Phil Thompson has opened up on how he misses being a part of the ‘band of brothers’ he and his former Soccer Saturday colleagues had.
The ex- Liverpool star was axed by Sky Sports along with Charlie Nicholas and Matt Le Tissier as part of a major shake up by the broadcasters.
Presenter Jeff Stelling kept his place as did former Arsenal man Paul Merson. Chris Kamara also kept his place on the road.
As part of the reshuffle Sky Sports confirmed new names Adebayo Akinfenwa, Robbie Fowler and Joleon Lescott would be introduced.
Speaking about his dismissal, Thompson revealed that Sky Sports had actually broached the subject of easing him out of the show 18 months prior to his official exit.
“It became a way of life so taking that away… I miss it. Yes, I miss it,” he told MailOnline.
“We were a band of brothers. But you do know that change has to happen.
“They wanted to do it sensitively rather than one day you’re gone.
“They said until we find somebody who is better, it might continue.
“It was three parts of a midfield.
“The others could have continued.
“I do think we bridged all the gaps because people grew up with us.
“We did it for 16 years. Even though people didn’t remember us as players, they knew us as Soccer Saturday. So it was part of their life.
“It even became a cult thing. There was a Jeff Stelling university drinking game! (A shot of spirit every time Stelling said ‘doom and gloom’ and another when Chris Kamara screamed: ‘Unbelievable, Jeff’). The whole thing was a testimony to Jeff, who was the leader of the band and for me, the best TV sports presenter.
“It took on its own life. I think people could relate to us. I’m not saying everybody loved every one of us. You only had to go on social media to see that. But we knew what we were and that was the biggest thing. We didn’t want to be like Super Sunday, where they would analyse things to death.
“That was the great thing about Sky. They mixed things up. They created new programmes. They pushed the boundaries.”