Gillette Soccer Saturday just isn’t the same and weekends are poorer without Tiss, Thommo and the gang

It’s not often I’m at home in front of the television at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.

However yesterday that is exactly where I found myself.

I should have been at the Montgomery Waters Meadow to report on Shrewsbury Town vs Lincoln City, but that one was added to the growing Covid cancellation pile.

So after the lunchtime game I sat down and put Gillette Soccer Saturday on, before forgetting it isn’t Jeff Stelling and the boys anymore.

It’s Jeff Stelling, the legendary Paul Merson and a raft of half decent pundits who aren’t even all in the studio together.

I’m sure most of that is down to Covid, but still. There is no spark and it just isn’t as fun as it was.

That is down to the Sky bosses taking a huge knife and slicing up the charismatic, funny gang that had been built up over the years.

Jeff Stelling leading Merson, Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas, Matt Le Tissier and other one off guests was what Saturday’s revolved around.

You watched the programme on a Saturday afternoon not to find out the scores, but more to watch five mates taking the mick out of each other and having a laugh.

It was a staple of British football, but now that has been torn up and left a once top drawer programme in tatters.

It is down to one thing, and one thing that on the whole I completely and utterly agree with.

During a wave where diversity is the buzz word, Sky did not want to be seen as the programme presented by a middle aged white man with four middle aged white men on the panel.

They had to change and to roll with the times so to speak.

But like many media organisations have done in recent years when addressing this issue, they have binned off some utterly talented people to fill a diversity quota.

Now I’m not stupid enough to think things didn’t need to change. There needed to be a change, and more opportunities given to people from minority backgrounds or just minorities in general.

That had to happen, there had to be pathway. Before, there hasn’t been a pathway but football, sport and society is changing.

But rather than sit down and sensibly come up with a positive way to do this, many media bosses have just sliced certain people out just because getting rid of them balanced the diversity book.

I don’t know why other people have gone at other organisations, but you’ve seen the likes of Clive Tyldesley and Racing’s Cornelius Lycett both move on from their jobs in the last 18 months.

You only need to put two and two together on those ones.

I’m all for change and diversity as I’ve said, but organisations shouldn’t be ditching highly talented people to fill these quotas.

They should be finding other ways to achieve change.

By just slicing off the top, they’ve stuck a knife into one of the nation’s best loved football programmes and its beating heart is slowly stopping already.

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