27 Jan 2011

Will Sky Sports regret the departures of Gray and Keys?

You’d have to be living on the

27 Jan 2011

You’d have to be living on the moon to miss the furore caused by sexist comments made by Sky Sports’ Andy Gray and Richard Keys about female assistant referee, Sian Massey – but in the long run who will be the real losers?

Not only are the pair looking for alternative employment, but Sky Sports has arguably lost two personalities who were ‘part of the furniture’ having been immensely popular with millions of armchair football fans since the Premier League began in 1992.

It remains to be seen whether Sky Sports will rue its decision to dismiss Gray, which led to the inevitable resignation of Keys as the channel’s main anchorman. Perhaps they’ll be reinstated, but probably not, as you can’t help thinking there were deeper reasons for Gray’s sacking after the discovery of ‘further incriminating evidence’.

Both will be back I’m sure, but where? It’s hard to see that their careers will be damaged as badly as Ron Atkinson’s when he made racist comments off air about Chelsea’s Marcel Desailly, whilst commentating for ITV in 2004 – he’s now seemingly restricted to local radio phone in shows.

Little did Sian Massey know when she was warming up to officiate at the Wolves v Liverpool match that she’d be at the centre of so much controversy. So what does the future hold for her? She’ll certainly be subjected to a few light-hearted catcalls from the stands at her next game. However, being in the spotlight could actually elevate her career and boost the profile of women in football – we’ll wait and see.

With football fans divided as to whether the whole episode was harmless banter or not, it will be interesting to see whether Sky’s viewing figures are affected. I doubt it, as football fans are fickle creatures who’ll thank Gray and Keys for the memories and look forward to the next star signing.

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