Jeff Stelling

Jeffrey Robert Stelling (born 18 March 1955) is an English sports journalist and sport television presenter. He currently presents Gillette Soccer Saturday for Sky Sports and hosted their coverage of the Champions League between 2011 and 2015.

Jeff Stelling
Jeffrey Robert Stelling

(1955-03-18) 18 March 1955
ResidenceBishop's Waltham, Hampshire, England
television presenter
Years active1978–present
TelevisionGillette Soccer Saturday
Alphabetical Sky Sports News
Spouse(s)Liz Stelling (m. 1998)

He also presented the Channel 4 quiz show Countdown (2009–2011) and ITV game show Alphabetical (2016–2017).

Early life

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]


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.

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, greyhound racing,[2] 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.

He appeared in an advert for Sky Broadband in 2013 which spoofed a previous Sky Broadband advert which starred Bruce Willis.[3]

In May 2013, Stelling joined twentyfour7 Football Magazine and wrote columns for the magazine's Dream Team.[4] He's also been featured in the in-game presentation work for EA Sports' FIFA 15.

Sports Saturday

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".[5]

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 and hosted between 2011 and 2015.

Game shows

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 former fellow sports presenter Des Lynam instead.[6] 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. He was replaced by Nick Hewer.[7][8]

In August 2016, Stelling presented a new 10-part daytime game show for ITV called Alphabetical.[9] The show returned for a second series of 20 episodes in October 2017.


On 23 November 2007 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Professional Studies by the University of Teesside.[10]

Stelling was named Sports Broadcaster of the Year for four successive years by the Sports Journalists' Association, based on a poll of its members.[11]

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

Personal life

Stelling lives in Bishop's Waltham in south Hampshire with his wife Liz and two sons Robbie (born August 1998) and Matthew (born November 1999) and a daughter Olivia (born June 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.[13] 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.[14] The climb raised £100,000.[15]

In 2015, Stelling was appointed president of Hartlepool United after accepting a request from the club's owners.[16]

In 2016, Stelling walked 262 miles from Hartlepool United to Wembley Stadium over 10 days raising over £420,000 for Prostate Cancer UK. He walked with his friend Russ Green, who was the Chief Executive of Hartlepool United at the time, and was joined by over 400 walkers including his friends from Sky Sports and the football world such as Chris Kamara, Matt Le Tissier, Charlie Nicholas and Paul Merson.[17] On Day 3, Sir Ian Botham arrived to lend his support and walked with Stelling to Glanford Park, the home of Scunthorpe United, one of Botham's forgmer clubs from his football career.[18]

In 2017, Stelling again pledged to walk to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.[19] He covered the length of 15 marathons in as many days, starting from St. James's Park in Exeter, home of Exeter City and ending at St.James's Park in Newcastle, home of Newcastle United. The walk took place 2–16 June.


  1. "Jeff Stelling – I owe it all to Hartlepool". North East Life. 12 April 2012.
  2. "Monthly Greyhound Star (Remember When 1998) February edition". Greyhound Star.
  3. Hartlepool Mail Jeff Stelling – and Hartlepool – star in spoof Bruce Willis ad
  4. twentyfour7 Football twentyfour7 sign Stelling and Balague
  5. Weaver, Paul (17 January 2001). "Grandstand for the information age". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 March 2007.
  6. Rollo, Sarah (16 October 2008). "Jeff Stelling turns down 'Countdown'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
  7. "Countdown host Jeff Stelling to leave show". BBC News. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  8. "Countdown presenter Jeff Stelling quits show". The Daily Telegraph. London. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  9. Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling on his return to TV quizzing – Sunday Post
  10. The Northern Echo Ranting Jeff Gets a Degree From Town University
  11. High five for Collins as Whitaker snaps top prize – Sports Journalists' Association
  12. The Daily Telegraph, Lord Mandelson and Jeff Stelling made honorary freemen
  13. Countdown, Jeff Stelling and Rory McGrath discuss the London Marathon on YouTube
  14. ITV News, Charity team conquer Kilimanjaro
  15. "Hartlepool United manager's Kilimanjaro trek raises £100,000 for charity". Hartlepool Mail. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  16. Jeff Stelling will have active Hartlepool United role but Sky Sports panel must call him ‘el presidente’ Hartlepool Mail, 12 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  17. "Jeff Stelling's walk to Wembley raises £300,000 for prostate cancer charity". Hartlepool Mail. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  18. "Cricket ace Sir Ian Botham joins TV host Jeff Stelling at Doncaster pub for 260-mile charity walk". South Yorkshire Times. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  19. "Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling begins mammoth charity walk at Exeter's St James's Park". Devon Live. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.

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