football eamon dunphy

The Craziest On Air Commentary Gaffes!

Irish football fans have long-since insisted that their coverage of top-level football trumps the often anodyne punditry from its English counterparts.

While Phil Neville’s co-commentary for the England v Italy clash displayed all the enthusiasm of a dyslexic man reading every page of his motor insurance policy’s Terms & Conditions, over on RTE the legendary Eamon Dunphy was caught on-air swearing before being forced to issue a contrite apology. All while fellow analyst Didi Hamann played with his phone.

Dunphy’s on-air effing and blinding

Dunphy’s apology

Dunphy’s not the first pundit to be caught saying something he shouldn’t have on-air. Here’s some others.

Ron Atkinson
While Dunphy’s apology will probably keep him in a job, Ron Atkinson’s comments live on air during a 2004 match between Chelsea and Monaco were indefensible. As is often the case in these controversies Atkinson believed the microphones to be off-air when he made his inflammatory comments.

Underwhelmed by the performance of French defender Marcel Desailly the former Manchester United boss remarked that “he’s what is known in some schools as a fucking lazy thick n?%&er”. Following worldwide condemnation Atkinson immediately offered his resignation and hasn’t been heard on-air since. Despite insisting that he is not racist Big Ron caused another racism storm nine years later on Celebrity Big Brother when he asked a fellow contestant, wearing a garment similar to a hijab, “you’re not carrying a bomb with you, are you?”.

Andy Gray & Richard Keys
Andy Gray and Richard Keys were the stars of the Sky Sports commentary team from the launch of the Premier League era – the untouchables – that is until they launched into a sexist tirade against female official Sian Massey.

Their expletive-laden Massey attack included such pearls of wisdom as female officials “don’t know the offside rule” and, referring to her looks, Gray quipped “no I wouldn’t. I definitely wouldn’t. I can see her from here”. As further sexist footage emerged of the pair, including Gray’s crude gesture to co-host Charlotte Jackon, Gray was sacked and Keys forced to resign.

The pair were employed by Al Jazeera, possibly more accepting of their views, for a spell before Gray returned to British TV last year as a pundit for BT Sport. Almost immediately more footage emerged of their time together in Sky with Gray heard chanting at reporter Claire Tomlinson to “get her tits out for the lads”.

Other Gaffes
While Gray and Keys along with Atkinson are the most high-profile commentary gaffes there’s been numerous other instances of pundits putting their foot in their mouths. Here’s the best, or worst, of the rest:

– Rodney Marsh was sacked by Sky in 2007 for making a tasteless pun about the Asian tsunami. He joked that David Beckham turned down a move to Newcastle United due to the trouble caused by the Toon Army in Asia.

– Charming Newcastle boss Alan Pardew took time out from head-butting players to cause a storm on Match of the Day 2 last season. He remarked that Michael Essien “absolutely rapes him”, referring to a well-timed tackle by the Ghanaian midfielder.

– Finally, the much-criticised ITV presenter Adrian Chiles landed in hot water over a seemingly racist comment about upsetting Polish football fans. He quipped ”I’m trying to get some building work done at the moment, quite seriously. Be careful.”