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Simon Thomas named new Soccer Saturday host; former referee Mike Dean also joins show to give insight from match officials – Sky Sports

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Simon Thomas replaces Jeff Stelling, who left Soccer Saturday at the end of the 2022/23 season after more than 25 years at the helm; ex-Premier League referee Mike Dean will also join the team next season; Soccer Saturday returns on August 5
Monday 17 July 2023 08:43, UK
Simon Thomas has been named as the new Soccer Saturday presenter from the start of the 2023/24 season, with former referee Mike Dean also joining the programme.
Thomas replaces Jeff Stelling, who departed the flagship show at the end of the 2022/23 season after more than 25 years at the helm.
The new face of Soccer Saturday has previously presented on Sky Sports News and Sky Sports, having been the lead presenter across live football coverage, including the Premier League and EFL.
Soccer Saturday will also have another new face in former Premier League referee Dean, who will be joining the ranks to offer in-depth analysis and insight on the biggest decisions made across the country.
Dean had a 27-year refereeing career, retiring from on-pitch officiating in 2022, after 22 years as a Premier League referee. He spent last season as a dedicated VAR but stepped down on Saturday.
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Soccer Saturday returns to screens when the EFL seasons begins on August 5, broadcasting from a brand new studio. Thomas and Dean will be joined by an array of familiar faces on the panel, including Paul Merson, Clinton Morrison, Michael Dawson, Sue Smith, Kris Boyd and Tim Sherwood. Julian Warren will continue presenting Soccer Special for midweek matches.
Thomas said of his new role: “When I left Sky in 2018 for very personal reasons, it was always said the door would be open if I ever wanted to return. I never expected that Gillette Soccer Saturday would be the door that would open.
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Premier League fixtures
“Being asked to present this iconic show and follow in the footsteps of Jeff Stelling, an absolute giant of sports broadcasting, is a massive honour and one I simply cannot wait to get started on.”
Stelling tweeted: “Wish him well. He is an excellent broadcaster and a very good person.”
New Soccer Saturday panellist Dean added: “It feels a bit surreal to be a part of such a well-loved show, but I can’t wait to join the team. With all the technology available in today’s game, I think it’s crucial that fans understand why decisions have been made, even if they don’t agree with them!”
Sky Sports’ Director of Football, Gary Hughes, said: “Simon left Sky at the top of his profession as a Premier League presenter, delivering the biggest games to big audiences. It’s brilliant to have someone with his experience and credibility back on the team to take Gillette Soccer Saturday into a new era.
“We’re also delighted to welcome Mike to Sky Sports. He was one of the game’s most well-known and well-liked referees. In his role, he’ll be explaining the big calls and decisions from his unique perspective, providing fans of Gillette Soccer Saturday and our Premier League coverage with greater analysis, insight and understanding.”
Here’s the first round of fixtures for the 2023/24 Premier League season:
Friday August 11
Burnley vs Manchester City – kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
Saturday August 12
Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest – kick-off 12.30pm
Bournemouth vs West Ham – kick-off 3pm
Brighton vs Luton – kick-off 3pm
Everton vs Fulham – kick-off 3pm
Sheffield United vs Crystal Palace – kick-off 3pm
Newcastle vs Aston Villa – kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Sunday August 13
Brentford vs Tottenham – kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports
Chelsea vs Liverpool – kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Monday August 14
Manchester United vs Wolves – kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
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Here’s the first round of fixtures for the 2023/24 EFL season:
Friday August 4
Sheffield Wednesday vs Southampton, 8pm – Live on Sky Sports
Saturday August 5
Blackburn vs West Brom, 3pm
Bristol City vs Preston, 3pm
Middlesbrough vs Millwall, 3pm
Norwich vs Hull, 3pm
Plymouth vs Huddersfield, 3pm
QPR vs Watford, 3pm
Stoke vs Rotherham, 3pm
Swansea vs Birmingham, 3pm
Sunday August 6
Leicester vs Coventry, 12pm – Live on Sky Sports
Leeds vs Cardiff, 2.30pm – Live on Sky Sports
Sunderland vs Ipswich, 5pm – Live on Sky Sports
Here’s the first round of fixtures for the 2023/24 League One season, which kicks off on Saturday August 5:
Barnsley vs Port Vale – kick-off 3pm
Blackpool vs Burton Albion – kick-off 3pm
Bolton Wanderers vs Lincoln City – kick-off 3pm
Cambridge United vs Oxford United – kick-off 3pm
Carlisle United vs Fleetwood Town – kick-off 3pm
Charlton Athletic vs Leyton Orient – kick-off 3pm
Derby County vs Wigan Athletic – kick-off 3pm
Northampton Town vs Stevenage – kick-off 3pm
Portsmouth vs Bristol Rovers – kick-off 3pm
Reading vs Peterborough United – kick-off 3pm
Shrewsbury Town vs Cheltenham Town – kick-off 3pm
Wycombe Wanderers vs Exeter City – kick-off 3pm
Here’s the first round of fixtures for the 2023/24 League Two season, which kicks off on the weekend of August 5:
Accrington Stanley vs Newport County – kick-off 3pm
Colchester United vs Swindon Town – kick-off 3pm
Crawley Town vs Bradford City – kick-off 3pm
Crewe Alexandra vs Mansfield Town – kick-off 3pm
Doncaster Rovers vs Harrogate Town – kick-off 3pm
Forest Green Rovers vs Salford City – kick-off 3pm
Grimsby Town vs AFC Wimbledon – kick-off 3pm
Morecambe vs Walsall – kick-off 3pm
Stockport County vs Gillingham – kick-off 3pm
Sutton United vs Notts County – kick-off 3pm
Tranmere Rovers vs Barrow – kick-off 3pm
Wrexham vs Milton Keynes Dons – kick-off 3pm
Friday August 4 – Sheffield Wednesday vs Southampton, 8pm
Sunday August 6 – Leicester vs Coventry, 12pm
Sunday August 6 – Leeds vs Cardiff, 2.30pm
Sunday August 6 – Sunderland vs Ipswich, 5pm
Friday August 11 – Burnley vs Manchester City, kick-off 8pm
Saturday August 12 – Newcastle vs Aston Villa – kick-off 5.30pm
Sunday August 13 – Brentford vs Tottenham – kick-off 2pm, Chelsea vs Liverpool – kick-off 4.30pm
Monday August 14 – Manchester United vs Wolves – kick-off 8pm
The Premier League season will kick off on the weekend of August 11-13 and conclude nine months later on May 19 2024.
A mid-season player break will take place between January 14-20 and, in order to address the congested schedule across Christmas and New Year, no two rounds in this period will take place within 48 hours of each other.
Meanwhile, the Carabao Cup final will take place on Sunday February 25, the Europa League final will be held in Dublin on May 22 and the Champions League final will be played at Wembley Stadium on June 1.
Start date – Friday August 4
League One play-off final – May 18
League Two play-off final – May 19
Championship play-off final – May 26
Another Sunday, another chance to win £250,000 with Super 6. Play for free, entries by 4:30pm.
© 2024 Sky UK

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