Sky sports star assisted hometown club with manager choice

Jeff Stelling meets with our post-grads arriving at Leeds Trinity

Jeff Stelling meets with post-grads at Leeds Trinity

EXCLUSIVE by Shaun Moloney

Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling used his vast array of contacts in helping with the appointment of a new manager at his hometown football club Hartlepool United back in November.

Mr Stelling, 57, opened up Journalism Week at Leeds Trinity University, speaking to a crowd of more than 200 students this morning.

As well as talking about the huge element of luck involved in getting into the journalism industry, he spoke about the need to establish and maintain important contacts.

Speaking exclusively after the talk to Leeds Trinity Centre for Journalism’s post-graduate team, Mr Stelling revealed how he has a close personal relationship with Hartlepool United chief executive Russ Green – and when the club were in need of opinion on a candidate to become their new manager they consulted the former Countdown presenter.

Mr Stelling said: “I knew there was a shortlist, and I knew on that shortlist was John Hughes, an unfamiliar name to Hartlepool fans. Russ Green said we like this guy, could you gauge opinion elsewhere in football?”

He quickly contacted John Collins, the current director of football operations at Livingston where John Hughes was the current manager.

The reports that came back from Mr Stelling were glowing and shortly afterwards John Hughes was appointed, replacing former manager Neale Cooper.

Mr Stelling added: “Sometimes they will ring me for advice or how to market something or whether I would be willing to get involved in something promotional, but my contacts are extremely important to them. I also know people with a lot of contacts, for example, there isn’t a number Chris Kamara doesn’t have.”

The appointment illustrates just how influential a key sports media figure such as Jeff Stelling can be in real life managerial decisions.

Mr Stelling said: “All clubs will delve into the background a bit of anyone they are about to take a chance on. It would be irresponsible not to.  It was here my contacts were key.”

For more on the talk click here

To watch the video of his entire talk click here

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