Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Gray Keys

14:53 Hello all. I have come to the university library, with the aim of doing thesis research and meeting at least three different lecturers. Which is why I'm now going to do a blog entry about Richard Keys and Andy Gray - at least, I am, after I've gone and got some lunch. I am starving. "Brb!" as the kids would say...

15:15 Chicken baguette and Lucozade orange. "Brb!"

15:29 So, where we we? Ah yes.

By now I assume you've all read/heard about this - Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys and his cohort (and former footballer) Andy Gray were caught on tape, before a game they were broadcasting, saying derogatory things about a woman called Sian Massey who was an official that day. Since the initial stuff however there's been some more fuel added to the flames, with more comments from Gray and a dash from resident prick Andy Burton:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/8281056/Andy-Burton-dropped-by-Sky-Sports-over-Sian-Massey-conversation-with-Andy-Gray.html

I have mixed feelings about all of this, so let's tackle the initial comments first of all.

The Premier League is massive. It's awash with multi-millionaire players and managers, multi-billionaire chairmen, huge egos, huge clubs, huge stadiums and huge profits, all of which is nicely stirred together by Sky and all their power and money to create a monolith which has suppressed the rest of English football for 20 years. With this in mind, the idea that an official - in this case Sian Massey - would be chosen to run the line in a Premier League match without knowing the offside rule is worse than stupid. It's mindless, moronic nonsense which underlines just how much of a "big boys club" football still is, and it's a direct insult to her and her profession. Before I carry on however, BREAKING NEWS!

16:23 News come through that Andy Gray has been sacked. Blimey. More on that a bit later once I've had time to get my head around it.

Anyway, yes. The comments made by Keys and Gray absolutely stink - not just because of how unbelievably misguided they are, but because they are a representation of the prevailing attitudes that sadly still exist in football. Take homosexuality, for example. It's almost impossible to say how many homosexual men there are in England, but I think we can safely say that statistically, there should be at least 1 homosexual out of all the footballers who play in the Football League. Yet there isn't. Not a single openly gay footballer, and the only one I can think of who did "come out", Justin Fashanu, killed himself a few years later due to the prejudice that was destroying his life. There is no openly gay footballer currently in the Football League, presumably because they are terrified about how fellow players and fans would react. I don't blame them.

But the other comments that have surfaced today, from Gray and touchline reporter Andy Burton, I feel are different. You can see them in the link above, but the summary is essentially this:

Andy Burton: "Female linesman today, bit of a looker according to Steve the cameraman. He says she's alright...not sure I trust his judgement though."

Andy Gray: "No I wouldn't."

Crew Member: "Female assistant Andy - any good?"

Andy Gray: "Nah. I can see her from here."

As much as I hate Andy Burton (and I do) and as deplorable as Gray's previous comments were, I struggle to feel any anger or fury over this interchange whatsoever. In this instance, neither are attacking the woman in regards to her job, instead it's a general comment about attractiveness which 99% of blokes indulge in. I want to share with you all now a private conversation my friend Dan (Hi Dan! *waves*) and I had last night. I'm going to set it out just below here, in full, without any edit, and then I'll discuss it after:

Dan: "Pretty German girl in our class *swoons* i'd smash her wall etc"

Me: "Ask her if you can put your frankfurter in her Munich tunnel."

Dan: "Just made me snortlol on the bus. Not that the idea is laughable though. Not with me on the case"

Me: "It is laughable. More like a cocktail sausage isn't it?"

Dan: "Nein."

Me: "Nein mm? Sounds about right."

Ignore all the clich├ęd and stereotypical penis banter (a phrase I thought I'd never write) towards the end, and focus on the stuff at the beginning. Is that wrong? Is it wrong for Dan and I to make a few "Carry On" esque comments just for cheap laughs? I don't know - maybe it is, but I bet we're not the only blokes on the planet who say stuff like that in private. In fact, I know we're not - because Andy Gray and Andy Burton have displayed similar tendencies as shown above. As much as I hate Burton, I'm surprised he's been suspended, and almost feel a tad sorry for him.

Gray hasn't been suspended, he's been sacked, and since that breaking news we've since found out that his dismissal is the result not just re. Sian Massey, but also an incident last December involving colleague Charlotte Jackson.

Good. It's time football emerged from the dark ages, a time Andy Gray still dwells in. I believe Richard Keys will be going too, and again I fully endorse that decision. Get in James Richardson, or Mark Bolton, or Ben Shepherd, get in a young and enthusiastic co-commentator, and try and kick-start a new era for Sky Sports football coverage. Try and kick-start a less prejudiced game. It helps to start at the top.

18:25 Right, time to do some thesis research. Just after I go and get some dinner...