TELLY legend Jeff Stelling has announced that he will be leaving football on Saturday at the end of the season.
The 66-year-old will call up some time in his Sky Sports career after 30 years with the broadcaster.
Stelling made the announcement live on Saturday – results and results show he has been topping since 1994.
Pausing himself before the preview of Newcastle’s match with Chelsea, Stilling revealed the emotional news.
He said: “I’ve been at Sky for 30 years next year and have hosted Soccer Saturday for the past 25 years or so.
“But I’ve come to a very difficult decision that this will be my last season.
“It was my decision, there was no pressure on me. The sky has been so wonderful with me, as it has always done.
“I don’t intend to retire, it’s up to the people who are out there. But it’s time to let someone else get to know the best job in the world.”
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“After all, I don’t want to make it to the stage where I’m calling Raith Rovers and Roathe Ravers!
“So I’ll be here until May, and then I’m leaving the show and company. That’s about seven months of Saturday afternoon parties, so let’s get this party started.”
After making his short statement, Stelling tried to get back to work but was interrupted by a standing ovation from football pundits on Saturday.
In a later statement, Stilling paid tribute to his teammates and sweetheart Hartlepool United.
He added, “I’ve loved every moment of my 30 years with Sky, but like every Saturday afternoon, the time finally comes to blow the final whistle.
“I’m proud to be part of this winning team for so long and look forward to the many special moments in Saturday football for the rest of this season – and maybe even another batch from Hartlepool United.”
The presenter is a lifelong Hartlepool fan, and his loyalty to the National League team often extended to his show.
Last season he wore a Hartlepool jersey on the last day of his second league season.
In a cruel turnaround, his team was relegated after a late goal from Newport County ended their Football League career.
The TV veteran began presenting Saturday football in 1994 and has since epitomized the show.
His legendary wit, dramatic throw and constant composure have made him a cult figure in the eyes of football fans.
“Unbelievable Jeff” – a phrase coined by match-day reporter Chris Camara – is now part of pop culture.
The popular phrase has spawned many memes and is a constant element on social media.
Stelling grew up in a council house in Hartlepool, with his first job at the local Hartlepool Mail newspaper.
His first job was in broadcasting with the now defunct Radio Tees.
Stelling also worked as a sports reader for TV-AM and Eurosport before his legendary relationship with Sky Sports began in 1992.
At the start of the 05/06 season of the English Premier League became the host of Monday night football.
Stelling won the Sports Presenter of the Year award from the Association of Sports Journalists between 2005-2009.
The popular game show introduced the countdown from 2009-11, but left the focus on his new role at Sky Sports.
This saw him replace Richard Keys as the main presenter for live coverage of the UEFA Champions League between 2011-2015.
Away from sports broadcasting, Stelling is currently hosting the ITV Alphabet Game Show.
He is also committed to fundraising for good causes and has often been seen wearing a lapel pin to promote Prostate Cancer UK on TV.
The father-of-three has completed a number of celebrity walks for charity alongside the likes of Sir Ian Bothham.