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Sky Sports to debut first Soccer Saturday panel for new season after controversial changes

Sky Sports will have a new look panel for the first Soccer Saturday of the season this weekend.

Matt Le Tissier, Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thompson were axed last month following a shake-up of the long-running and popular results show.

The broadcaster hadn’t confirmed their replacements, but according to The Athletic, their first four-man panel on Saturday will feature ex-Spurs and Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood, former Stoke and West Brom boss Tony Pulis and former Crystal Palace striker Clinton Morrison.

The trio will appear alongside long-time regular Paul Merson, with Jeff Stelling hosting the flagship live scores programme as usual.

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It is thought the new guests will not be a permanent fixture, with Sky likely to rotate pundits during the early part of the new campaign. The Athletic claim that a final panel has not been settled on.

The decision to sack Nicholas, Le Tissier and Thompson caused controversy at the time among fans and pundits alike, with Ian Wright blasting internet trolls after Alex Scott and Micah Richards were dragged into the discussion amid accusations of racial inequality.

“Woah, I’ve had to pull the car over. The racism is going through the roof today,” Wright said on a video uploaded to Twitter last month.

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“Can somebody just answer this, what does Micah Richards, Alex Scott, Sol Campbell, Clinton Morrison or any other black pundit have to do with Sky’s decision to get rid of these guys?”

“All because what, three middle-aged white guys have got the sack. I kiss my teeth, say ‘rasclat’ and all that stuff, what have they done, what have these guys done, because a black person or woman might get the opportunity to do this job, they might get a chance to do this show.

“Why are people upset? Alex Scott, for me, is easily one of the best-prepared pundits out there.