Soccer Saturday

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For the RTÉ soccer programme, see Premier Soccer Saturday.
Soccer Saturday
Format Football news
Starring Paul Dempsey (1992–1994)
Jeff Stelling (1994–present)
Opening theme Theme from Sky Sports News (since 2009), previously Requiem for a Tower by Corner Stone Cues (2008–2009)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Production
Running time 330–360 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel Sky Sports News
Sky Sports 1
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original run 1992 – present
External links
Website

Gillette Soccer Saturday is a weekly television programme broadcast on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and Ireland during the football season. The programme updates viewers on the progress of association football games in the United Kingdom and Ireland on Saturday afternoons. The current host is Jeff Stelling. The programme is sponsored by Gillette. The 3pm to 5pm portion of the programme is also shown on Sky Sports 1.

History[edit]

Soccer Saturday grew out of Sports Saturday, which started in 1992 hosted by Paul Dempsey. Current host Jeff Stelling joined the programme in 1994 and became its sole presenter a year later. The name of the programme changed to Soccer Saturday in 1998.

Prior to May 2010, portions of the programme were simulcast on Sky Sports 1 as well as Sky Sports News. The portions simulcast were between 12:00–12:30 pm and 3:00 pm–5:15 pm, although this differed depending on the matches being covered on Sky Sports 1. From the start of the 2010–2011 season these simulcasts were dropped and for the next three seasons the programme was exclusive to Sky Sports News but this Sky Sports 1 simulcast returned for the 2013-14 season as part of Sky Sports 1's new all-day Saturday football service.[1]

Format[edit]

Soccer Saturday is broadcast from 12 pm on Sky Sports News and lasts for up to six hours. The programme begins with the host and four regular in-studio pundits previewing the weekend's matches, reviewing recent results and debating current issues in football. The show is also famous for the rapport between the pundits and the presenter. There is much banter between the pundits and Jeff Stelling, who, in a good humoured manner, often points out each other's mistakes and incorrect predictions. Stelling exuberantly celebrates goals scored by his favourite team Hartlepool United F.C. Viewers are kept updated on the progress of early kick-offs by reporters at the games and by graphics below and to the right of the director's cut. These graphics also includes latest team news and league standings.

From 3 pm–5.15pm, Soccer Saturday provides running coverage of the 3 pm league matches, none of which are televised in the UK (and only one of which is televised in Ireland). The graphics display a vidiprinter and cycle through current scores in the English and Scottish leagues, with Jeff Stelling providing commentary on the events as they unfold. Significant events at the most high profile games – almost always in the Premier League – are described by the studio panel who each watch a game on a monitor. Other games deemed important are reported on by correspondents at the grounds connected to the studio by a video link, ISDN or telephone.

After the 3 pm games finish, the classified football results are read by Alan Lambourn and this is followed by a run-through of the updated league tables. A commercial break then follows and this is when the vidiprinter is removed from the screen. For the final 45 minutes of the programme the studio pundits discuss the games they have been watching, and post-match interviews with players and managers are shown conducted by that evening's Football First commentators.

The regular format occasionally changes, for example during international windows when the Premier League does not play, the show is often shortened to 2 pm-5:30 pm.

Soccer Special[edit]

A programme with the same format is also broadcast when there are a number of midweek games, such as on UEFA Champions League nights, in which case it is known as Soccer Special. Since 2011, Soccer Special has been hosted by Julian Warren. Between 2008–2011, Ed Chamberlin presented the programme. He had previously shared presenting the programme with Ian Payne during the previous season. Soccer Special was hosted by Stelling until he began presenting Monday Night Football at the start of the 2005/06 season. The midweek Soccer Specials are often simulcast on Sky Sports 1.

The Soccer Special name is also used when a full afternoon programme of football is played on a day other than Saturday, which usually only occurs on Boxing Day, New Year's Day (unless that falls on either Friday or Sunday) and Easter Monday as well as the last day of the Championship and the last day of the Premier League season as both are normally played on a Sunday. On these occasions the programme is usually presented by Stelling and follows the normal Soccer Saturday format.

Sports Saturday/Sunday[edit]

For a few years during the summer, the show was replaced with Sports Saturday, which is more akin to the show's original format, concentrating on sports other than football due to the absence of competitive football during the summer. This again was presented by Ed Chamberlin. The programme did not return in 2009 or 2010, but was revived in July 2011, although it was presented by regular Sky Sports News presenters.

However in August 2010, Sky announced the launch of Sports Sunday, which airs Sundays from 13:00–18:00. This programme, similar to the old Sports Saturday format, was initially presented by Ed Chamberlain but since his promotion in early 2011 to additional football presenting duties on Sky Sports, is now presented by other presenters from the Sky Sports News roster. [1]

Presenters and reporters[edit]

Rodney Marsh was a regular pundit, known for his outspoken views, until being sacked by Sky Sports in early 2005 after a poor taste joke referencing the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.[2] The late George Best was also a regular until leaving in 2004 to fight alcohol problems. Other former studio analysts include Frank McLintock, Alan Brazil, Clive Allen and Gordon McQueen.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ New Sky Sports football weekend schedule
  2. ^ "TV pundit sacked for tsunami joke". BBC News. 26 January 2005. Retrieved 3 March 2007. 

External links[edit]