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Jeff Stelling to be the new host of Countdown

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SKY Sports legend Jeff Stelling is set to become the new host of hit telly quiz Countdown.

 

The sharp-witted Soccer Saturday frontman will replace retiring presenter Des O’Connor.

 

Stelling, who has become a cult hero on Sky’s six-hour footie results service, was linked with Countdown in 2005 after the death of legendary host Richard Whiteley.

 

But bosses hired Des Lynam instead because he was seen to have a higher profile. O’Connor later took over, but quit this year, as did brainbox Carol Vorderman.

 

Hartlepool Utd fan Stelling, who writes in The Sun’s Saturday football pull-out Super Goals, is said to be “loving” the idea of hosting Countdown.

 

One telly source said: “He’d be perfect. He’s quick-witted, clean-cut and is bound to be a hit with housewives.”

 

Stelling, 52, will be offered the Channel 4 job, but will NOT quit Soccer Saturday.

 

A Countdown source said: “We are confident of getting him.”

 

Dad-of-three Stelling is renowned for his hilarious quips on the Sky football show.

 

When Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu scored for Sheffield Wednesday, he joked: “Local boy makes good.”

 

Whenever a player named Stephenson nets, he says: “I bet that was a rocket.”

 

And each time Hartlepool’s James Brown scores, Stelling produces a James Brown doll which sings I Feel Good.

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Very good, but who's going to replace Carol?

 

Chris Kamara will come with Jeff from SSN!

 

Either Kammy or Phil Thompson :D

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Sky Sports host Jeff Stelling is to become the next presenter of Channel 4 quiz show Countdown.

 

Stelling, the host of Soccer Saturday, is known for his extensive knowledge of match day football statistics.

 

The news ends months of speculation over a replacement for Des O'Connor, who announced his departure in July.

 

Stelling will be joined by maths graduate Rachel Riley. She replaces Carol Vorderman, who recently recorded her final edition of the show.

 

"I am delighted to be hosting Countdown and follow in the footsteps of such great broadcasters as Richard Whiteley, Des Lynam and Des O'Connor, " said Stelling, who has been named Sports Broadcaster of the Year for the last three years.

 

Sky said Stelling's new role would not affect his commitments to Soccer Saturday or its live football coverage.

 

'Cool job'

 

Stelling and Riley will front the new series of the show when it returns to TV screens in January.

 

Riley, who recently left Oxford University, beat 1,000 applicants to land the co-host role.

 

"There's only one cool maths job around and I was lucky enough to get it so I'm absolutely thrilled," the 22-year-old said.

 

Countdown was the first programme to be broadcast when Channel 4 launched in November 1982.

 

The show was originally fronted by the late Richard Whiteley and Vorderman, who spent 26 years on the show.

 

Des Lynam took over as host following Whiteley's death in 2005. The popular host had been suffering with pneumonia.

 

O'Connor replaced Lynam in 2006.

 

"I feel certain that our much-loved words and numbers game will go from strength to strength," said Helen Warner, head of Channel 4 daytime, of the new line-up.

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