Our sports columnist goes behind the scenes on his radio show
Time Out Dubai staff
It’s one of the great mysteries of modern sports TV: that a British football show featuring four men talking for six hours should become the biggest success of the modern era. Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday features banter, chat, a great host called Jeff Stelling, a barrage of football info and stats and, most importantly, scores. It’s like radio on TV, and it’s a phenomenon.
So there’s me, sitting in traffic on a Saturday by Mall of the Emirates a few months ago; I was texting everyone for scores and updates, desperately missing my Saturday soccer fix. Right then, it dawned on me: we were missing a trick. So now the ingeniously titled Soccer Saturday has been born on radio here in the UAE too, on Coast 103.2FM.
I’ve swapped a freezing aircraft hangar of a studio in London for the beautiful Horizon Lounge at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, but otherwise everything remains the same. Come down and watch Carlton Palmer, Lee Sharpe, Derek Whyte, Gillingham chairman Paul Scally and myself during the broadcast; we’ll keep you up to date with all the drama.
In a typical show, I’ll be explaining how Celtic are 2-0 up against Dunfermline when Carlton will cry like a banshee that a goal has been scored at Anfield, then Derek will interrupt as the Yak (Yakubu Aiyegbeni to his mum) whacks a winner in at Blackburn. It’s non-stop rat-a-tat-tat. There are big screens at the venue to watch the live Premier League action, and I doubt there’s a more beautiful spot to look out across the Gulf to the Palm, while watching Bolton play Wigan in arctic UK conditions.
I’m loving it, which is a good sign that the show’s going well. My brain’s scrambled at the end of each show after pumping out so many stats, but that’s part of the fun. As the weather gets better, come and join us. We take a break for the FA Cup on Saturday February 18, but then are back until the end of the season. Soccer Saturday… it’s unbelievable, Jeff!
And another thing… Is it me, or is there an unwritten rule that says everyone on TV in the Middle East must have had a nose job? I’d love to see the ‘possession stats’, as they say in football. I reckon they’ve all been done by someone on Beach Road, who’s now a billionaire and has retired to Florida to live in a long, thin, nose-shaped mansion, enjoying a long, thin, nose-shaped swimming pool, diving off a long, thin, nose-shaped diving board that turns up at the end. It can’t be long now before we see a show called Nose Idol… but then, ‘who nose?’ (Sorry ed!)