Souness steps down from Sky Sports ‘owing 100 apologies’; Neville recalls ‘last battle’ with pundit

Matt Stead

Sky Sports have announced that Graeme Souness will step down as a pundit at the end of the season, coincidentally the first without Paul Pogba for ages.

Souness confirmed his decision to bow out after Liverpool’s ludicrous 4-3 win over Spurs at Anfield, knowing that things won’t get any better than Richarlison looking really silly.

After 15 years at the peak of the industry, Souness is stepping down from the role to pursue being a 69-year-old.

“I’m going to miss you guys, the guys behind the scenes, our make-up girl, I’ll miss you all,” he said.

“You know, for me, I decided that football management wasn’t for me any more. I had the wrong temperament for it, the wrong personality.

“And then I was given the opportunity to do this and it’s been magnificent. It’s just been the most fantastic time for me, because I love football, I care about football and I worry about it going forward.

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“But in Sky’s hands it’s in good hands, safe hands, and I think over the years we’ve covered the Premier League with great detail and I think we look after football very well.

“For me personally, I’ve got the buzz of live football coming to some fantastic games and some fantastic stadiums and some great events. I think I owe 100 apologies, but we haven’t got time for that, to people that maybe I may have said some harsh things to.”

Probably Harry Kane, for one.

“I think people at home want to see us not always agree, but it’s been great, guys, it really has. And it’s great right now to be amongst friends.

Fellow pundit Gary Neville bid an emotional farewell to his long-time colleague.

“When I first joined Sky, Graeme was the senior pundit and he still is the senior pundit,” he said. “He speaks with such authority, gravitas and conviction, with an incredible way of delivering lines.

“You can debate with him and it’s no holds barred. He can put you on the floor sometimes and he’s not worried to say the unthinkable or the unpopular. But then he’ll shake your hand at the end of the show and you’ll come back the next week and you’ll do it again, and that’s what I respected most about Graeme in these last 10 or 12 years.

“He’s one of the very best that I’ve ever seen doing the job, and someone that I and other young pundits when we come into it would learn so much from.

“He is a brilliant, brilliant pundit. Had some fantastic nights listening to his stories in the early days when we’d go away on Champions League duty, he’d have the meal the night before. Particularly when him and Glenn Hoddle were there sat at the table, and they had two very different views on football but it was really interesting listening to them both. They’d always debate about style of play – Glenn obviously wanted to see possession and passing through midfield and Graeme would see the game slightly different, about making sure you get wired in, you get stuck in. But he also played the game as well.

“Really sorry to see him go. He’s been a fantastic pundit, a fantastic person at Sky. I wish him all the very best in the future. I think we’re weaker for not having him here next season because of what he brings. But that’s life, we understand that people move on. It’s football. But I do wish him all the very best. He’s been fantastic with me.

Graeme Souness speaks about England

“I think my last battle with him was here a few weeks ago when Man Utd got beat 7-0 and I had the audacity to say I didn’t think Liverpool played that well, which he jumped upon. I still think I was right! But you don’t tend to win with Graeme – that’s the nature of it.

“I really do wish him all the best. He’s been fantastic to work with.”