Richard Keys has compared Jeff Stelling’s situation with Sky Sports to his when he left the station in 2011.
Richard Keys left Sky Sports with Andy Gray in 2011 amid controversy over remarks made about assistant referee Sian Massey.
Keys has now questioned why Jeff Stelling hasn’t left his job as host of Soccer Saturday after three of his long-time colleagues had their contracts cancelled last month.
Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas were relieved of the duties by the broadcaster while it was confirmed that Stelling and Paul Merson would remain on Soccer Saturday.
Thanks for all the messages of support – and even for most of those who have a different view as I believe in free speech. So far no discussions have taken place, no decisions made. Only I know what I am thinking but it is important to listen to all arguments. Thanks again
— Jeff Stelling (@JeffStelling) August 28, 2020
In the days and weeks that followed, Stelling insisted that no discussions had taken place regarding his future but he insisted that only he knew his plans regarding his future with the broadcaster.
Stelling rejected suggestions that last weekend’s Carabao Cup programme represented an audition process for other potential pundits to join Sky Sports and he will be back on our screens next Saturday.
Don it was not an audition. This was a Carabao Cup show and like midweek specials we try out different people. I disagree about their performances though. As was always planned there will be a different panel next Sat
— Jeff Stelling (@JeffStelling) September 6, 2020
Keys questions Stelling
But over the weekend, Keys questioned why Stelling hadn’t yet resigned from Sky Sports.
Keys, who is currently the senior football anchor at beIN Sports, insisted that Soccer Saturday would survive without Stelling in the host’s seat.
“News out here is often hard to come by – does anyone know if @JeffStelling has resigned yet?” Keys tweeted.
“I did when Sky shafted my mate. It’s no good talking about it – you’ve simply got to do it. Soccer Saturday will survive – it’s in the hands of a top class Producer at last.”
“It’s a brilliant show. It’s been the best of its type for more than 20 years. But it was tired and very predictable when it ended it’s run last season. It needed shaking up,” Keys writes on his personal blog.
The former Sky Sports presenter goes on to suggest that it was also time for Stelling and Merson to move on.
“Sky have been heavily criticised for making changes – but I’d say they’ve come five years too late. Everything changes. It’s only natural. Thommo, Charlie and Le Tiss have done their bit – and in their pomp they were terrific.
“But it really was time to go time. My only surprise is that Sky didn’t change it all – Merse and Stelling included. Why not?”
Keys also dismissed suggestions that Stelling would step down as Soccer Saturday presenter.
“I have to admit to a little surprise that Jeff Stelling threw his toys out of the pram when the process of change started on Soccer Saturday,” he writes.
“He’s older than me. Jobs aren’t easy to come by in our business right now – let alone at our age. Resign? Don’t be so daft. That was never going to happen. And trust me Jeff, the programme will go on anyway.”
Keys also took a curious dig at Stelling, saying the Sky Sports presenter ‘had to come into line to keep his job’ when the pair worked together.
“Vic’s deputy, Andy Melvin, wanted me to host the show on an occasion when Stelling had taken more time off. Jeff had a habit of doing that a lot in those days.
“We didn’t holiday in the football season and he had to come into line to keep his job.”