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I presented Soccer AM and got given away as a prize to hoover some bloke’s house



IT will be tough to fill the vacuum when Soccer AM goes off air in may.

But long-running star Rocket might just know how – as he once once had to hoover a stranger’s house after show chiefs gave him away as a prize.

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Rocket, aka James Long, has revealed his most amazing experiences on the Saturday morning football show, having worked on it for the last 19 of its 28 years.

Sky Sports plan to blow the final whistle on the light-hearted programme on May 27.

Rocket’s highs include bringing Christmas joy to the families of troops in Afghanistan and hope to street kids in Kenya.


But he had to dust himself down following a more unusual role.

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He said: “I got given away as a prize when I got sent to Preston.

“Some guy won me on the show and I had to hoover his house and clean his curtains.”

Having joined for work experience aged 15, he became a runner for the show before emerging as a fixture in front of the camera.

He added: “There were so many cool things that I managed to do with my time there.


“But the one thing that really stood out  is when we went to Afghanistan we got videos of the troops doing Christmas messages to loved ones.

“We must have shot about 30 or 40 video messages of all these troops because they weren’t going to see their families. 


“It must have run for about seven minutes at the end of one show and even now I get choked up because it was so powerful and emotional.

“I just remember the difference it would have made to kids watching the show to see their dad saying, ‘Merry Christmas’.

“That’s one thing that really sticks out for me – the good that Soccer AM did, the difference that it made.

“It was one of those moments where you felt proud to be a part of that.”

Mainly it was lighter moments – “I got to play the first match at the new Wembley Stadium, turn Stoke’s Christmas lights on”.

But it’s the life-changing events that stir him the most.

Rocket said: “Going over to Kenya and giving out the football shirts that all the children sent into the street children, helping them get off glue because they were all addicted to sniffing glue.


“It was like a way of getting them into work. We would reward them for tasks around the area, maintaining pitches, maintaining nets, and they would come and play every day.

“They would get fed milk and bread and they would get medical care if they had cuts and stuff.

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“It was a way of making them feel like a normal kid because out there they were seen as like pests, a nuisance, by the police.

“This was an amazing experience, a real kind of sad experience for me just to see how tough these kids had it. That was a real eye-opener.”

Source: The Sun

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