Graeme Souness was ‘SACKED’ by Sky Sports for ‘clumsy comment’, claims axed presenter Richard Keys | The Sun
FORMER Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys has claimed Graeme Souness was sacked by the channel for comments made at the start of the season.
Souness was slammed by England's Lionesses last August for calling football "a man's game" live on air after Chelsea drew 2-2 with Tottenham.
The 70-year-old held back tears during his Sky farewell appearance at the end of April after he was given a round of applause in the studio.
Sky Sports confirmed that they had mutually agreed with Souness that he would be stand down from his role as a pundit on the end of his contract after 15 years with the broadcaster.
Sky Sports posted a tribute video to Twitter of Souness over the years, thanking him for his time as a pundit.
But writing in his blog, disgraced former Sky host Keys claims to have spoken to a "Sky insider", and alleged the broadcaster chose to axe Souness following his comments following the Chelsea vs Spurs game.
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Keys said: "It turns out it was decided to dispense with Graeme’s services the moment he referred to football being a ‘man’s game’.
"Remember? He used that phrase after Chelsea’s 2-2 draw v Spurs in August. His comments caused a bit of a stir. He was clumsy in his phraseology. He didn’t mean harm, but you can’t say that anymore.
"Football is simply a game – enjoyed by everyone. And we should celebrate that.
"I think most people felt that Graeme had been clumsy and he’s a much loved character, so they were happy to give him the benefit of the doubt – but senior management at Sky certainly weren’t.
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"They decided that was it. He’d be out at the first opportunity."
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Keys comments come after, writing for the Daily Mail, Souness said he remains "open for business".
Souness originally said on Sky last August: "It’s a man’s game all of a sudden again."
He added: "Men at it, blow for blow, and the referee letting them get on with it."
Speaking about the end of his punditry career with Sky last month, Souness said: "I’m going to miss you guys, the guys behind the scenes, our makeup girl, I’ll miss you all.
"You know, for me, I decided that football management wasn’t for me anymore. I had the wrong temperament for it, the wrong personality.
"And then I was given the opportunity to do this and it’s been magnificent. It’s just been the most fantastic time for me, because I love football, I care about football and I worry about it going forward.
"But in Sky’s hands, it’s in good hands, safe hands, and I think over the years we’ve created a Premier League with great detail and I think we look after football very well."
Sky Sports director of football Gary Hughes paid tribute to Souness as he said: ‘We will miss Graeme’s no-nonsense approach in the studio – matched only by his playing style.”
Keys left Sky Sports in January 2011 after making derogatory comments about women.
Keys, 66, was caught on camera asking pundit Jamie Redknapp if he had slept with an ex by asking him, “Did you smash it?”.
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Co-presenter Andy Gray, 67, was fired after making sexist comments about a female assistant referee.
Sky Sports refused to comment on Keys' claims when approached by SunSport last night.
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