Jeff Stelling

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Jeff Stelling
JStelling.jpg
Born Robert Jeffrey Stelling
(1955-03-18) 18 March 1955 (age 59)
Hartlepool, County Durham, England
Residence Bishop's Waltham, South Hampshire
Occupation Journalist,
Radio/Television presenter
Spouse(s) Liz Stelling (m. 1998)
Children Robbie (b. 1998)
Matthew (b. 1999)
Olivia (b. 2003)

Robert Jeffrey "Jeff" Stelling (born 18 March 1955) is an English sports journalist and sport television presenter. He currently presents Gillette Soccer Saturday for Sky Sports and their coverage of the Champions League. He also presented Channel 4 quiz show Countdown between 2009 and 2011.

Early life[edit]

Stelling was brought up in a council house in Hartlepool.[1] He attended Rift House Primary School and West Hartlepool Grammar School. After leaving school his first job was as a journalist at the Hartlepool Mail where he remained for four years.[1]

Career[edit]

Radio[edit]

His first broadcasting position was as a reporter on Middlesbrough F.C. on Radio Tees in the late 1970s.[1] He was a sports presenter on London's LBC Radio Sportswatch programme in the early 1980s before moving to BBC Radio 2's weekend sports programme Sport on 2, covering the Los Angeles and Seoul Olympic games.

Television[edit]

He later spent time as a sports newsreader at TV-am, Channel 4, Eurosport and British Satellite Broadcasting before moving to Sky in 1992 to present coverage of horse racing, snooker and darts. In 2003 he won a sports presenter special edition of The Weakest Link. In 2004, Stelling was offered but rejected an offer from the BBC to front Score—their new Saturday results service. The job was given to Ray Stubbs.

Sports Saturday[edit]

In 1994, Stelling became presenter of Sports Saturday, which became Gillette Soccer Saturday in 1998, hosting a programme lasting up to six hours of football discussion and live reports on the afternoon's games with a panel of pundits including Frank McLintock, Chris Kamara, Rodney Marsh and the late George Best. Much of the programme's popularity is put down to Stelling, with The Guardian praising him for "exceptional professionalism and élan".[2]

At the start of the 2005–06 Premiership football season, Stelling replaced Ian Payne as the host of Sky Sports' Ford Monday Night Football programme. However, Stelling's appointment coincided with a new, shorter format of the programme, with Stelling presenting the show live from the ground of that evening's game. Previously, the show had been presented from a studio, and had featured some coverage of the prior weekend's games. Moreover, in previous years on Monday nights without a live game, a Monday Night Football Special would be broadcast, which included only the analysis from the weekend's games. This appears to have been dropped from the 2005–06 season, indicating that Stelling's appointment is to a smaller role than that held by his predecessors.

In 2011, Stelling replaced the departed Richard Keys as the main presenter of Sky's live Champions League coverage.

Countdown[edit]

On 21 November 2008, it was reported that Stelling had been confirmed as the new host of the Channel 4 game show Countdown following the departure of Des O'Connor. He had reportedly also been approached for the role following the death of long-time host Richard Whiteley, but the role was given to Des Lynam instead.[3] Stelling began recording Countdown in December 2008, with the show's new assistant Rachel Riley, and started broadcasting in January 2009. He also appears during an episode of The IT Crowd in the same role. However, it was announced on 25 May 2011 that Stelling would be stepping down as presenter of Countdown at the end of the year, after three years at the helm, to concentrate on football, including his new Champions League role.[4][5]

Other work[edit]

He appeared in an advert for Sky Broadband in 2013 which spoofed a previous Sky Broadband advert which starred Bruce Willis.[6]

In May 2013, Stelling joined twentyfour7 Football Magazine and wrote columns for the magazine's Dream Team.[7]

Recognition[edit]

On 23 November 2007 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Professional Studies by the University of Teesside.[8]

Stelling has been named as Sports Broadcaster of the Year for five successive years by the Sports Journalists' Association, based on a poll of its members. He has so far been the only broadcaster to win the award.

On 12 March 2010, he was granted the title of honorary freeman of his hometown of Hartlepool, along with the town's former MP Lord Mandelson.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Stelling lives in Bishop's Waltham in south Hampshire with his wife Liz and two sons Robbie (born September 1998) and Matthew (born December 1999) and a daughter Olivia (born July 2003). They were married in November 1998 in Richmond upon Thames. He has completed the London Marathon on eight occasions and his best time is 3 hours and 28 minutes.[10] In June 2013, Stelling, Colin Cooper, Craig Hignett and 12 others climbed Mount Kilimanjaro raising money for the children's charity The Finlay Cooper Fund.[11] The climb raised £100,000.[12]

He is a well-known supporter of his local club, Hartlepool United F.C., in which during the 2008–09 season, he would use a singing toy figure of the singer James Brown singing "I Feel Good" every time the player of the same name scored.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Jeff Stelling - I owe it all to Hartlepool". North East Life. 12 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Weaver, Paul (17 January 2001). "Grandstand for the information age". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 3 March 2007. 
  3. ^ Rollo, Sarah (16 October 2008). "Jeff Stelling turns down 'Countdown'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 17 October 2008. 
  4. ^ "Countdown host Jeff Stelling to leave show". BBC News. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Countdown presenter Jeff Stelling quits show". The Daily Telegraph (London). 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Hartlepool Mail Jeff Stelling – and Hartlepool – star in spoof Bruce Willis ad
  7. ^ twentyfour7 Football twentyfour7 sign Stelling and Balague
  8. ^ The Northern Echo Ranting Jeff Gets a Degree From Town University
  9. ^ The Daily Telegraph, Lord Mandelson and Jeff Stelling made honorary freemen
  10. ^ Countdown, Jeff Stelling and Rory McGrath discuss the London Marathon
  11. ^ ITV News, Charity team conquer Kilimanjaro
  12. ^ "Hartlepool United manager’s Kilimanjaro trek raises £100,000 for charity". Hartlepool Mail. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Paul Dempsey
Host of Soccer Saturday
1994–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Des O'Connor
Host of Countdown
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Nick Hewer