Joe’s Crow Country - Andy Gray and Richard Keys

AT first I was trying to give Andy Gray and Richard Keys the benefit of the doubt, but the more I think about it, the more their comments about linesman Sian Massey seem misogynistic and uneducated, and reflect the intolerable attitude of Sky presenters’ golf and social club.

AT first I was trying to give Andy Gray and Richard Keys the benefit of the doubt.

But the more I think about it, the more their comments about referee’s assistant Sian Massey seem misogynistic and uneducated, and reflect the intolerant attitude of Sky presenters’ golf and social club.

When I heard what had happened, I suspected it had been blown out of proportion.

Boys being boys I thought, cheeky misbehaving while there are no women around and adopting a mischievous blokey persona. Comments similar to “Shouldn’t you be doing the dishes, love,” “Stick to the washing-up” – that men snigger about to each other in private, but would never say in seriousness.


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But their tone suggested otherwise. There was no sniggering, no irony.

It sounds as though what was being said was their genuine opinion. This is why the situation reflects the still prevalent beliefs that women shouldn’t have a place in the game.

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The audacity of the comments is the most astounding thing.

In case you don’t know what was said, Richard Keys, the main presenter of Sky’s football coverage, suggested that someone should go and explain the offside law to Miss Massey, who was running the line for the Wolves v Liverpool game on Saturday.

Gray, the pundit, said that “women don’t know the offside rule,” before Keys had a pop at West Ham board member Karen Brady for complaining of sexism in the game.

Like I said, astounding audacity.

It is crazy of course, to suggest a woman is incapable of judging whether an attacker is beyond the second-last defender when the ball is played. And as this is true, wouldn’t it be better to introduce female referees too?

In the Premier League every week we see the likes of Wayne Rooney and John Terry shouting at male refs. Do you think they would be quite so aggressive when faced with a female?

As long as she’s good enough, wouldn’t this improve player discipline?

If this were introduced, women refs would undoubtedly be subjected to huge scrutiny until they proved themselves.

But why? As long as they go through the same training and exams as a male referee, and are thick-skinned enough to deal with the inevitable abuse that would come from fans, then this could improve the game.

Sky was quite right to pull Gray and Keys from covering the Bolton v Chelsea game on Monday night.

This calmed the situation somewhat, but the long-term future of the pair must surely now come into question.

They have shown themselves to be fixed-minded professionals, who have shown a lack of ability in dealing with the changing face of football. However, this isn’t the only reason the axe should fall.

They have been the personalities of live football coverage for almost 20 years, and are becoming stale and repetitive.

Keys must be running out of ways to jazz-up ‘Super’ Sunday matches, especially when it’s Blackburn versus West Brom.

And Gray has simply been repeating himself for years: “Take a bow son,” “you just don’t save those,” “the best league in the world.”

It’s hard to keep coming up with a fresh angle and Gray and Keys have exhausted them all, and become lazy at their jobs.

This, coupled with their comments, is why Sky is in need of younger, fresher presenters to inject some life into their coverage.

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