A watershed moment in presenting football coverage took place last month when Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas were all sacked by Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday programme.
Presenter Jeff Stelling described the the trio’s dismissal as one of the saddest days of his life and Sportsmail has since revealed that the 65-year-old is considering his own future after 25-years at the helm of the popular show.
However, the programme has gained popularity due to regular on-screen gaffes, Chris Kamara’s comedic moments at games and general good-natured debate of the hottest topics in football.
Here, Sportsmail looks back at some of the funnier moments that the gang enjoyed together on Sky Sports’ flagship programme.
Sportsmail takes you through some of the funniest moments from Soccer Saturday history
Where else can we start but with Chris Kamara’s most infamous gaffe from April 2010?
The pundit entirely missed Anthony Vanden Borre being sent off during Portsmouth’s game against Blackburn.
Kamara’s infamous ‘Unbelievable Jeff’ became ‘I don’t know Jeff’ when he was asked by Stelling who had seen red at Fratton Park.
The gaffe however caused even further raucous laughter when Kamara was informed that Belgian Vanden Borre had been given his marching orders for a second yellow card, with the pundit saying he thought he was being substituted.
Chris Kamara believed Anthony Vanden Borre had been subbed off when he had seen red
While there have been jokes a plenty on the show, it has also given rise to some heated debates, and this particular argument took place between presenter Stelling and Phil Thompson.
Then Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge went down too easily in the eyes of Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who called the forward a ‘cheat’ after a match between the two sides in December 2018.
When questioned by Stelling if he had dived, Thompson began his argument with the words ‘when he dived there’, which Stelling seized upon while the Reds legend attempted to justify his statement.
Thompson took umbrage with Dyche labelling Sturridge a cheat, believing that term should be used only for repeat offenders, but he was soon informed that Sturridge had been booked three times in the Premier League for diving.
Liverpool legend Phil Thompson got into an argument with Jeff Stelling over a diving incident
Blackpool’s maiden season in the Premier League in the 2010/11 season did end in relegation back to the Championship.
But their finish was far below Le Tissier’s prediction of mid-table in January 2011, but getting it out of him was far harder than expected.
When Stelling put the question to him, Le Tissier took time to consider his answering before blurting out: ‘Good question. I think between ninth and 11th.’
Stelling reacted qucikly to Matt Le Tissier’s long-winded way of where Blackpool would finish
However, the savvy Stelling was right on his case and quickly retorted: ‘So 10th then?’ which drew a range of laughs from the rest of the panel.
A rather sheepish looking Le Tissier then repeated his assessment, whilst everyone looked with amusement.
Nevertheless, speaking of sheepish…
Paul Merson has managed a fair few blunders with vocabulary over the years, but this particular effort caused his fellow pundits to poke an inordinate amount of fun at him.
He was commenting on a match between West Ham and Burnley in November 2018, and was speaking about a player who had just got caught and was moving rather sheepishly.
However, Merson indicated that the player had turned to shepherding duties for the day and was now moving ‘sheeplessly’.
Paul Merson got himself in a tangle when he mixed up the adjective ‘sheepish’ with sheeplessly
Stelling was the first to retort, replying: ‘He hasn’t even got his sheep with him,’ before Nicholas interjected with: ‘What is he a shepherd?’.
Even Merson himself was confused as to how he managed to confuse the day, saying out loud: ‘How did I say that?’.
A riposte of advising someone to head to Specsavers has become one of the most common comebacks when controversial decisions are being debated.
The use of the term filtered through to the Sky Sports studio however in the 2010/11 season when Nicholas was covering Blackpool’s trip to Stoke City.
During his 30-second summary the Scot mentioned that Seasiders striker DJ Campbell was offside as his team embarked on an attacking move.
Charlie Nicholas did not take Stelling’s Specsavers recommendation lightly in 2010/11
But Stelling interjected and advised him to go to the glasses shop because Campbell was onside in his opinion.
Their clash did not end there though as Nicholas claimed Stelling was the one who needed glasses as he was not able to see driving home one night.
Nicholas also claimed Stelling was far too vain to wear his glasses on camera and ended the conversation bluntly by telling the presenter: ‘You stick to Specsavers and I’ll do the game.’
A more recent Soccer Saturday gaffe, but yet another one uttered from the mouth of Kamara.
The 62-year-old was at Selhurst Park in January this year to watch Crystal Palace take on Southampton when the studio went over to him just a couple of minutes into the match.
But when summarising the opening exchanges, Kamara said:’ In the first few minutes of this game it has been all Southampton, they are playing in the Crystal Palace half.
Kamara mixed up veteran striker Obafemi Martins with Southampton’s Michael Obafemi
‘Obafemi Martins is playing up front instead of Danny Ings… not Obafemi Martins, what is his name? Obafemi someone.’
‘Michael Obafemi, that’s who! Haha! I was close! I knew there was an Obafemi in there somewhere!’.
The studio and Kamara himself then burst into laughter for a good few seconds before presenter Jeff Stelling added: ‘Obafemi Martins is the same age as Tommo (Thompson) Kammy!’
From former Everton midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to Croatian star Ivan Perisic, Paul Merson has had his fair share of problems with player pronunciations.
But former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni proved to be a particular bug bearer for the ex-Arsenal midfielder on two separate occasions.
In his usual excitable manner, Merson was commenting on Manchester City’s match against Crystal Palace in the 2013/14 season and was keen to compliment the Argentine’s save from Fernandinho’s header.
Merson got his syllables and sounds mixed up when trying to say Julian Speroni’s name
But he could not get the syllables and sounds in the right place and his pronunciation ended up sounding like ‘Saproni’. He then got his words all mixed up by adding: ‘What a jave!’.
He did eventually manage to pronounce the retired shotstopper’s name in a separate match against Sunderland.
But moments later, he had reverted to old habits with his incorrect pronunciation and was struggling once again.
Having already made fun of Stelling’s high-pitched pronunciation of Stoke, the former Arsenal man got his own back when it came to pronunciation of names.
His revenge came courtesy of former Huddersfield boss David Wagner, with Stelling pronouncing the ‘w’ like a ‘v’ as is inherently common in the German language.
But Merson remained steadfast and determined in his assertion that the current Schalke boss’ name is pronounced like a ‘w’ normally is in English due to his American family background.
I guess things do swing in roundabouts after all?
He however got his own back by telling Jeff Stelling how to say David Wagner’s name correctly
An excellent forward on his day, Nicholas would no doubt have been quicker in his playing days than he was during this moment on Soccer Saturday.
The camera had just cut back to Stelling – who was recomposing himself – after a break.
But Nicholas realised he was not back in position in his seat and rushed across the face of the camera as quickly as he could.
However, the viewers were met with the a close-up shot of Nicholas’ head for a few seconds, and Stelling in particular was the first to call him out on his dash and commented: ‘Charlie Nicholas is not as quick as he was in his playing days as you just witnessed.’
Charlie Nicholas came right across Stelling and the camera after returning from a break
There have been many food-related gaffes over the years, with Thommo trying to shovel a sandwich down his throat while commenting on a match between Tottenham and West Ham a memorable shout.
But Merson was once again at the centre of a blunder when tucking into his lunch one Saturday.
Stelling and the pundits were on the verge of crying with laughter after Merson dropped the contents of the sandwich he had been looking forward to all day as the presenter read out a score from the Conference South.
All that was left of the sandwich was a piece of the roll with a couple of tomatoes left in. What a comical disaster.
Merson was also left embarrassed after dropping an entire sandwich he had wanted all day
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