Tag Archives: Andy Gray

#oneaday 19: Has the iPhone made the world even more politically correct?

As an update to my previous post from this morning, the news has now broken that Sky Sports presenter and former footballer, Andy Gray has been sacked, because of new evidence of further  unacceptable behaviour. This feels a little harsh and it will be interesting to see what will happen to his co-miscreant. Richard Keys, who by all accounts has made an apology to the referee’s assistant, Sian Massey. His fate is not yet declared as far as I can see.

There are 2 main issues here as far as I am concerned:-

1) When is a conversation private and when is it in the public domain?

2) Have Sky Sports acted against Mr Gray for any other reason than his outburst at the weekend?

The answer to 1) is pretty straight forward. In this world where news is 24/7 and there is a positive need to fill the channels, demand for ‘news’ has  never been higher. Therefore even tittle tattle becomes news, not that Gray and Keys’s outburst is tittle tattle, far from it. They should not have said what they said, but no more is there such a thing as ‘privacy’. With mobile recording devices, telephones, cameras and cables into newsrooms, all vital tools to the journalist, now all packed into an iPhone or a Blackberry, everything you say or do can be recorded and transmitted almost in real time. Thus people in the public eye or positions of responsibility, and there are many of them, will either have to ‘clip’ everything they say, or simply become bland and opinionless.  Do we really want people in the public eye to be briefed so tightly that nothing of any interest ever comes out of their mouths? Don’t answer that, plenty of the output from people in the public eye is utter nonsense and of no material interest, but you get where I am coming from.  Or we enter a new and arguably more exciting time, one where no one cares what they say, political correctness goes out of the window and we become a society of the median and the extreme.  Think Boris Johnson, who, whether you like him or not, really does not care what he says, or more accurately what his brief tells him. Boris tells it as it is, right or wrong and maybe, just maybe that will be a way forward, provided of course it is not too extreme, profane or offensive. Try defining that.   

Question 2) is more difficult to answer. Indeed, we will never know if Andy Gray’s legal case against News International, the owner of The News of the World and the 39% owner of Sky Sports, over the phone hacking scandal has influenced the decision. But Rupert Murdoch has flown into town to have top level meetings with his senior lieutenants over the troubled bid to buy the remaining shares at BSkyB and deal with the phone hacking meltdown.   You do have to wonder if Mr Murdoch has taken a personal interest in the small chinks that have been exposed in his empire, and Mr Gray is a ‘meaningful gesture’? We really will never know.

You could argue that a fully connected mobile devices, such as an iPhone and Blackberries, have done more to accelerate political correctness than any government enforced initiative or law ever has. There’s a thought and an unintended consequence, if ever I saw one.

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#oneaday 18: Is Football Sexy?

So the ‘likely lads’ who are employed by Sky Sports to present the coverage of Premier League football, you know the one with the ‘Odd Bod’ hairy hands and the one who needs subtitles south of the border, well they have gone off piste and cast aspertions over the female race’s right to be involved in any aspects of the professional game.

What utter chumps Keys and Gray are. I am really not bothered at all what they think or indeed what they say, but I am bothered that these chauvanistic clowns hold down such high profile jobs. Andy Gray used to be a formidable centre forward with Aston Villa and Everton, amongst others and put his head, face and mouth where the action was. This time round Andy probably would have been better off if he had taken a kick in the mouth rather than coating off the female linesman. Keys on the other hand, hairy or otherwise,  is a professional commentator/presenter who thinks he is a celebrity and as such exudes hubris where ever he goes, trouble is his hubris is stuck  in the 1970s. 

This is not the first time that Keys has been on the end of controversy. Roy Keane, no stranger to controversy himself, said “I was asked last week by ITV to do the Celtic game,” he said. “A couple of weeks before that I wasasked to do the United game against Celtic at Old Trafford. I think I’ve done it once for Sky. Never again. I’d rather go to the dentist. You’re sitting there with people like Richard Keys and they’re trying to sell something that’s not there”. I think Roy rumbled Richard, not for the first time.

Keys is also much liked in Scotland where he was caught off camera being ‘candid’ about a Euro 2008 qualifying game in the Faroe Islands, you can see this below.

Ultimately these 2 have been found out, off air admittedly, but have blotted their copybooks in the eyes of most of the population. I say most, as some wags will no doubt have found the whole thing ‘exaggerated and blown out of all proportion’. No matter what they think of Karren Brady, vice chair at West Ham,  they managed to work her into their impromptu routine, not for showing poor leadership over the handling of the Avram Grant/Martin O’Neil fiasco, but for mentioning that sexism is still rife in the game.  ‘Yeah right, get over it lads, she’s a bit brighter than you’.

Keys reminds me of a straight version of a less witty Alan Patridge. Banal, amateur and fawning, he continues to blunder through, seemingly thinking that he is something rather special.

Thinking about it, these two could recreate the completely brilliant  ‘The Likely Lads’  and the follow up  ‘Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads?’ . After all ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Ashes to Ashes’ were huge successes and featured sexist humour and prejudice, all be it with brilliant script writing and acting. The ‘Likely Lads’ centred on two mates Terry (James Bolam) and Bob (Rodney Bewes) rooted in Newcastle in  the 60’s and 70’s. Their humour was ‘of the time’ but it was deliberate and still stands up today. That is because it balanced humour with irony, wit with pathos. If Gray and Keys, or rather their agents pick up the phone and  ring Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (the creators of ‘The likely Lads’ who also went on to write Auf Wiedersen Pet & Porridge) and were to ask them to script them both in a 1970’s themed football comedy, they may find a ready made retro  audience. It could be  set in a TV broadcasting studio, where the two main characters play out their lives and the issues of the day  in front and behind the cameras.  They give an insight ‘into the game’ and the audience can laugh with them and at them. Everyone would be happy, because it isn’t real life! Have a look at this, imagine Keys and Gray in the roles and you may get where I am coming from.  Meantime, they have been given a yellow card, and both are lucky to stay on the pitch. Next time it will be red, and thereafter lies life on Channel 5.

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