The Popstars are favourites to follow Steps and call it a day in 2002...

HEAR’SAY are tipped to follow STEPS as the next pop act to split up.

Bookmakers William Hill are offering odds of 6/4 that Hear’Say will split before December 31, 2002. The group, which is made up of the winning contenstants from the ‘Popstars’ TV show, recently suffered a sales slump when their rush released second album ‘Everybody’ failed to enter the Top 10 on its release.

Steps were long rumoured to be planning a split and the announcement yesterday (December 26) was not a major surprise. However, die-hard fans of the group have been posting angry messages on the Steps web site (www.stepsofficial.com) criticising earlier denials of a split. William Hill revealed that they had taken a number of bets on Steps splitting towards the end of this year.

William Hill believes Hear’Say will be the next big pop act to call it a day, but they are also offering odds of 5/2 on WESTLIFE, while S CLUB 7 are at 6/1 and THE TWEENIES have odds of 33/1.

The bookmaker is also offering odds of 20/1 on ROBBIE WILLIAMS retiring from the music industry by the end of 2002. Robbie is also William Hill’s 5/1 joint favourite with Westlife for next year’s Christmas Number One.