question.  

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