Football presenter and TV host David Tanner has spoken for the first time about his shock departure from Sky Sports , report the Daily Record.

The 45-year-old has been replaced by Hayley McQueen after 18 years fronting the station’s Scottish football coverage.

He broke his silence on being dropped – and revealed he’s been bombarded by texts and calls from gutted players including Celtic skipper Scott Brown.

The star’s sudden disappearance sparked a mystery among fans, wondering where he’d gone.

David said: “I left by mutual consent on August 31, which is that old manager’s line, isn’t it?

Tanner with Johan Cruyff
(Image: Collect Unknown)

“I was away on holiday when the season started. I just switched my phone off and went away and did something with my family.

“And when I switched the phone back on, the first text that came up was from Scott Brown saying, ‘Where are you? Missing your wee face.’

“Ally McCoist phoned and we had a good chat and he said he hoped to work with me again in future.

“Archie Macpherson said to me, ‘Don’t worry about anyone else, see yourself right. You know the game, just make your own decisions.’

“I was completely unaware anybody was even remotely interested about where I was.

“My view on TV presenters, with respect to all of us, is we are just there to say, ‘Hello, welcome, today’s match is…’

“I’m just a journalist who wears make-up. I can look back fondly on 18 enjoyable years – a long time.

“It was a great experience, a great honour to be able to present the football.”

The Sunday Mail understands David was axed after the TV station decided to change their line-up.

Hayley McQueen, seen here in 2006, will replace him
(Image: Unknown)

Armchair fans were left stumped when he was replaced by Hayley, daughter of Scotland and Manchester United hero Gordon McQueen.

Pragmatic David seems far from bitter and revealed he has already had other job offers. But he rubbished reports he might be moving to BT Sport.

David said: “I don’t know where that came from.

“I only set up my Twitter account in the summer and I think someone saw I was following BT Sport and not Sky and jumped to conclusions.

“For the time being, I’m enjoying having a break from broadcasting but once the New Year comes in, I’ll start looking about.

“I’ve set up an events and hospitality company with Scott Gardiner, who was until recently the chief executive at Hearts. I’ve also been doing lecturing at Napier University so I’ve actually been really busy.

Tanner with Billy Connolly
(Image: Collect Unknown)

“There’s been some job offers but I’m not rushing into anything yet.”

The broadcaster first started out aged just 16 as a cub reporter for Radio Clyde and worked for STV before joining Sky Sports in 1999.

His final match was the Scottish Cup final, Celtic v Aberdeen.

David said: “For anybody who’s into football, to work in the sport is just unbelievable.

“My grandfather was blind but we would go to games all over the country and I was commentating for him from the age of 10.

“Sky was a great experience – 18 years, working in more than 30 countries.

“From exotic games like Real Madrid against Bayern Munich at the Bernabeu to downtown Minsk for a Belarus game.

“My favourite game was France v Scotland in 2007. Meeting Lionel Messi and getting him to sign my wee boy’s strip was also a highlight.

“Meeting Maradona was unbelievable. We were all set to do the interview and he walked out and said, ‘Going for a cigar’… and he never came back.

“I’ve interviewed Pele, Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer but Eusebio was great. He’d had about 15 bottles of wine and the only words I understood from that interview were, ‘Ahhhh, Scotland, Jimmy Baxter, Jimmy
Johnstone, Willie Henderson’.

“So I was really, really fortunate to get a chance to do all of that – but all good things come to an end.”