Jeff Stelling

The Soccer Saturday supremo tells's Gregg Davies about his cameo in Carlsberg's World Cup advert, why presenting Countdown isn't as relaxed as it might seem and why he will not be joining Twitter...

Greetings Jeff. You're supporting Football Fever 2010. Tell us more...
I'm working with learndirect during the World Cup, who have come up with a great way for footie lovers like me to brush up on their maths. Their Facebook game Football Fever 2010 is a fun virtual tournament – you can challenge your football knowledge while helping identify any maths skills gaps you might have. Anyone can have a go at

Where will you be watching the World Cup this summer?
The majority of the games here in England. My family are football fanatics so I like to watch them together. I’m going to go to London to watch one of them with some people in the city and I'm flying out to Rustenberg to watch England v USA. So a bit of a mix, but by the time it comes to what we hope is going to be the crunch, I’ll be in sunny Hampshire.

Do you mither the missus with statistics when you're watching games on the sofa?
Sometimes, but generally speaking my 11-year-old son Rob is far better at stats than I am these days. He’s absolutely obsessed by them, and with so much material around he’s inevitably going to come out with more than me. There may be a bit of a battle going on on the sofa. The wife is used to it, she just turns one ear off or turns them both off depending on how many are on the sofa.

What’s your fascinating World Cup fact and favourite piece of pub ammo?
Crikey I’m not even sure if I’ve got one. I can’t think of one but the most interesting thing was that the North Korean games are only going to be screened in North Korea if they win! Everybody out there has been told by the great leader that it’s inevitable that they’ll be bringing the World Cup back. They’re only going to be told the positive results, which means that they’re not going be hearing much news really!

How did your cameo role in Carlsberg's World Cup advertisement come about? [Stelling jumps out of a crowd with a red cross painted on his chest]
They said: “We’re doing a new ad – if Carlsberg did team talks…” At the time they said there would be a host of sporting icons involved and that they’d like to get me involved as well. And when they ran some of the names past me it was really appealing. That was the initial pitch that they made. And then they elaborated just a little with the fact that perhaps I’d be required to be topless with a cross of St George painted on me. But, by then, I was pretty much committed and it turned out to be a heck of a lot of fun. And when you’ve got a body like mine, obviously there’s no point in hiding it!

How many takes were required?
They did lots of different versions of it. We probably did something like 20 takes but the majority of them were different. There was one initially where I had to get past the security guards and they dragged me away before I managed to jump out. There were lots of different variations of the same theme. But probably about 20 I would guess. And it was bloody cold that day!

How long did it take to get the paint off afterwards?
Funnily enough it took a while. I went home with the paint on, on the train from Waterloo to Winchester and what I didn’t realise was that I had the top button of my shirt undone and the red was peeping out of the top. It looked for all the world as if I’d been knifed, and there was blood seeping out! It took a few days to come off, a bit of rubbing and scrubbing, that’s for sure.

Which of your Soccer Saturday colleague