Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Simon Thomas to MISS Soccer Saturday this afternoon due to Covid with Caroline Barker stepping in to replace h – Daily Mail


By Will Pickworth For Mailonline


Simon Thomas will be absent from Soccer Saturday this afternoon due to illness. 
Thomas – who replaced Jeff Stelling as host of Sky Sports’ flagship football show at the start of this season – revealed on X, formerly Twitter, his family had been hit by Covid and that Caroline Barker would replace him.
He posted: ‘Sadly no #soccersaturday for me today – #Covid has hit the Thomas household. @CarolineBarker is in the hot seat today. Go well CB – you’ll be brilliant. See you next week.’
Barker already works across Sky Sports, with her regularly seen leading their WSL coverage.
Mail Sport reported in the summer how she was in the running to replace Stelling, who had fronted the iconic show for 25 years.
Simon Thomas is set to be absent from Soccer Saturday this afternoon due to illness
He revealed his family had been hit by Covid and that Caroline Barker would be replacing him
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She also presents for BBC and Premier League productions, while she hosts The Non-League Football Show. 
Meanwhile, Thomas is a former Blue Peter presenter who joined the company originally in 2005 as a presenter on Sky Sports News. 
After six years, the Norwich City fan was given the job of presenting Sky’s Football League and League Cup coverage and was given Premier League matches three years later.
Thomas stepped away from full-time broadcast work to look after his son, following the sudden death of his wife Gemma six years ago.
Gemma tragically died in 2017, just three days after she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
When his appointment was announced in the summer, Thomas, who had stepped in for Stelling on a few occasions over the past year, said it was an honour to succeed the broadcasting legend.
Barker (centre) presents on the BBC and Sky Sports and leads the broadcaster’s WSL coverage
Thomas succeeded Jeff Stelling after he quit as presenter following 25 years on the show
‘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,’ Thomas said.
‘I never expected that Gillette Soccer Saturday would be the door that would open.
‘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.’
Thomas had made an impressive start to life on the show and earlier this month he helped to lead a moving discussion on mental health struggles within football with Paul Merson, Clinton Morrison, Kris Boyd and Mike Dean.
It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.
It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.
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