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Ex-Soccer AM host Max Rushden says Sky ‘missed a trick’ with final show and reflects on bizarre moments

Bynewsmagzines

May 27, 2023
Ex-Soccer AM host Max Rushden says Sky ‘missed a trick’ with final show and reflects on bizarre moments

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Max Rushden says Sky ‘missed a trick’ with the last ever Soccer AM show.

It was the end of an era on Saturday morning as the popular show had its final episode after the announcement it would come to an end this season after 30 years on air.

Max Rushden presented Soccer AM from 2008 to 2015

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Max Rushden presented Soccer AM from 2008 to 2015Credit: Sky
The final episode of Soccer AM was certainly an eventful one, thanks to comedian Jack Whitehall

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The final episode of Soccer AM was certainly an eventful one, thanks to comedian Jack WhitehallCredit: Sky

They went out with a bang, too, as comedian Jack Whitehall was muted by producers after a series of outrageous gags – which left hosts John ‘Fenners’ Fendley and Jimmy Bulland, plus other guests rapper Stomzy and actor Stephen Graham, speechless.

But talkSPORT’s Max Rushden, who hosted Soccer AM from 2008 and 2015 alongside Helen Chamberlain, says the show wasted a great opportunity by not inviting presenters of the past back for the finale – including the iconic Tim Lovejoy.

At least, he didn’t get the invite…

Speaking on talkSPORT on Saturday morning, Rushden said: “I was messaging Helen yesterday about it – when they announced it a few months ago I thought, ‘Are they going to get everyone back?’

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“It would be so great to get everyone back, Tim, Helen, Sheephead, Robbie Knox, topless weather and all that stuff, Ant and Dec from when I was there.

“But they haven’t… unless I’m the only one not invited – I’m obviously a long way away [Max currently lives in Australian and broadcasts on talkSPORT from Down Under].”

Instead, the show carried on as normal, with Fenners and Bullard addressing the camera and spending the final two minutes paying tribute to the producers and staff behind the cameras before walking off screen.

Many fans commented that it was a bit of an anti-climax to a show that some feel has lost its edge over recent years.

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Tim Lovejoy and Helen Chamberlain were the hosts during the peak years

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Tim Lovejoy and Helen Chamberlain were the hosts during the peak yearsCredit: Sky

Soccer AM at its peak was a seminal part of football culture in the UK, and Rushden still thinks back fondly at his time as host.

“For me, it was amazing, amazing memories and totally life-changing,” he said on Saturday’s Warm-Up show.

“It was a really incredible, fun TV show to be a part of.

“I wasn’t very good at it at the start! I knew how big a job it was and I’d never done TV before, so I was very lucky.

“It was an amazing place to learn, because if you made a mistake there was just a team of people there whose job it was to yell at you on air if you made a mistake.

“The pressure was huge. Now I’m presenting live football and people say it’s the zenith, doing live Champions League football, and it is great fun, but it’s much easier! You’ve got pundits in the studio who want to talk, you’ve got supporters at the ground who want to talk.

“On Soccer AM you’d have a 21-year-old footballer, an indie band hungover from the night before and a comedian who would have to pull it out of the bag and really turn up, or we are absolutely screwed.

“There were elements of the show that have really not aged well and it was of its time, but I have so many brilliant memories on that show. 

“Sometimes it was rubbish, our jokes were rubbish, sometimes it didn’t work, but sometimes it was brilliant and sometimes it was really super clever… and sometimes it wasn’t!

“But Helen is a totally brilliant broadcaster and I hung on her coattails for years. She’s just a total natural, she was and is totally brilliant.”

Rushden was full of praise for legendary Soccer AM host Helen Chamberlain

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Rushden was full of praise for legendary Soccer AM host Helen ChamberlainCredit: Sky

Rushden also looked back on some of the more bizarre moments on the show – including serving ice cream to a former Barcelona star dressed as a snowman.

He said: “There were just so many ridiculous days where you were like, ‘This is my job?’ 

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“Singing a Phil Collins song to Dion Dublin dressed in a white linen suit, filming for ten hours, why are we doing this? Why am I dressed as a snowman giving Gaizka Mendieta a Viennetta? It works for me!

“I’ve still got a few mates at the show and I wish them all the best, it’s a massive end of an era.”

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