Gray on the brink after SECOND sexism blunder
Published 23:00 24/01/11 By Mark Jefferies
They've already had the yellow card – and last night it looked as if TV footie pundits Andy Gray and Richard Keys could end up getting a red.
The patronising pair were carpeted and given a one-match ban by Sky Sports bosses after being caught sniggering off-air about a female match official – and saying women can’t understand the offside rule.
But now there are calls for them to be axed altogether after new footage emerged showing Gray making yet more sexist comments about pony-tailed lineswoman Sian Massey, 25, in the run-up to Saturday’s Wolves-Liverpool Premiership clash.
In a latest clip released yesterday, Gray is heard discussing her with sports reporter Andy Burton on the pitch.
Burton says a cameraman has told him there is a female linesman who is “a looker” – but he isn’t sure whether to trust the cameraman’s judgement.
Gray says: “Nah, I wouldn’t, I definitely wouldn’t. I can see her from here.” Looking angry, he added: “F**k, what do women know about the offside rule?”
Gray was also recorded in an unbroadcast chat with Keys ahead of the same match.
Believing their microphones are off, Keys, 53, says of Sian: “Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.”
Former Scotland striker Gray, 55, replies: “Can you believe that? A female linesman. Women don’t know the offside rule.”
Keys says: “Of course they don’t. I can guarantee you there will be a big one today. Kenny (Liverpool manager Dalglish) will go potty. This isn’t the first time, is it? Didn’t we have one before? The games gone mad.”
Gray also verbally attacked Wendy Toms, who in the late 90s became the first female assistant ref in the Premier League, saying: “She was f****** hopeless as well.”
The leaked recordings caused outrage – and Gray and Keys were given a severe dressing down by Sky Sports bosses.
They were also suspended from covering last night’s Bolton-Chelsea game – a move exclusively revealed by our website mirrorfootball.co.uk.
Keys was replaced in the studio by David Jones, while Sam Allardyce stood in for Gray in the commentary box.
Sky branded Gray and Keys’ comments “totally unacceptable”. A source said: “They were given an almighty rollicking – and there is a feeling that they are becoming out of touch with the modern game.
“They have upset a lot of the crew by walking round as if they own the place and can do and say what they want.
“It looks like this could be the beginning of the end for both of them.” Apart from being sexist and patronising, the comments about Sian also proved to be WRONG.
It was her accurate split-second decision that allowed Liverpool’s first goal to stand, when many had thought at first glance that it was offside.
Yesterday some of the biggest names in the game stepped forward to slam Gray and Keys for their outdated views.
England skipper Rio Ferdinand dubbed them “pre-historic”. He said on Twitter: “I’m all for women refereeing – discrimination should not happen in our game.” And, referring to Sian’s crucial “not offside” call, he added: “Top decision.”
Liverpool boss Dalglish said: “I don’t have a problem with the gender of football officials. It doesn’t matter, man or woman, as they know the laws of the game.”
He admitted: “I didn’t even realise until the second half that there was a woman running the line.”
Dalglish’s daughter, Kelly Dalglish, a former presenter on Sky Sports News, joked on Twitter: “Phew.. am exhausted. Just read about something called ‘the offside rule’. Too much for my tiny brain. Must be damaged from nail polish fumes.”
Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, who is a qualified FA coach, described Gray and Keys as “particularly stupid”.
She stormed: “They spend too much time in their glass commentary box and not enough time in the real world.”
Sports minister Hugh Robertson said: “These comments are very disappointing at a time when we are trying to get more women participating in sport.”
Keys, thought to earn around £1million a year refused to answer the door of his Surrey home yesterday. But his sister Susan said: “I think it was a bit of banter.
“He is surrounded by women and has three sisters and a daughter. He has the greatest respect for women.”
Last night it was revealed Keys had phoned Sian to apologise. Her spokesman said: “She is a professional and just wants to move on.”
Gray, thought to be on a £1.3million salary, declined to comment.