HARTLEPOOL’S favourite son Jeff Stelling says he cannot wait to return home to “where it all began” next week for a top night of entertainment.
The former Mail man will be hosting An Evening With Jeff Stelling at Hartlepool’s Town Hall Theatre, in Raby Road, on Wednesday, February 27.
Jeff is best known for his anchorman role on Sky Sport’s hugely popular Gillette Soccer Saturday show and is often pushing the fortunes of his beloved Hartlepool United into the national spotlight.
Looking ahead, Jeff said: “I really am looking forward to the night and it’ll be great to see some old friends.
“I did a similar talk at Teesside University, which I really enjoyed, and hope everybody who comes along has a great time.
“I always enjoy coming back to where it all began and even though I don’t get to stay for very long, nobody treats me any different, which is great.
“For me this is going to be like a night out with friends and hopefully we can have a lot of laughs and some great conversation.”
Jeff will be interviewed by the BBC’s Mark ‘Clem’ Clemmit about his life, career and Pools.
He has promised an evening packed with humour, anecdotes – including the time he swore live on air – and insight into the world of football and sports broadcasting and says no subject will be off the table.
The 57-year-old, who now lives in Hampshire, added: “I’m looking forward to talking about behind the scenes at Soccer Saturday, the characters I work with and my own personal career ups and downs.”
The dad-of-three, a former Countdown presenter, could not contain his joy live on air on Saturday as he heard that Pools had completed their late show with a 94th-minute winner against Leyton Orient, securing a 2-1 win.
Jeff, who was made a Freeman of the Borough in 2010, said: “I only see Hartlepool from afar these days and I understand we were a bit fortunate to win on Saturday, but it doesn’t matter as long as we win.
“It was the last goal to come through on the vidi-printer and maybe our luck has changed.
“It is still a massive ask to stay up but it is a lot more possible than a few weeks ago.”
Born in Hartlepool in 1955, Jeff had a burning ambition to become a journalist and joined the Hartlepool Mail as a trainee in 1973.
He later branched out into radio, working for the BBC in London and joined Sky TV in 1994.
Soccer Saturday began its current form with him at the helm in 1996 and he regularly shares with viewers his emotions at Pools’ fluctuating fortunes on the pitch.
Jeff, named Sports Broadcaster of the Year for five successive years by the Sports Journalists’ Association of Great Britain, also won the Sports Presenter award at the Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC) Awards last year.
Questions should be sent via Facebook at Whats Happening Hartlepool (HBC).
The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £12.
To book call the Box Office on (01429) 890000.
l THERE will also be an opportunity at the show to buy raffle tickets for a chance to win the actual James Brown dancing doll which featured many times on Jeff’s Soccer Saturday show.
Jeff donated the doll to Hartlepool Borough Council Chairman Councillor Stephen-Akers Belcher to raise funds for the chairman’s seven nominated young people’s charities.
Jeff added: “It is amazing how much interest there has been in the doll and it is great that several charities are benefitting.”
Tickets for the raffle, in early March, cost £1.