Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

They've Gone to the Gallows but the Gruesome Twosome Will Take Some Replacing

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

They've Gone to the Gallows but the Gruesome Twosome Will Take Some Replacing

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

THE gallows speech is a great thing. We don't hear too many of them these days but the merest glance through the annals of history will show you some zingers.

Charles I was poetic: "I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible Crown; where no disturbance can be, no disturbance in the World." John Wayne Gacy waxed profane: "Kiss my ass".

Richard Keys this week gave the modern equivalent of the gallows speech: a pre-resignation mea culpa.

He rattled on for an hour of radio time, protesting his regret at the whole sexism furore and casting barbs at the "dark forces" of the media and, by inference, the Murdoch/News Corp hierarchy, which decided this week as a man that the curtain -- or rather the guillotine -- must now fall on Keys' long career at Sky Sports.

You got the unmistakeable sense as Keys gave that interview that he already knew he was a dead man. His mate, Andy Gray, had been taken out and shot. His masters had washed their hands of him. And the channel had moved on, without a second glance, promoting David Jones to Keys's place on Monday night, while making no mention of the gruesome twosome, and no on-air apology.

So now they're gone and Sky Sports enters a new phase. It has severed a cord with its past. The days of stripey blazers and the Sky Strikers are now consigned firmly to the compost heap of history, along with the embarrassing blatherings of the two men most closely associated with them.

How Sky replaces its two most prominent and bankable presenters will be closely scrutinised. Whatever you think of the way Keys and Gray left, they carried weight on the Sky Sports channels and their Super Sunday and Monday Night Football gigs will require reliable, proven faces to make them work.

There have been plenty of names bandied about in the last 48 hours. The one I have heard most is that of Jake Humphrey, the well-liked BBC man, who does the Formula One these days but has some previous with the Beeb's football coverage.

But my information is that Ben Shephard is the leading candidate for the job. He was paid decent money to come to the network; he is on a work-asdirected contract, which means that he can be used wherever his bosses like, and there is a feeling that he would work well as a double act with Jamie Redknapp, who ought to be the favourite to assume Andy Gray's old position. …

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