Sky’s Richard Keys falls on his sword – or was he skewered by ‘dark forces?’

Well he certainly thinks so, as this interview with TalkSport radio makes clear.

There certainly has been something funny going on at Sky, Keys now resigning and fellow presenter Andy Gray being fired for, frankly, not very much.

The smoking gun is very firmly in the hand of newish Sky Sports boss Barney Francis who made his reputation building up the station’s excellent cricket coverage.

Which makes you think a bit. Cricketers are every bit as rough and ready as footballers and some members of Sky’s copious cricket panel, including Sir Ian Botham, are hardly renowned for their feminine side.

So are these the ‘dark forces’ Keys referred to? In other words a plot to get rid of him and Gray?

The affair surely calls for a thorough investigation by the rest of Sky’s management. This would be a good test for CEO Jeremy Darroch, who’s had little to do so far at Sky apart from count the money, and senior non-executive (and former Martian) Allan Leighton, who was a director of Leeds United when the club imploded over ambitions it couldn’t afford.

Sky’s 39 per cent owner News Corporation is currently mired in all sorts of controversies including News of the World phone hacking (where it will take a big hit, the only question is how big?) and its bid for the rest of Sky it doesn’t own.

Coalition government culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is currently making a right Hunt of himself by not referring the bid to the Competition Commission.

So what should Sky do?

Admit it’s screwed up and make friends with Gray and Keys. It won’t happen of course.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.