Up until a few weeks ago Mark Bolton had been the front man for Spanish Football on Sky Sports. He had been in the position for six years and he had something that wasn’t exactly the norm within the company – an opinion and a personality. That has seemingly ended his stint with Sky.
On twitter he posted on June 3 ‘After 6 years the season just past will be my final one presenting Spanish Football for Sky Sports. I will not be renewing my contract.’ and would go on to use twitlonger to further he message:
Mark Bolton will not be renewing his contract at Sky Sports.
After 6 successful and enjoyable years presenting Spanish football for Sky Sports, this past season will be my last.
My current Sky contract expires in August and I will not be renewing it.
Spanish football enjoys greater popularity now than ever and whilst sad to leave a product for which I have great affection, I am proud to have played a significant role in its development over the past few years. I am grateful to Sky Sports for their support in allowing me to do so.
Having expressed a long felt desire to take on new challenges, I have concluded these will be more successfully pursued outside of Sky Sports.
I wish the team every success.
All seems fair until he posted this on June 22, ‘Sky Sports told me Im (sic) “Very talented & excellent on screen” but that Im (sic) “Anti-authoritarian” & that they’d decided to not renew my contract.’ So basically they didn’t like his attitude and wanted rid of a potential troublemaker within the company. Well that is their right of course but it seems clear enough that they would prefer a bland ident-i-kit presenter to someone with a bit of spark and that is a shame. As someone who has been labelled as similar in the past I can see his frustraition. Sometimes you can’t fight the regime even when you are right. People do not like to be told when they are wrong – certainly by people who they are paying – and the ability to know when to shut up is one I might not possess either.
There is a fine piece over at WSC entitled A rare good broadcaster leaves Sky Sports which is right on the money. Whilst I don’t put Mark Bolton up in James Richardson’s class – Bolton had something. Now we are left on Sky with Stelling (who is fine but not anywhere near as good when taken out of the Soccer Saturday studios), Jones (who is fine but nothing special) and Chamberlain (who seemingly in my eyes is the best of the three). I haven’t included Shepherd as he’s just not up to it, seemed a strange hire from the start and he just doesn’t fit.
So what will Sky do? They have yet to announce if they intend to hire from within in the football presenting team to replace Richard Keys full-time and now they have the Spanish football job available too. Will they continue with the status quo on EPL games with the current mis-mash of Jones/Chamberlain or will they give one of them the main EPL job and the other Spanish football? My fear is that Ed Chamberlain will be the new face of Spanish football on Sky with Dave Jones being the main EPL anchor with Ben Shepherd doing the odd game when needs be.
All in all the whole Sky Sports Football output has gone downhill in the past year. Losing Ian Darke to ESPN in the United States was the first blow then Keys and Gray whilst not being everyone’s cup of tea were well known and consistent. The parade of co-commentators since Gray has left has been bewildering and the yo-yo of Jones and Chamberlain as the face of the channel’s most important and iconic sport event has not sat well.
To be honest I’m disappointed in Sky with how they have dealt with the whole football department in the past six months or so. You have to hope Mark Bolton turns up somewhere soon and that Sky Sports can get their house in order sooner rather than later.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.