Andy Gray and Richard Keys Smothered by Own Comfort Blanket
“Tis the only comfort of the miserable to have partners in their woes”
There are many gripes that people have with modern-day football. Ticket prices, wages, inflated egos. But the upside of the Premier League boom has been the inclusion of a far reaching audience. Different nationalities, different cultures, all age groups and both males and females have an avid interest in English football. They were not excluded before but Sky Sports’ much broader coverage enticed even more fans.
Andy Gray and Richard Keys have helped promote the top flight to the masses ever since the Premier League’s inception. So it was rather ironic yet sadly not surprising when the two men who helped front the game’s transformation into the all-encompassing behemoth it is today should continue to pedal such obsolete views.
It is not unexpected because the two have been cooped up in their snug Sky cocoon for way too long. They’ve forgotten that as huge TV personalities they are, whether we like to accept it or not, ambassadors for the game and ambassadors for the league.
For all the criticism Gray got he did combine, for the most part, the rare talent of combining passion with knowledge. Unlike many of his peers his research was excellent and he understood the game’s various nuances. Of course he had his detractors. Anyone who is afforded that much air time to talk about such an opinionated sport will enjoy their fair share of enemies.
But the views Gray expressed in the leaked videos are akin to something from a bygone era. Presumably years of testerone and ambling on golf courses have rendered his views archaic. Strip away the I-Pad and the high-tech pens and you can see a man still championing the old-pros “back in my day” way of life.
Keys belongs to an altogether different school. He has always come across as the smarmy, pompous schmoozer all too eager to pal up with the ex-players that sit alongside him each week. Sexism isn’t an inherent problem in football and Keys wouldn’t know because he is a broadcaster, not a former manager, not a former player. He has little idea of the internal chit-chat in the Old Trafford dressing room so to claim he does is rather foolish.
His actions on yesterday’s leaked tape say it all. With his feet perched carelessly on the table in front of him, he assumes he’s at home, free to say and do as he pleases, free from repercussions. What he said in that tape probably won’t be construed as sexist but it only further exacerbates him as the misinformed simpleton who craves recognition.
Even now, with the axe poised, Keys continues to pass the buck rather than wriggling free from the block. When the apology finally came it was more of an attack than an admission of guilt. Without a PR guru, the spin was stripped away and his true character was allowed to shine through, clearly to his own detriment.
It is rather ironic that the downfall of the duo has been instigated from inside in the form of the leaked videos. As the faces of the Premier League’s television coverage they seemed untouchable. Yet it is ultimately this comfort blanket which has eventually smothered them.