Advertisement
Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Off The Ball via Facebook
# Off The Ball
Off the Ball team release statement following Newstalk resignations
“The five of us are determined to be back on air together as soon as possible.”

Updated 17.00

THE TEAM FORMERLY behind Newstalk’s award-winning Off The Ball sports show say they are determined to be back on air together as soon as possible.

In the first public statement since their shock resignations yesterday, Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early, Mark Horgan, Simon Hick and Ciaran Murphy said that “fundamental differences of opinion” with management led to them quitting the station.

The five resigned their positions en masse yesterday following a dispute over the future direction of the show. Station sources indicated that the team wished to bring the programme’s start time forward by an hour to 6pm, a proposal which was rejected by management as it would cut into George Hook’s popular drivetime slot.

“Over the last 18 months we have been in discussions with Newstalk about ways to develop our programme,” the ‘Off the Ball 5′ confirmed in a short statement released through a new Twitter account, @The2ndCaptains. TheScore.ie has confirmed that the statement is genuine.

“Unfortunately there are fundamental differences of opinion between management and ourselves about the show’s future potential and its ability to grow an audience at an earlier time.

“We’re gutted to leave behind something we love but after eight years we feel it’s vital that our product continues to evolve and improve.

“We would like to sincerely thank Newstalk for giving us a chance to put the show together.”

Off the Ball continued in its usual 7pm to 10pm slot last night anchored by Newstalk sports editor Ger Gilroy, one of the original founders of the programme back in 2002. In a run which spans more than a decade the programme became a firm favourite among Irish sports fans, many of whom have expressed their shock and disappointment at yesterday’s developments.

“We won’t have the opportunity to say goodbye on air, so thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years and over the past 24 hours – particularly our listeners, who are the best in the country,” the team said.

Speculation continues about possible next moves for the famous five of Irish sports radio. Yesterday, Paddy Power opened a market and installed RTÉ Radio as 6/4 favourites to sign the entire team. A spokesperson for RTÉ told TheScore.ie that they do not comment on programme speculation.

Full statement from former Off The Ball team

Hey everyone, Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early, Mark Horgan, Simon Hick and Ciaran Murphy here. Sorry we couldn’t make the show last night.

Over the last 18 months we have been in discussions with Newstalk about ways to develop our programme. Unfortunately there are fundamental differences of opinion between management and ourselves about the show’s future potential and its ability to grow an audience at an earlier time.

We’re gutted to leave behind something we love but after eight years we feel it’s vital that our product continues to evolve and improve.

We would like to sincerely thank Newstalk for giving us a chance to put the show together.

We won’t have the opportunity to say goodbye on air, so thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years and over the past 24 hours – particularly our listeners, who are the best in the country.

The five of us are determined to be back on air together as soon as possible.

Oh captains, our captains: 22 reasons why we’ll miss the Off the Ball team

LISTEN: Ger Gilroy opens Newstalk’s Off The Ball following sports staff resignations

Your Voice
Readers Comments
60