Jeff Stelling returns home

Jeff Stelling(second right) pictured with (left to right) Ray Rowbotham, John Robinson and Steven Robinson at the Hartlepool Town Hall event last night. Picture by Tom Collins.

Jeff Stelling(second right) pictured with (left to right) Ray Rowbotham, John Robinson and Steven Robinson at the Hartlepool Town Hall event last night. Picture by Tom Collins.

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TELEVISION star Jeff Stelling was back home among friends in Hartlepool last night for a packed evening of entertainment.

The former Mail man hosted An Evening With Jeff Stelling in front of hundreds of football fans at the Town Hall Theatre, in Raby Road, Hartlepool.

The 57-year-old is best known for his anchorman role on Sky Sport’s hugely popular Gillette Soccer Saturday show and he was back in Hartlepool for the evening.

Jeff, who is often pushing the fortunes of his beloved Hartlepool United into the national spotlight, said he always enjoys heading back home and likened the show to a “night out with friends”.

The evening – which was packed with humour and anecdotes – was chaired by the BBC’s Mark “Clem” Clemmit and featured Jeff talking about his life, career and beloved Pools.

Jeff said: “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.”

The dad-of-three, a former Countdown presenter, who now lives in Hampshire, was made a Freeman of the Borough in 2010.

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.