AS rival media unapologetically revel in the disintegrating careers of Andy Gray and Richard Keys, one phrase keeps cropping up more than any other – what goes around comes around.
It has long been common knowledge that these two gentlemen are not the most popular figures in British broadcasting (sports or otherwise) and their downfall is causing unalloyed pleasure in some circles. Both are said to have acquired the veneer of arrogance that often comes from too many years spent in a comfortable, well-paid job. Their dismissive attitude, especially with regard to those lower down the Sky food chain, has made them many enemies. And it is obvious from the leaked footage of their unguarded moments that someone has had their revenge.
Rachel Hayhoe-Flint, former England women’s cricket captain, and ever eager to be one of the lads, has dismissed their remarks about football official, Sian Massey, as “harmless banter”.
That is glib drivel. I know when men are ‘bantering’ about women. I ought to. I’ve done enough of it myself.
Indeed, I’m told women also do it about men and it amounts to the kind of flirty chit-chat that has been going on since the two sexes first noticed they were different.
What Gray and Keys indulged in was barbed and gratuitous criticism of someone simply because she happened to be a woman who had dared trespass into what they still regard as an exclusively male domain. That’s what made their behaviour so insulting to everyone who believes people should be judged on ability, irrespective of gender, religion, colour or sexuality. Sian Massey has not reached her level of pre-eminence as a football official at the remarkably tender age of 25 because she is a token woman. The Football Association is not renowned as a bastion of right-on political correctness – and it knows only too well that the sport at all levels is a bear-pit for referees and their assistants.
Those who make their way up the jagged pyramid have to display a level of knowledge, acuity, fitness and mental fortitude that marks them out from the crowd.
That’s why Sian Massey did not deserve such derision from the likes of Keys and Gray – both of whom have now gone the way of all dinosaurs.
ANYONE doubting the lack of respect Alan Johnson has for Ed Miliband had only to glance at their exchange of letters after the former shadow chancellor resigned.
All the usual platitudes were in evidence, but it was the style rather than the content which gave the game away. The only personal touch in Johnson’s letter was his signature – in which he still used his full name. Miliband, on the other hand, personally scrawled “Dear Alan,” on his reply, hand-wrote the date and signed himself “Ed”. I’m no graphologist – but I recognise cold contempt and pitiable ingratiation when I see it.