Unbelievable, Jeff as Stelling speaks at Hungerford Town’s annual Sportsman’s Dinner
Legendary sports broadcaster Jeff Stelling spoke at Hungerford Town's annual Sportsman's Dinner last month.
The popular presenter, most famous for his 29 years at the helm of the Sky Sports panel show Gillette Soccer Saturday, had the whole clubhouse in stitches as he regaled guests with stories from his illustrious career.
Stelling, who also hosted the Channel 4 quiz show Countdown between 2009 and 2011, has long been an advocate of lower league football owing to his vocal support of his boyhood club, Hartlepool United.
The Sportsman's Dinner is an important night in Hungerford's calendar, with speakers such as former Hull City frontman Dean Windass visiting Bulpit Lane in the past, as it helps to raise crucially important funds that boost the club's finances over the coming months.
It's been a challenging year on and off the pitch for Hungerford, who were relegated from the National League South in April and were dealt a further financial blow earlier this season when the ground was broken into and ransacked. When Stelling learned of the break-in, he agreed to waive his fee for the night.
Of late, the club, who are unbeaten at home all season, have been on the up and are just two points outside the Southern Premier League play-off places.
Manager Danny Robinson, chairman Alan O'Donohue and midfielder George Smith were all in attendance at the sell-out event, which also featured performances from two stand-up comedians.
And Stelling, who began a new role presenting TalkSport’s breakfast show this morning, said he was delighted to support a club at the heart of the local community.
"I believe a thriving local football club is the heartbeat of a community and judging by the full house on the night that is the case at Hungerford Town," he said.
"It was great to support the fundraiser and meet the people whose passion and effort keeps the club running through thick and thin, from the chairman to the manager.
"The only downside is that I was driving – and so I couldn't have a beer!"
Committee member Cris Bowden, who has been at the heart of Hungerford's drive to support West Berkshire's Fostering Association and was instrumental in organising the evening, hailed the night as a "massive success".
He said: "We raised some good money for the club, everybody who attended had a great time and Jeff enjoyed himself. All in all it was a fantastic success.
"It's a big night for the football club and we were extremely happy with how it all went. We can't thank Jeff enough."