By Ollie Irish
It was a performance worthy of Alan Partridge at his lowest point, evoking classic lines such as “Have I got a second series?” and “Smell my cheese you mother!” At least there was no Castrol GTX bomber jacket.
In using talkSPORT’s Hawksbee & Jacob Show as a platform to tell his side of the story, Richard Keys needed only to keep the mantra “Say sorry, be humble, get the fuck out” at the forefront of his old-school mind. Instead he went in with the dial turned up to 11 (his default mode on your average Super Sunday, after all), ranting weirdly about “Dark Forces” and how some of his best friends are women. The sound of Keys digging his own grave – he got six feet down and then, incredibly, he kept on going – made for one-and-a-bit hours of utterly absorbing radio (apart from all the crap car insurance ads, naturally). How can this man be such a colossal sandwich and not even realise it, I wondered.
Nothing about Keys’ vainglorious attempt to save his skin said, “Here is a decent bloke who deserves a second chance”, right down to his misguided choice of a radio station which sells itself with the tagline “For men who love to talk sport”. He said sorry several times, of course, but it was never an unconditional apology. There was always a ‘but’ on the tip of his tongue, and lurking beneath every word you felt his red-hot sense of injustice, of being witch-hunted, of being caught in a firestorm when – the unfairness! – “footballers are just as sexist as me, if not worse; I only wanted to be best mates with Jamie Redknapp, your honour. If that’s a crime, lock me up.”
Keys then opted for – though that makes it sound like he had some control over his brain – the Big Ron “Some of my best players were black” defence, claiming to have helped kick-start the careers of several women, such as Kelly Cates (Kenny Dalglish’s daughter, nepotism fans!). Where was Kelly in Richard’s hour of need? Not in Richard’s corner. She was busy tweeting a sarcastic remark: “Just read about something called ‘the offside rule’. Too much for my tiny brain. Must be damaged from nail polish fumes.”
“Can I shock you? I like wine.”
Keys ploughed on self-importantly – “With success comes envy” – and (you couldn’t write this shit) compared his plight to that of Alan Carr,