Sky Sports pick Jeff Stelling replacement as wholesale Soccer Saturday changes continue

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Sky Sports have identified Mark Chapman as their main choice to replace Jeff Stelling as the host of their Soccer Saturday programme, according to reports. Stelling, who has anchored the show since 1994, will step down at the end of the season following the previous departures of long-term pundits Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Matt Le Tissier.

Tony Cottee became the latest analyst to leave the show back in August, while the likes of Clinton Morrison, Sue Smith and Tim Sherwood have been introduced to the fold as part of a shake-up in recent years.

Soccer Saturday has emerged as one of football’s best-loved programmes over the last 30 years, with Stelling often being praised for his one-of-a-kind approach to presenting the show.

However, Sky bosses will need to find a replacement for the 66-year-old before the start of next season after he previously revealed his decision to move on this year.

It seems as though Chapman has already been earmarked as the broadcaster’s top choice to take over the reins from Stelling in the coming months.

Talks have already been held but a final decision on whether to employ Chapman is yet to be made, according to the Daily Mail.

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The 48-year-old is a well-known voice across BBC platforms and presents BBC Radio 5 Live’s flagship Saturday coverage along with the Monday Night Club show.

Chapman is also known as the face of Match of the Day 2 and often presents the channel’s rugby league coverage.

He has previously worked on the BBC’s live Super Bowl shows and continued to head up their NFL coverage until the end of 2020.

The Rochdale-born personality is also often tasked with presenting FA Cup matches for the broadcaster and has no shortage of experience that will come in handy if he ends up hosting Soccer Saturday next season.

Chapman has been with the BBC since 1996 but now looks set to leave the organisation in what would be a major coup for Sky.

It remains to be seen whether he will juggle his existing responsibilities with the new role at Soccer Saturday if he is eventually confirmed as Stelling’s permanent replacement in the near future.

The latter announced his decision to walk away from Sky with an emotional on-air speech back in October and will host his final edition of the show in May.

“This is my decision, there has been no pressure,” said Stelling. “Sky have been absolutely brilliant with me, as they always have done.

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“I am not intending to retire but it is time to let somebody else have a go at what is the best job in the world.

“I wouldn’t want to get to the stage where I’m calling Raith Rovers ‘Roath Ravers’. I’m going to be here until May, when I’ll be leaving the show and the company.

“I have loved every moment of my 30 years with Sky, but like every Saturday afternoon the time eventually comes to blow the final whistle.

“I am proud to have been part of such a winning team for so long and look forward to the many more special moments on Soccer Saturday for the rest of this season, and perhaps even another promotion push from Hartlepool United.”

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