My late father wasn’t a big fan of Andy Gray. Being a rugby union fan from South Wales, dad had issues with Scottish sports commentators anyway but Gray got his back up so much that over the years he developed a special ‘impression’ of theÂ Fox Sky SportsÂ analyst that – more often than not – sounded like one of the characters from Rab C. Nesbitt in what might best be described as a ‘private moment.’
I’m sure my dad would have been highly amused to discover that his impression seems to have been closer to reality than either of us could have imagined: having been suspended from Sky Sports’ coverage of Monday night’s game at Bolton, Gray was sacked yesterdayÂ following further revelations concerning his off screen behaviour. Following even more leaked footage on Monday afternoon, Richard Keys’ future with Sky looks somewhat uncertain (update: Keys resigned from Sky Sports on Tuesday evening)
Gray’s departure fromÂ SkyÂ heralds the end of one era and the start of another. He spent the best part of the last two decades as part of the team that revolutionised the way that British football is televised, even though the model Sky adopted is instantly recognisable to followers of American sport. Gray was basically the ‘colour’ analyst to Martyn Tyler’s ‘play by play’ announcer: his arsenal of toys and gadgets seemed to increase every season and one of the jokes doing the rounds of the internet in the aftermath of his dismissal involves him trying to sell his ‘great big iPad’.
However…Gray is not the first TV sports analyst to get into trouble for offscreen behaviourÂ and despite all the cutting edge technology and multiple camera angles, there were obviously some old fashioned attitudes (to say the least) in Twickenham. These days high profile employees of large companies have certain standards to adhere to – including being circumspect about what they say on and off air, which is something I suspect that Jamie Redknapp is very conscious of.
What’s interesting about this particular case is that the leaked clips appear to have been an inside job, which makes me wonder if evidence of his behaviour was being collected beforehand – if that’s the case, then some of the rumours concerning the nature of Gray’s general conduct at work may haveÂ more credibility than usual.Â
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about – or are bored with it already – here are a couple of clips that pretty much sum up the whole thing…theÂ real thingÂ is somewhere between the two. If anyone from Sky Sports is reading this, I’d be happy to be considered for either role 😉