Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughJelleyman has thrown a wobbly - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Jelleyman has thrown a wobbly - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Jelleyman has thrown a wobbly

In Stelling We Trust

“Jelleyman has thrown a wobbly” is just one of things I am looking forward to hearing over the next football season. If you do not know what I am going on about then I am not sure that I consider you a true football fan, either that or you don’t have Sky. My other favourite quote came when a certain Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu scored for Sheffield Wednesday, prompting the phrase, “local boy made good”.

These quotes are just two pearls of wisdom from our very own northern wonder, Jeff Stelling who, from humble beginnings, has gone on to host the very successful and sometimes controversial Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports News.

Well lets at first explain those two quotes. Have you ever heard of a player named Gareth Jellyman? In the words of Jeff Stelling, he had been looking through the match reports when he noticed the aforementioned Jellyman playing for Mansfield and thought, “What a name! Wouldn’t it be great if he got sent off one week” There was the obvious joke of him “throwing a wobbly”. Looking through his records though he had not been sent off in six seasons. But it was destined to happen and it did in the 05/06 season. Mansfield were playing Cheltenham at home and were winning by a couple of goals. Then in the flurry of action on 90 minutes as there always is as the results come in; it flashed up “Off: Gareth Jellyman”, and history was made! Bugger the score, ladies and gentlemen Jellyman has thrown a wobbly.

The other quote is simpler. In football these days there is an increasing amount of very exotic names in the football leagues and there is something comedic about them ending up playing for the likes of Rotherham or Dagenham and Redbridge. In this case Sheffield Wednesday. As impossible as Guylain Ndumbu –Nusungu is to say there are others that often cause debate and we tend to put a more British spin on them. For example, Dirk Kuyt sounds like two insults.

Soccer Saturday was a programme I first found when Sky Sports News was available on freeview, which it isn’t anymore which I find very sad as it is one of the things that Sky do better than the BBC, (Final Score) in my opinion. The pundits have more time to talk about everything football, from 12pm to 5pm, which does not feel as long in the company of Stelling and co. Also the format is a lot better, each pundit has a game to watch unlike on Final Score, which causes much anxiety when you hear the distant cries of goal from Phil Thompson or Charlie Nicholas who could be watching your team. It even gets too much for Jeff sometimes. During the 07/08 season his beloved Hartlepool were on a very good 23 game unbeaten streak, with the last team to beat them being Barnet. Before the game Stelling had spoken to some of the players to which they told him, Barnet were one of the worst teams they had played all season. Typically, they were a goal down until the 80th minute when they managed to equalise only for, as Jeff turned to hear about the goal, another one was scored: by Barnet. Throwing over to the match reporter with the words “It’s not just news of one goal, but two at Underhill”, thinking the camera was off him he muttered “Fuck” under his breath. An immediate YouTube moment, but no one phoned in and complained. It was hardly Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross.

Essentially the format of Soccer Saturday is quite bizarre. Basically you are not watching football, you are watching a bunch of blokes watching football. With the scores coming in from all angles and on screen at the bottom on a videprinter. Then all that happens is the blokes watching the football scream and shout whenever there is a chance, and we hear regular match reports some more coherent than others. Paul Merson trying to pronounce people’s names and Chris Kamara trying to talk in sentences are particular highlights, as is hearing Kammys catchphrase “unbelievable Jeff!” 

For some reason it is compelling to watch, perhaps it is because of “Jeff’s masterful handling of the latest football results” (words of GQ magazine) which holds it all together. 

Josh Giles



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