It’s been a month of change over at Sky Sports.
It was announced at the beginning of August that the broadcaster had axed football panel show Sunday Supplement after more than two decades on air.
The Sunday morning show, which saw a panel of journalists discuss various topical football-related subjects, will not be returning as we edge closer to the start of the 2020-21 season.
And earlier this week, Sky dropped a bigger bombshell with the news that Matt Le Tissier, Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thompson would not be returning for the new series of Soccer Saturday.
The news came as a shock to many viewers, with Sky announcing: “We are changing some parts of our football coverage. Matt, Charlie and Phil have done a great job for us over the years, and they will leave us with our sincere thanks and very best wishes.”
Jeff Stelling, Soccer Saturday’s brilliant and much-loved host, was retained. Paul Merson, the former Arsenal midfielder, has also been kept on.
However, The Daily Mail are reporting that Stelling is now considering walking out on Soccer Saturday after his three mates were unceremoniously dumped.
After 25 years presenting the popular Saturday afternoon show, Stelling could sensationally quit.
Following the news of his pals’ dismissal, he tweeted: "One of my saddest days ever at Sky Sports with the departure of three of my best mates. They have been part of a team that for me was the best."
However, the 65-year-old’s Sky Sports contract reportedly contains a lengthy notice period, so it’s possible that Stelling may still begin the season presenting Soccer Saturday unless he reaches an agreement with his employers.
Alex Scott and Micah Richards are not expected to become part of the new Soccer Saturday panel but will continue to assist with big live games.
Sky Sports are expected to use guests who have appeared on a Saturday or in their mid-week Soccer Special shows, alongside new pundits.
It's also been announced that Scott Minto has been axed after 13 years at Sky.
The former defender posted the following statement via Twitter on Thursday…
Meanwhile, The Telegraph are reporting that Goals on Sunday and The Debate are also coming off the schedules.
Goals on Sunday, which was presented by Chris Kamara, was Sky’s Sunday morning alternative to Match of the Day.
The Debate saw a panel of ex-professionals discussing a range of topics every weeknight, but viewing figures were presumably disappointing.
“The internal word is that there is simply an evolution of programming and personnel as Sky seek to optimise their relevance to a changing audience,” The Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson writes.
He adds: “Sky has stressed that changes to programming are not fixed - the return of Goals on Sunday, The Sunday Supplement or The Debate is not discounted - but that live events are the absolute priority. And, with extra Premier League games during the pandemic on top of the Scottish Premiership and English Football League, as well as condensed calendars in other sports, that is where programming space and staff will focus.”
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