Richard Keys Smashes Own Grave Live On talkSPORT

Ollie Irish

26th, January 2011


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, Chatty Man. At this point the Dark Forces chuckled darkly. He even referred to himself in the third-person. He was hating it but loving the attention at the same time, especially after all those years as the kid who would always get picked last for a kickabout, all those years having to listen to the likes of Souness, Gullit and Hoddle talk about the game and not being able to contribute anything meaningful to the conversation, apart from aping the sort of dressing-room “banter” that he imagines must go on. “Platty, I cut up your Armani tie, you muppet!”

Neither Hawksbee nor Jacob could get a word in. They didn’t need to. The penny dropped with a clang. Does this deluded buffoon think he is Mr Football? Does he think he’s in some way responsible for the success of the Premier League? Surely he can’t believe that there was no football before Sky? … By thunder, I think he does!

By this point, an hour in though it felt like fifteen minutes, you almost wanted to wrench the shovel from Keys’ once-hairy hands. That’s enough, Richard, this is just embarrassing now, for everyone… Almost.

What of Sian Massey, the “strong girl” collaterally damaged by this farce? Well Richard just wanted the nasty tabloids – you know, the ones owned by Rupert Murdoch, his boss – to leave the poor girl alone. Just as I’m sure Sian wished Richard and Andy had left her alone in the first place. Keys was proud to say he phoned Massey to apologise in person and that the pair even engaged in some “banter”. No, not the ‘B’ word, Rich. That’s what got you into this mess in the first place, the belief that saying vile things is merely ‘banter’ and everyone does it so what’s the big fuss, son?

Smart casual

One of Hawksbee and Jacobs asked if Keys would also have apologised to Massey if the off-air comments had not been leaked. Keys faltered for the first time, and in that brief silence you knew his answer. “‘Course not, son. Daft little girl, silly game, fuck off.” He dodged the question inexpertly but by now all was lost.

I was also amazed at Keys’ feeble grasp of the English language. For a broadcaster with so many hours under his Ciro Citterio belt, you might expect a basic level of articulacy. But, as was pointed out to me on Twitter – which glowed magnificently during Keys’ of his own suicide note – he is used to delivering hyperbolic nonsense from an autocue; so used to it in fact that he can hardly cobble together a coherent sentence of his own.

So an odious Coventry City fan with Eighties hair is now looking for a job (Keys resigned as I was writing this), hanging out the back of the job-centre queue (Hat tip: @david_livick) behind an odious Scot with no hair. It’s not big news, is it. Indeed, we’re all guilty of dousing this firestorm with petrol – I suspect spotty bloggers and vicious tweeters make up a large part of the imagined Dark Forces – but after so many years of being subjected to Keys & Gray’s 19th-hole bullshit, being guilty feels fucking good, like when you score a great goal or cancel your Sky Sports subscription. And if, as a nice side-effect, the demise of Messrs. Gray and Keys accelerates the demise of sexism in football, what’s not to like?

Posted in FAIL, Featured, Media, Opinion

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  1. vissy123 says:

    Brilliant read mate

  2. Guy says:

    Loved the piece Ollie. However, if Keys is Partridge, does that make Andy Gray Michael? Is Sian Massey Lynn? I don’t think the Partridge analogies should stop for any story.

  3. Ollie Irish says:

    @ Vissy – Thanks!

    @ Guy – I think Martin Tyler is definitely Lynn. Andy Gray would have to be Michael, yes. And Rupert Murdoch is Tony Hayers.

  4. Inno says:

    Future career as a gravedigger?

  5. Guy says:

    I like your thinking. Jamie Redknapp is Sonya I think, and I would say Ruud Gullit has the touch of the DANS about him. He has the looks of a swinger who would be willing to get Keys nervously involved.

  6. Ollie Irish says:

    Gullit is sex people, definitely.

  7. Jon says:

    Good to see what’s actually be going on these past few hours, saw on Barry Glendenning’s twitter that Keys was making an arse of himself, now I know.

    I hear he’s resigned now, no?

  8. I think the resignation was inevitable, it was in his body language in this mornings video:

    All the videos are on there: the question is, will there be any more leaked now?

  9. TownBlue says:

    Great read spot on! especially the comment about his 80’s haircut. ‘My daugher used to star in Hollyoaks…… back of the net’ quips Keys whilst working in his new role at some small time radio show, possibly in the Norwich region

  10. Chris says:

    Well, now I just unabashedly love you, flat out.

  11. Anonymous says:

    smooth read.mate what do you Think are the chances of the fantastic James Richardso.n being offered the gig.absolute gem of a broadcaster

  12. Chris says:

    Could not agree more with this article, absolutely superb. Nuff said.

  13. Richard (not Keys) says:

    Nice article.

    I especially liked the links on the right in the “Wags & Girls” section. “Guess the WAGs Arse” was my favourite. I thought it was another very liberal and fully PC article by one of your fellow contributors to this site.

    Double Standards?

  14. Jim says:

    I don’t like some or most of your work but this article is a very good read keep them coming.

  15. dld_ftw says:

    Great read and supremely well said. Thank you.

  16. Eric says:

    I tried to enjoy this article, but kept getting distracted by the ‘WAGS & Girlfriends’ pictures on the right, captioned ‘Guess The WAGS’S Arse!’.

    The amount of hypocrisy that’s been spouted over the last few days, over Keys and Gray is a joke. And I don’t even particularly like them, they’ve always annoyed me… but get a grip, seriously.

  17. K says:

    Nice piece, well written, succintly put.

  18. The Truth says:

    What a load of rubbish, jump on the band wagon like a good little stooge.

    Fucking hypocrites. As much as I dislike the two clods caught in the middle of this, the naked hypocrisy is more sickening.

    A blatant hachet job by sky but why point that out when you can get the plaudits from the baying crowd.

    How’s the great naked wag gallery by the way?

  19. Davy says:

    RICH? RICH? RICH? RICH?…….RICH? RICH? RICHARD?…oh he cant hear me…….RICH? RICH? oh I’ll catch up with him later…..Or not haha

    Love this article haha

  20. Mark says:

    “Ciro Citterio”.. jesus that’s a blast from the past, you’ve got a good memory for classy shops

  21. Steve says:

    Terrible article, which you have deliberately written to jump on a band wagon. You also write it as if you think nobody who reads it has bothered to listen to the interview – because your interpretation of what Keys is saying is so terribly misguided I have to question whether you have to pee in the bath tub.

    You know what’s ironic? This article is exactly the kind of way you probably talk with friends down the pub. Perhaps just like Keys and Gray should have kept their banter private – so should you.

  22. Davy says:


  23. vanbastensmilan says:

    The Truth and Steve, I completely agree, such an unashamed way to get a pat on the back from all the other over the top PC chimps, Ollie Irish probably watches more Loose Women than Sky Sports and as such has forgotten that since the dawn of time, men and women share a sense of friendly rivallry and (for want of a better word, banter) – short sighted. James Richardson for sure, excellent broadcaster, gazetta Italia was golden.

  24. Ollie Irish says:

    Ollie Irish definitely does not – and never has – watched Loose Women. Bloody hell, that’s almost enough to make me take legal action. Cheers, Ollie Irish.

    PS. No one who knows me would describe me as ‘laddish’. I have a woman’s touch.

  25. Davy says:

    Who gives a fuck if it is getting blown out of proportion its time for a change and I for one am looking forward to it :-)

  26. The Truth says:

    Change??!!! You’ll have Count Crotch-ula Redknapp licking up to all his ex-mates and some other closet freak presenting the shows.

    Frankly I couldn’t give a fuck who does it, I don’t watch it anyway. It’s the shameless bandwagonery and back patting that gets me. Not to mention the hypocrisy of it all, “How dare they comment on a woman’s appearance off air, now…let’s guess the wags arse…”


  27. Nick says:

    To be honest, I think most people don’t give two hoot(er)s about the sexism comments. A lot of people (several of them at Sky by the look of things) had just got sick of seeing Keys’ and Gray’s smug and grating commentary. The middle-class masses own the internet and, although Keys is probably right that his ‘prehistoric’ banter is still very prevalent in many circles (like the Man Utd dressing room apparently), it passed its sell-by date in the land of .com some years ago. This was an opportunity to get rid and ultimately the (Sky subscribers) world’s a better place for it.

  28. Chris says:

    In reading these comments I really wonder about the age and socio-economical levels of everyone who has found it important enough to make their views known (i.e. are angered enough by this post that they can’t resist responding).

  29. Chris says:

    Incidentally, I’m 41, not college educated, and I am pretty f**king poor. I don’t add my curiousity from a high horse but more from the shit below.

  30. urzz1871 says:

    An article that sums it all up nicely – even juxtapositioned next to the “Wags and Girls” pictures to send the irony meter into the red zone.

  31. andrew says:

    These folk should come see how it works in the construction industry we’d all be sacked, and nothing would get done (the women in my line of work are all highly regarded, but the do have to take banter, the give it back though!!) On another note is it not sexist there are no female Coaches or managers in the English leagues…. nope thats not sexist at all, and if there was one what would the reaction be…. Not defending Andy Gray (who coincidently is suing Murdoch at the moment though news international) or Keys but think its another way that sensorship is taking place through our media outlets. Their ideas are out dated but its opinion voiced off air, jesus people can get on there high horse, yes there cmment were wrong but really this was and irrelevant comment from irrelavent people. And before you look at the the but they are ‘role models’ angle not sure if abuse, rape (ok allegedly) and thuggary (GBH) of many of the prems players is a less of an offence, and yet they keep thier jobs….. no double standards cos these sexist pigs are fired! At least Keys showed loyalty to Gray by resigning. Not defending just saying… also they were both getting very smug!

  32. Luke says:

    I like Ciro Citterio actually

  33. […] you needed one more reason to not listen to TalkSport, here it is. Though there is a certain car-crash appeal about the prospect of the pair’s first week on the […]

  34. Trent says:

    I agree with Keys and Grey, Women shouldn’t ref football and men shouldn’t ref Netball.

  35. jonr says:

    What a superb article. Couldn’t agree with you more. Although I now find myself dipping in to their show purely for the car crash effect. Massive recruitment drive for, 5live one would imagine. Son. . .
    And now RK has started calling people son. Can you believe it.
    And they have won a SONY.

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