Gillette Soccer Saturday
From nowhere this show has become a staple diet of the football fan everywhere. For six hours every Saturday, Jeff Stelling presenters a live show which build-up to the afternoons games, then take you through the games with live updates and then wrap it up. It doesn’t sound engrossing television but it most certainly is with moments like this.
Presenter: Jeff Stelling
Jeff Stelling is the anchor and he has turned into an absolute legend. His performances leading a show that has become cult viewing up and down the land are without fault. He has taken a show from being about several blokes talking about a football game, that the viewer can’t even see, to being must-see TV. His love for Hartlepool United shines through and his famous rant sticking up for Middlesbrough will go down in TV folklore. I can’t say anything bad about his performances on this show and I doubt anyone else could either, no matter how fine a tooth comb they use.
Pundits: Matt Le Tissier, Paul Walsh, Paul Merson, Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicolas, Alan McInally & Chris Kamara
Matt Le Tissier has taken over the seat vacated by George Best nearest Stelling most weeks. His love for Southampton is clear for all to see. He gets very excited at the drop of the hat and famously covered the Liverpool v Havant & Waterlooville game on the show. Despite his Southampton connections, he is an excellent pundit who seems to enjoy himself on the show and that shines through in his work.
Paul Walsh has been a regular on the panel for a couple of seasons now. Not the best they have but is solid enough. He doesn’t seem to get half as excited as his colleagues and doesn’t bring anything extra to the show. It pains me to say it as he was one of the greatest players I’ve ever seen in a Portsmouth shirt.
Paul Merson has been an excellent addition to the cast. When Fulham scored their winner against Manchester City, Merson went crazy. He talks with passion and always gives a very honest opinion. Another Portsmouth legend but this one has no bias involved at all, he is genuinely excellent on this show.
Phil Thompson is Liverpool through and through which makes his appearances on Soccer Saturday all the more interesting. He lost it when John Arne Riise scored an own goal, which led to Liverpool being dumped out of the Champions League by Chelsea. Out of all the pundits, it can be successfully argued that he is the most biased and shows it.
Charlie Nicholas always sits on the far wing when he’s involved. The former Arsenal and Celtic legend brings a critical eye to the show. Not known to mince his words, he has famously fallen out with the Scottish National Team on more than one occasions for his criticism, particularity during Berti Vogts’ reign. A good pundit who brings humour as well as a sharp tongue to proceedings.
Alan McInally splits his time between the studio and reporting live from grounds. He is well liked on the panel and often takes good natured ribbing for getting excited by host Jeff Stelling. Another good member of a strong line-up.
And finally we get to…
Chris Kamara. Kammy is regarded by most fans as the best roving reporter in the business. He went bananas on a disallowed goal in a Fulham v Middlesbrough match. He is noted for getting overly excited and screaming It’s unbelievable Jeff! He covered the Portsmouth v Reading game in the 2007/2008 season, which saw 11 goals and umpteen chances and incidents. He is a natural in front of the camera and brings energy and excitement to the game that he’s watching.
What can I say about Soccer Saturday? It has become a huge part of my Saturday if I’m not at a game. It just works – if you haven’t seen it then you probably won’t know why. The mix of banter, in jokes, football insight, passion, drama, everything. This is must-see TV for those with access to Sky Sports 1 or Sky Sports News and unable to make a game on a Saturday. It simply is that good.