By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Leeds Trinity’s 2013 Journalism Week began with a bang as a large audience crammed inside the Mary Halliday Lecture Theatre to hear Sky Sports star Jeff Stelling speak.
Stelling, best known for his role as the anchor for Gilette Soccer Saturday, recalled a number of anecdotes about the show, but also told the story of his career.
And to a stunned audience, Stelling revealed that he originally wanted to be a court reporter when he started out at Hartlepool Mail.
After moving into sport, he began to work for radio before a move into television.
He initially worked for TVam. Eurosport followed and during his spell with the satellite broadcaster, Stelling even commentated on fencing.
But Stelling eventually got his big break when he moved to work for BSKYB – a job he claims he got because of his knowledge of horse racing.
However when Stelling originally started working for Rupert Murdoch’s company, it had no rights to broadcast main sporting events. On the day of the World Cup final, Stelling played subbuteo with co-presenter Suzanne Dando on live TV.
Despite the intital low-points at BSKYB, the success of Soccer Saturday has made Stelling a household name. Sharing the screen with former footballers like Phil Thompson, Paul Merson and until his death, George Best, Stelling’s show attracts millions of viewers each week.
Stelling is also known for his stint as host of cult Channel 4 programme Countdown, but he played down his role on the programme, which he left last year: “Rachel Riley did the maths, Susie Dent had the dictionary and all I did was press a button to start the clock.”
Journalism Week continues until Thursday at Trinity.