Jeff Stelling Quits Countdown To Focus On Football.

Jeff Stelling has announced that he is to step down from presenting the long-running Channel 4 series Countdown at the end of the year so that he can focus on his first love – football.

Stelling, who has presented the series since January 2009 after replacing Des Lynam, told of his decision in an interview with a Tenerife radio station. “Because I am doing the Champions League for Sky next season I’ve resigned from Countdown and I’ll be finishing at the end of December.”

“You’ve got to have your priorities and my priority is football. I love it, and Soccer Saturday, so I’ve committed myself very much to that.â€?

A Channel Four spokesperson has said: “Jeff will continue to present Countdown until the end of the year. He’s had a brilliant three years on the show and we’re sad to see him go. We’re already talking to a number of people to find a replacement.â€?

The show has had a number of presenters over the last few years. With an average audience of just 600,000 last week, its viewing figures are a fraction of the adoring audience it commanded in its Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman heyday when it would regularly pull in three to four million an episode. Maybe the programme’s viewing figures have been hit by the rise in tuition fees?

No news yet on who Stelling’s replacement might be.