Radio 5 Live anchorman Mark Saggers, pictured right, is to leave the BBC after working at next week’s Manchester United v Barcelona Champions League final in Rome.
The 49-year-old Sony Radio Award-winner is to get his own Saturday show at rivals TalkSport, after the BBC failed to renew his contract, which expires at the end of this month, or to resolve the apparent conflict between Saggers and 5 Live’s leading football commentator, Alan Green.
Relations between Saggers – a former Cambridge United reserves footballer and minor counties cricketer – and Green were so bad that the commentator refused to board the same plane when the BBC team travelled to England’s World Cup qualifier against Belarus in Minsk last year.
The feud continued before the Champions League semi-final between Manchester United and Arsenal when Green dismissed a question from Saggers about the Arsene Wenger-Sir Alex Ferguson relationship, saying “not interested”.
At TalkSport, Saggers will anchor the station’s flagship Saturday afternoon show alongside regular contributors such as Ian Wright and Darren Gough.
This ends Saggers’ second spell with national BBC radio. He had previously worked at Sky News as their senior sports correspondent, presenting their Sportsline programme, winning awards for coverage of Terry Venables’s resignation as England manager, the football riots in Italy and France, and the Sydney Olympics.
He rejoined the BBC in 2001, working on Test Match Special and presenting 5 Live Sport from Monday to Thursday.