Chris Kamara has confirmed he is leaving Sky Sports after 24 years at the end of the season. The iconic presenter, also known as “Kammy”, worked on Soccer AM and Goals Sunday, but is best remembered for countless hilarious moments on Soccer Saturday and his catchphrase “amazing Jeff!”. Kamara’s departure comes a month after he confirmed he suffered from apraxia of speech.
The former footballer, 64, appeared to be scrambling on a recent broadcast and he tweeted to confirm he had developed a speech impediment alongside an existing thyroid problem. And a month later, he revealed he would soon be leaving Sky. Despite the condition, however, he will be a commentator on the ITV show ‘The Games’ which airs on May 9.
“Some great news about this show and Sky Sports…and no I haven’t changed my mind [on retiring] again!” said Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling on the last broadcast (April 30). series at the end of the season. He leaves with the best wishes from everyone here.”
In a statement, Kamara said: “My long career at Sky Sports has never been like a job. I’ve had a wonderful 24 years at Sky and I’m leaving with the best memories. My time on Soccer AM, Goals on Sunday and, of course, Soccer Saturday with Jeff was – to coin a phrase – amazing.
“I had the best time of my life and can’t wait to log in every Saturday as a fan.” Kamara added on Twitter: “After 24 years at Sky Sports, we have announced my departure. I loved every minute and the memories will live on forever. Working with Jeff and the boys has been amazing! And the days specials on Goals on Sunday with Ben Shephard who has become a great friend. I had a blast!”
Sky Sports meanwhile said: “After 24 brilliant years at Sky Sports, including many years as a Soccer Saturday star, Chris Kamara is leaving the show at the end of the season. The Soccer Saturday show has given him back tribute this afternoon, and he leaves with our thanks and best wishes.”
Gary Hughes, Sky Sports Director of Football, insisted: “Kammy was a Sky Sports star. Everyone has a favorite story or highlight of Kammy, and the tribute we gave him on air. this afternoon really shows the special place he holds in the hearts of our viewers. We were so lucky to have him, and he will always be part of the Sky Sports football family.”
During a recent appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Kamara said of his speech condition: “It was amazing. Today is a good day. Today I think I’m fine , I don’t know how I speak. But it seems as if I’m fine.
“But on Saturday I was reporting for Sky in Rotherham and without my knowledge, because I don’t really know how it’s going, because if I explain my apraxia, you take it for granted that when you think and ‘we arrive through our discourse, it’s comfortable, it’s easy, it’s natural.
“My apraxia, because it varies from person to person, when it’s bad it blocks signals from that brain from going to that mouth, so it slows it down. In fact, sometimes it also confuses the words. So people look and think, ‘Is he okay? Is he drunk?’
“It’s a neurological problem, we don’t know, the experts don’t know. The brain is such a complex part of you that it’s hard to tell if it was the thyroid that caused this, is it Will it get better over time? I try to use parts of my brain now that allow me to speak fluently. So I’m with a speech therapist and I’m with another therapist who is doing his best, so it’s really amazing.”