Is the end near for Sam Newman’s time on The Footy Show?
Is the end near for Sam Newman’s time on The Footy Show?

Footy Show star’s bombshell exit

SAM Newman dropped a bombshell on Footy Show viewers tonight by confirming he was stepping down after 25 years.

Earlier in the day, Newman tweeted: "Announcement tonight re this show. Looking forward to it - and GF (Grand Final) show next week at Rod Laver Arena."

The cryptic tweet came after the 72-year-old was contacted by the Herald Sun about his future with the show. The popular host has previously said he would stay with the series until he was sacked - so the tweet sent the rumour mill into a whirlwind with speculation around his future.

Newman has been a backbone of the popular show since its inception all the way back in 1994.

From the opening minutes of the show, it was clear the constant calls to quit - as well as the deteriorating ratings - had taken their toll, as he spoke about his decision.

In true Newman style, however, he couldn't help but throw in a few jabs to those who continually pulled him up.

But it was a different, more emotional Newman who slowly made his way through the monologue, often pausing before delivering the next sentence.

"I will not be continuing," Newman said, as he began to choke up.

"It's opportune that I end my association with this show and the network on the off-chance that this is the final show that we do.

"I want to thank you very much for putting up with me or enjoying me."

The opening to the show caught many by surprise, but fans couldn't help but praise the often criticised Newman for delivering a truly heartfelt goodbye.

Channel 9 has yet to confirm whether the long-running show will return next year after a ratings slump.

"Now, there's been tremendous speculation about this show and me," Newman said as he addressed the crowd. "I'm sorry that this is about me, but it is.

"This station won't or can't tell us if this show will be on next year, either in this format or in some other format and they can't tell me if I'll be part of the show next year if it's on or if I'll be part of a different show if it's on.

"So, on the off-chance, listen to those words, on the off-chance this show is not on next year, this is the opportune time to say what I'm about to say because it's no good doing it next week when the grand final show is on, because that's about revelry and merriment, gaiety and laughing."

He continued: "But this could well be the last in-house Footy Show that we do, after 25 years. I've been part of it for 25 years … it started being given a six-week trial period and it was given another six-week trial period and then another and the rest, as they say, is history until we're here, possibly on the last Footy Show of its life.

"We've had about - someone did the maths - 200 million people watch this show over 25 years, we've had maybe 500 to 700,000 live studio audiences. Either here now or in the other studio in Richmond or at the Rod Laver Arena for the grand final shows or all around the country in the other shows we've done.

"We have given a start to many footballers who have stopped playing and have taken up a vocation in the media, they've had a great grounding here on the show and they've gone on to be on other shows and they've been fantastic."

He thanked the "great sponsors over the 25 years" who had stuck by him.

"I've worked with great people, Eddie McGuire, my friend, and Trevor Marmalade started this show, the three of us. Instigated by Ian Johnston, the manager of Channel 9 in those days who is not well, so we wish him the best.

"Then Gary Lyon and James Brayshaw took over, great friends of mine. Then Brayshaw and Rebecca Maddern took over. Think about Rebecca Maddern - she was 15 when this show started and would she have ever thought when watching a numbskull like me thinking she'd actually be a part of hosting the team on this show?

"We've spoken to hundreds of people out on the streets, to my knowledge not one of them has ever complained about what we spoke to them about and them being on the show. But of course there were a few agenda seekers who said we shouldn't go out and speak to people on the street, so of course in this day and age we stopped doing it.

"I've said some pretty inappropriate things and I've had to apologise for them, but this station has been as loyal and committed to me as you could ever find.

"Next week, we look forward to a great grand final show and the only thing I can say is, I've probably been the most criticised ... person in the media in Australia for probably two decades … I wouldn't have it any other way because you are what you are.

"I know who I am, I know what I am. I take it with a grain of salt that people have a right to say whatever they like about me or this show or people on it.

"But always remember this about critics, critics are like eunuchs in a harem. They're there every night, they see it done every night, they see how it should be done, but they can't do it themselves.

"So, as I say to you, I really appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to tune in, sometimes in big numbers, sometimes in lesser numbers.

"You have got to experience the lows in life to appreciate the highs. I am one of those people. And so this is probably it for me as an in-house Footy Show contributor and next week it will probably be it for me as a grand final Footy Show participant as well."

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