The Badger: Empire Strikes Back

In the Badger’s second Star Wars-themed column, the Rupert Murdoch empire strikes back and sacks Andy Gray and Richard Keys Opening CrawlA short time ago, in a country not so far away...It is a good time for female activists everywhere. The powerful “dark forces” at work in the Rupert Murdoch empire have sacked Andy Gray and his life partner Richard Keys has gracefully followed him out the door.It is a true shame for football that this dynamic duo have had their relationship with Ford Super Sunday football fans cut short just as the Premier League title race became a one-horse race. Manchester United have only started to build a points gap between themselves and the other top-20 sides in the league, and football fans are now expected to cope without analysis from Keys and Gray on this pulsating title race.These two noble steeds have guided us through football since the sport was invented by Sky in 1992. Imagine, without Andy Gray we wouldn’t have the classic lines such as: “Take a bow son”, “oh you beauty”, “if you stand off this fella, he’ll kill you” and “there are a lot of tired legs wearing Tottenham shirts”.Keys’ parting comments should resonate with all us football fans to get a grip. “The World has gone mad,” according to the former Sky Sports womaniser, and that it has. It is a mad world where these two pioneers of football are forced out of the sport, and the Badger is ashamed to be associated with football at this time. That’s not to say he hasn’t faxed his CV to BSkyB. FinesIt appears to be the case that no one can put a foot wrong in this ball game anymore without being maligned, reprimanded or sacked. What has caught the Badger’s eye lately has been the flurry of ridiculous fines that have been dished out by authoritative bodies looking to oppress the man.Recently it seems to be those that embody what the Badger loves about the game that have gotten the shitty end of the stick. Blackpool have been fined £25,000 for fielding a team of eleven Premier League-registered footballers against Aston Villa in November, while Lionel Messi received a yellow card and was ordered to pay €3,000 for saying happy birthday to his mother after he scored for Barcelona against Racing Santander. Transfer SeasonBy the time you’ve scanning the Badger’s column, football will be just be over the hype of the frenzy that is the Winter transfer window. All of the procrastination from football clubs over the past month had accumulated into hysteria as everyone tried to force through that deadline day deal.This madness that surrounds football is a pet favourite of the Badger. He loves to gossip and speculate, more so about his friends or enemies, but the careers of footballers will do.As is the status quo, Sky Sports jumped on this bandwagon and milked it dry (yes, milked a bandwagon dry). They pulled out all the stops this year to make sure they have every aspect of it covered. No stone was left unturned and no Harry Redknapp phone call untapped.Sky Sports’ biggest feat this year was actually finding the winter transfer window in its physical form. Bryan Swanson was entrusted to manage the transfer window for the last month and has done an outstanding job. Watching him touch the transfer window and drag Luis Suarez’s mug shot across the screen with flashing speculation bars was the insight we all needed into the turmoil that goes on behind the glass.After seeing the madness associated with the transfer window personified, the Badger has suddenly realised what he wants for Christmas 2011.Andy Gray and Richard Keys Gluais:Banter together – Explaining the offside rule to a womanOh you beauty – I don’t respect you as a work colleague because you’re femaleDark Forces – Fem-Net IrelandTake a bow son – You’d give Karen Brady a goCan you tuck this down here for me? – Let’s have office sex