TV & Showbiz
Soccer AM cancelled after nearly 30 years on the air
Sky Sports have reportedly made the decision to cancel British TV and sporting institution Soccer AM after nearly three decades on the air.
The iconic football and comedy talk show which first aired in 1995 and enjoyed huge popularity throughout the 90s and early 2000s is set to end at the end of this season (its 28th) with just 10 episodes left, as per an exclusive report by The Sun.
According to a source who revealed details to the outlet, Soccer AM will be axed at the end of the 2022/23 season due to low ratings and viewing figures, which have both gradually decreased over time — as has the running time, which went from 240 minutes to just 90 in more recent years.
The insider went on to claim that the decision has come as “a complete bombshell” to those involved with the programme, with “morale at an all-time low”.
Staff on the show were reportedly told of the cancellation on Tuesday, with their last episode airing on Saturday, 27 May, the day before the end of the Premier League season, at which point they will be made redundant.
Issuing a response to the news, a Sky Sports spokesperson said: “Soccer AM has played an important role in our coverage of football for the past three decades, and we continually adapt to the evolving needs of our customers.
“We now go into a period of consultation to discuss the proposed changes with our people. We are unable to provide more detail while these consultations are underway.”
As for current presenters John Fendley and former footballer Jimmy Bullard, who have been at the helm of the show since 2019, the two are said to have been left “fuming” by the decision. Figures from within Sky and around the footballing world have been paying tribute to the programme.
The show began with Russ Williams and long-time host Helen Chamberlain presenting back in 1995 before the latter was joined by veteran TV personality Tim Lovejoy just a couple of years later, with the two going on to become the most famous pairing in the show’s history.
As well as recurring comedic guest ‘Tubes’ (Peter Dale), some of the most famous guests you can think of made their way through Soccer AM‘s doors down the years, including the likes of Oasis, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Kevin Hart, Dave Bautista, umpteenth footballers and countless others — you name ’em.
However, the show was not without its controversies and reflected a very different time and admittedly outdated part of British culture, to say the least.
Perhaps the most infamous serial segment of the show was its ‘Soccerette’ feature, which saw attractive young women walk into the studio and asked how old they were as men cheered “great age!”
The show obviously had to evolve over time but sadly its viewership continued to dwindle, no matter how much affection there was back in its heyday.
Speaking to Mirror Sport back in May 2022, leading figure Bullard admitted “it’s hard trying to refresh a show every single week with all the new material”, but that he still found it a privilege to be trusted with reinventing a show that is still “the start of a lot of people’s mornings on a Saturday.”
It was certainly far from perfect and pretty problematic at times, but it still played a huge role in the lives of many British people and young football fans’ formative years.
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Featured Image — Soccer AM/Sky Sports