The former Sky presenter Richard Keys is back in the spotlight for another alleged incident that has led to him taking legal action, more than a decade after he left British TV due to sexist remarks.
A certain subset of the internet’s football community now considers it required reading. On Monday afternoons, Richard Keys tweets a link to a new blog post on his website, and those posts always have multiple attempted drive-bys plus a hearty dosage of scandalous gossip.
The former Sky Sports anchor has recently taken aim at Arsenal and Steven Gerrard, while Rafa Benitez is never far from his crosshairs. Keys also has a good track record of forecasting what will happen during the game, such as identifying a manager who may be in difficulty.
Although he is on the other side of the world, it is clear that he is still in the loop and in touch with a wide variety of informed people thanks to his extensive network.
There is little debate that he is a forgotten presence for many fans who do not while away their time on the internet, while those of us in the UK are limited to whatever clips from his TV work at Bein Sport make it on to social media, on top of his recently relaunched podcast with Andy Gray that contains a similar ratio of potshots at all manner of people across the game.
Except for the odd story like the one that was released as a preview of Gabby Logan’s upcoming book over the weekend.
After claiming that the BBC hostess defamed him in an article she wrote about a discussion Logan says she overheard between Keys and Gray on the way to the 2005 Champions League final—when she was seven months pregnant with twins—Keys says he is considering filing a lawsuit against the hostess.
According to Logan, Keys once questioned Gray about his views on women who are pregnant. According to the book, the former Everton player replied: “I’m sorry, Richard, but I just don’t find them attractive. In fact, while she was carrying our children, I abstained from all sex with my wife.”
Logan continued by claiming that Keys then questioned Gray if it meant he “didn’t have sex,” to which Gray allegedly responded, “No, I didn’t say that, Richard.” Logan claimed the two “laughed their heads off at their little ‘comedy’ routine,” leaving her feeling “embarrassed.” Considering that “they each had children and wives of their own,” she called their conversation “cruel.” She later refers to the pair as “dinosaurs, ready to become extinct.”
To recap, let’s go back to Keys’ weblog. We all knew Logan would be in the spotlight this week, and Keys’ response—that she used the “sex sells” mentality during her brief tenure at Sky, a job he allegedly helped her land—proves it. Before sharing his own stories, he lamented, “How terrible that somebody I haven’t seen for 30 years — and for whom I went out of my way to help start their career — feels the need to take the cheap and inaccurate choice by disparaging me.”
On Saturday night, Keys responded to a fan on Twitter with the following message: “The story by Ms. Gabby Logan appeared in The Mail on Sunday. Ms. Logan has made several completely false accusations about me in an attempt to destroy my reputation. I have consulted with legal counsel about filing a libel suit on this matter.”
Since the serialization was released online, Gray has been silent.
Whether or if such measures are used is unknown, but there can be little doubt about who wins in the court of public opinion. Despite efforts to tarnish her reputation, Logan is widely adored across the country; the book also discusses unproven allegations that she was having an affair with Alan Shearer.
In contrast, ever since Keys and Gray singled out Sian Massey in January 2011 for having the audacity to be a girl in football, they have been treated as personae non gratae by the major broadcasters in the UK.
The misogyny needs no further explanation, but Sky’s reaction to the incident was immediate and illuminating. This is why Keys’ weak justification for not comprehending his state of mind is so egregious. He famously said to TalkSport, who hired both of them a few weeks later, “It was primordial banter,” adding that if all the off-camera comments were made public, nobody would have a job in television. (It should be noted that Keys personally called Massey to apologize several years later.)
Before Keys relocated to Doha as Al Jazeera’s host and Gray became the network’s senior pundit, he also helped launch the Frank Warren–backed Box Nation channel. From that point on, the two became the primary figures at BeIn, surrounded by a changing cast of famous alums and former coaches.
The many rumors surrounding Keys’ private life are also difficult to ignore. The most prominent of them is the rumored infidelity of Keys and his wife to a friend of his daughter’s, which made headlines in 2018. Several others, including Keys’s ex-wife Julia and daughter Jemma, dispute Keys’s version of events.
Most viewers will think of those types of stories.
While Richard Keys’ credentials as a Proper Football Man are unquestionable, he has continually been tripped up by the “other stuff” for over a decade, which may explain why, despite the quality of the information they provide, Keys’ weekly blog posts have attracted little more than a cult audience.
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