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Celebrity Interviews
Celebrity Interviews
Opinion » Celebrity Interviews

Interview with Jeff Stelling

This month's interview is with the Sky Sports Soccer Saturday smoothie on his most embarrassing jobs, the joy of microwave meals and why being skint means you never have to get a round in.

Hi Jeff, what’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Well, when I was 16 or 17 I had two horrendous jobs on Saturdays. I worked in Burton's the tailors, measuring people's inside legs. People would buy suits on credit and I would feel terribly humiliated having to ask grown men with families what their salary was. It was always humiliating for them and I found it equally so.

I also went to work on a building site for three months. I prayed for rain every single day because it meant you didn't have to work. It was ridiculous, they'd have a wheelbarrow full of rubble and you’d have to run it up a couple of planks so you could dump it in a skip, but I couldn't even push the bloody thing. It was a pretty humbling experience.

It was cash in hand though, which was a bonus. Believe you me you made sure that you went to the pub, every single night, and got hammered. There's nothing like getting paid in cash, it was great but obviously these days the tax-man takes so much.

So what was your big break?
I started working on a The Hartlepool Mail, which was my local newspaper and I remember I was bringing home something like 8 pounds, 6 shillings, which goes to show how old I am. It doesn't sound much, and it didn't go far but it got me by.

The worst jobs were always town council meetings. All these self-important people who would have had 200 people vote for them in local elections and they would go on interminably. You'd start at about seven and if you were finished by about 11 you'd done well. The number of times I fell asleep during them! It used to be impossible to get a decent story out of them as well so I used to hate them with a vengeance.

Have you got any interesting money saving tips?
Yeah, don't get married. No, I mean I'm hopeless at that. I've got a wife and three kids, we tend to spend most of what we get so I've got no tips on saving. If anyone else has got some tips I'd certainly like to hear them.

How about eating on a budget? Any favourite cheap as chips meals?
Well when I was ‘between marriages’ I used to get a couple of bags of microwaveable vegetables and sprinkle some grated cheese over the top... and that was it. Or as an alternative you'd buy a tin of weight-watchers soup and dump the vegetables in that and make my own stew and that would be the meal for the night. I never tried that hard to be honest because I was always trying to lose weight.

What was the worst thing about being skint and were there any upsides?
Well, when you'd go out to the pub for example, you'd know that you could only afford three pints and one bag of crisps. Nobody would expect you to buy a round because that's your own money. You knew you had to be precise, there was never any leeway.

The upside to it? You didn't drink as much as you might have done, I suppose.

What was the key moment in your career when things really started to take off?

I was working Saturdays at Sky doing horse racing and every sport the sun when Soccer Saturday came along. I remember my boss asking if it would work and wondering who could present it - I put my hand up pretty quickly. I didn't realise at the time that Soccer Saturday was going to become so big and that 15 or so years later I'd still be doing it.

What's been your highlight of doing Soccer Saturday?
One of the highlights was when Rodney Marsh described Bradford City as a “pig in lipstick” and said he'd have his head shaved if they stayed up. Of course they went and beat Liverpool on the last day of the [1999-2000] season and did stay up. So when the next season started Rodney went and got his head shaved before a Bradford game. It was a great moment because he was such a feisty character and absolutely full of himself so to see him go through that ordeal was brilliant for the rest of us.

Do you have any advice you can give young people with ambitions of becoming successful?
Never let anybody tell people you can't do it. I remember in school when I wanted to be a journalist my headmaster used to say “do you really want to be poking around in people's private lives?” Which actually sounded alright to me!

You can never do too much research either. You need to know the name of the people who are going to interview you, the wife's name, how many kids they've got, just find out everything you possibly can before you go for an interview.

Watch Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports News 12pm every Saturday.

Wednesday, 1st June 2011

Tags:   Jeff Stelling  /  Celebrity Interview  /  Sky Sports  /  Soccer Saturday  /  Cash  /  Skint  /  Jobs
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