Sky Sports have this morning announced the departure of pundit Phil Clarke ahead of the new season, leaving after over three decades connected to the broadcaster.
The 52-year-old has been one of Sky’s rugby league pundits for the last 23 years, correctly tipping both Catalans Dragons and Wigan Warriors to reach Old Trafford and the Super League Grand Final in the season just gone.
A former England and Great Britain international, Clarke pulled on a Wigan shirt more than 150 times in his playing career, part of the team that dominated the game in this country through the late 80’s and 90’s with six straight league titles and seven consecutive Challenge Cup lifts.
Having briefly featured Down Under for Sydney Roosters, the ex-forward saw his playing days cut short through a serious injury, and would go on to assume a role as Wigan’s CEO, overseeing their Super League triumph in 1998.
Now, he will take a step back from the public eye, ‘returning to being the fan he began as.’
Sky Sports confirm departure of long-serving Super League pundit Phil Clarke ahead of 2024 season
Sky announced Clarke’s exit with a post on X, with the pundit saying: “Throughout the course of my life, I’ve been lucky to see rugby league from many different angles.
“It began as a young boy watching my dad play for Wigan, then transitioned into playing for that club, and later became the CEO at the Warriors.
“For the last 23 years, I have had the privilege of holding a Sky Sports microphone and watching my favourite sport from the commentary box and studio.
“The time is now right for me to complete the circle of life and return to being the fan that I began as. I now want to move onto the next chapter of my life and hand over the microphone baton.
“I feel compelled to thank so many of the people that I have worked with at Sky, especially Neville Smith, Eddie and Stevo, Bill Arthur and the rest of the team who helped me when I first started to work there.
“If my memory is correct, I played in the first game that Sky (or BSB as they were then) showed of rugby league back on 1st April 1990.
“I now look forward to watching all the games that they will cover this season and beyond. I wish Brian Carney and the rest of the team all the best for 2024.”
Steve Smith – the Executive Director of Content for the broadcaster – added: “Phil has been part of the Sky Sports rugby league family over three decades, and has been an integral part of our coverage, on and off the pitch, since it began.
“We wish him every success for the future and know that he’ll always be a great support to the rest of the team from afar, and will enjoy tuning in as a fan when next season starts.”