David Lister: My encounter with the charming Mr Keys

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The Independent Online

Hearing both footballers and football commentators off-screen can be a shock to the system. I was present at a charity dinner in 2009 at which the speakers were various Sky Sports figures including Richard Keys.

First up, though, was another Sky personality, the former football star Matt Le Tissier. His speech caused collective jaw-dropping. "I always enjoyed playing at White Hart Lane," he said, mentioning the ground of Tottenham Hotspur, whose Jewish fans make up a large proportion of its support. "It was the only place where I felt I didn't have a big nose."

He was followed by Richard Keys, who gave one of the most witless and sexist speeches I have heard. The main thrust concerned Tony Blair, not for some time the Prime Minister, so lacking topicality as well as taste.

Keys remarked that he had once glimpsed Cherie at a function. He grimaced, made noises of disgust and wondered aloud how on earth Blair could be attracted to her.

Thankfully, aside from the sound of communal cringeing, the room remained quiet. But it was a foretaste of the wit and wisdom of Keys and the need for some in-house training to bring Sky presenters into the 21st century.