Soccer AM: Final show memories from goalies, guitarists and guests

·5 min read
Soccer AM presenters Tim Lovejoy and Helen Chamberlain in a football stadium. He's seated, wearing a scarf and jacket. Helen is standing, with a beaming smile, holding open her jacket to reveal an AFC Wimbledon shirt with a Sports Interactive sponsor logo.
Soccer AM presenting duo Tim Lovejoy (bottom left) and Helen Chamberlain were a regular fixture in the show's heyday

Tunes, top bins and "unbelievable tekkers".

They're just a few features from the past 29 years of Soccer AM, which blows the full-time whistle on its Saturday morning show this weekend.

Sky Sports' famous pre-match programme has seen it all - skill schools, live music performances and the odd controversy.

BBC Newsbeat has spoken to some of the people at the heart of it about the legacy it'll leave.

'A Saturday morning staple'

Someone who's saved penalties from Premier League stars - and been "nutmegged" by them too - is former Hashtag United and Soccer AM goalkeeper, Jacko.

"It's been a kind of a dream come true," he says.

"I've had many, many a good moment, kind of pinch myself moments. For me growing up. It was a Saturday morning staple."

Jacko says there were a few standout moments for him, but saving a penalty from Man United star Jesse Lingard sticks out.

"The night before he'd been at the Emirates. moonwalking after scoring," says Jacko.

"And the next day he's missing a penalty on Soccer AM."

Hashtag Jacko taking a selfie in front of the goal at Soccer AM's mini-arena
'Hashtag Jacko' has been one of the show's goalkeepers in its arena football challenges

Jacko also thinks the show gave football fans something they didn't have access to when it kicked off in the 90s.

"Football wasn't on tap like it is nowadays," he says.

But Soccer AM delivered on "football, fashion and live music".

"I think that's probably part of the demise of the show, there's football everywhere at the touch of a button."

Jacko says the star-studded line-ups weren't the only secret to Soccer AM's success - he praises "a dozen staff behind the scenes that are legends".

And it was them who Jacko felt for most when the show was unexpectedly axed last month.

"They worked so hard on the show and have obviously had the rug pulled on them, but I don't think anyone knew this bombshell was coming," he says.

"They live and breathe the show and they live and breathe football. So I feel for them."

Terrace anthems

Musician Tom A Smith playing at a gig. He holds a white guitar and looks emotional, his mouth open wide as as he sings into a microphone. He's wearing a dark t-shirt and glancing out of the side of his eye at the camera.
Musician Tom A Smith appeared on Soccer AM alongside Miles Kane, one of his heroes

As well as the light-hearted football chat and interviews, the show made a conscious effort to showcase up-and-coming artists on its playlists.

One of those live shows was by singer-songwriter Tom A Smith, who is playing at Radio 1's Big Weekend in Dundee this week.

"I made my Soccer AM appearance last October, with Miles Kane, and we played a song together. It was a great day," he says.

"I'd been a massive fan of his work my whole childhood, so to have the opportunity to play alongside him on Soccer AM as well was great.

"Football and music together can go hand-in-hand and Soccer AM was a massive part of that."

Tom says the show was "very inclusive" for new acts and not many TV shows offer the same platform.

He praises the show for not only focusing on "the biggest artists" but looking for "the next generation, the next wave".

"It's going to be devastating to see it go," he says.

'My dream job'

Amy Christophers, in a white dress, smiling at the camera. Her hair is down and she is wearing sunglasses on her head
Amy Christophers worked on the show - and was asked to appear as a "Soccerette"

Amy Christophers appeared on the show in sketches with co-hosts Tubes and Rocket between 2010 and 2014.

She's now a sports journalist, and "truly gutted" the show is ending as it was her "dream job" to present it one day.

"I think most my age grew up watching the show and it's the end of an era - Saturday mornings won't be the same again," she says.

The show underwent an image revamp in the early 2010s to become less "lads' magazine" and appeal to a modern-day audience.

But many blame the change for the show's gradual decline in popularity.

One of the most controversial segments was "Soccerettes", where young women in football shirts would be asked questions in front of an audience.

The first was always "how old are you?", and the answer was usually met with cheers from male fans in the audience.

Amy used to be a glamour model, and says she was approached to be a Soccerette.

While she didn't take up the offer, she didn't have a problem with the feature at the time - though she doesn't think it'd look good on the airwaves now.

"It had a place back then," she says.

"But now it would look out of place - times have moved on."

Bin there, done that

One person who admits he does sometimes miss the "edgy" side of the show is long-time fan Alex Roder.

But he's kept watching despite the changes, and appeared on the show in March.

He even managed to score a "top bin" volley - landing a shot in a wheelie bin placed in the top corner of the show's mini-arena goal.

Fan Alex posing in front of the 'top bin' he scored a volley in, with fellow Cheltenham fans and presenter John 'Fenners' Fendley
Super fan Alex (third from the right) scored a top bin goal with his first volley

"First it didn't quite register that I've just scored a bin on Soccer AM," he says.

"I ended up doing some Alan Shearer celebration. The social media response was huge. My phone did blow up quite a bit."

Alex says seeing the show's set and presenters in person was "unbelievable" from start to finish.

"It's a strange feeling but one I'll remember for a long while," he says.

Alex says he'll also have a fond memories of the show's "old-school era" with Tim and Helen.

But goalie Jacko thinks times have moved on.

"A lot of people remember it in the 90s, in the 2000s, when we had a different headspace and the comedy was very different," he says.

"A lot of the things on the show... there's no way you'd get away with in today's world.

"It's just changed and things evolve."

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