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Robert Jeffrey 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.
Sky Sports News
|Spouse(s)||Liz Stelling (m. 1998)|
Stelling was brought up in a council house in Hartlepool. 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.
His first broadcasting position was as a reporter on Middlesbrough F.C. on Radio Tees in the late 1970s. 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, 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.
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".
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.
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. 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.
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. 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. The climb raised £100,000.
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. 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 former clubs from his football career.
In 2017, Stelling again pledged to walk to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. He covered the length of 15 marathons in as many days, starting from St. James Park in Exeter, home of Exeter City and ending at St.James' Park in Newcastle, home of Newcastle United. The walk took place 2–16 June.
In his book, "I've Got Mail" published on 17 September 2020, Stelling revealed he had been subject to a blackmail attempt via two letters sent to his home. The letters demanded a £50,000 payment in return for accusations of bogus sex assaults to be kept quiet. In a radio interview with Nihal Arthanayake on BBC Radio 5 Live on the 2 December 2020, Stelling recounted sharing the letters with his wife and together through a family friend's contact at Scotland Yard, they learnt others, had also been targeted by the same scammers.
- "Jeff Stelling – I owe it all to Hartlepool". North East Life. 12 April 2012. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
- "Monthly Greyhound Star (Remember When 1998) February edition". Greyhound Star.
- Hartlepool Mail Jeff Stelling – and Hartlepool – star in spoof Bruce Willis ad Archived 20 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- twentyfour7 Football twentyfour7 sign Stelling and Balague
- Weaver, Paul (17 January 2001). "Grandstand for the information age". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 March 2007.
- Rollo, Sarah (16 October 2008). "Jeff Stelling turns down 'Countdown'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- "Countdown host Jeff Stelling to leave show". BBC News. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- "Countdown presenter Jeff Stelling quits show". The Daily Telegraph. London. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling on his return to TV quizzing – Sunday Post
- The Northern Echo Ranting Jeff Gets a Degree From Town University
- High five for Collins as Whitaker snaps top prize – Sports Journalists' Association
- The Daily Telegraph, Lord Mandelson and Jeff Stelling made honorary freemen
- Countdown, on YouTube
- ITV News, Charity team conquer Kilimanjaro
- "Hartlepool United manager's Kilimanjaro trek raises £100,000 for charity". Hartlepool Mail. 29 October 2013. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Jeff Stelling will have active Hartlepool United role but Sky Sports panel must call him ‘el presidente’ Archived 14 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine Hartlepool Mail, 12 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
- "Jeff Stelling's walk to Wembley raises £300,000 for prostate cancer charity". Hartlepool Mail. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- "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.
- "Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling begins mammoth charity walk at Exeter's St James Park". Devon Live. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
- I've Got Mail. 15 May 2020.
- "Jeff Stelling claims blackmailers demanded £50k or he'd be accused of sexual assault". Latest Media News. 20 September 2020. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
- BBC Radio 5 Live Interview, Wednesday afternoon show 2 December 2020.
- Jeff Stelling at IMDb
- University of Teesside[permanent dead link]
- Hartlepool Mail June 2008
- Interviewed by Ron Aitken, Independent on Sunday
- Guardian interview