Ready for kick-off

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For two sports broadcasters who have spent the last 20 years working together, Andy Gray and Richard Keys disagree on a lot.

“When things are going wrong, I’m in my element. I’d rather things go wrong, than go well, because when they’re going wrong — it’s a test of your skill set,” Keys tells Arabian Business. “If you’re a goal down with five minutes to go, you’ve actually got to work a bit to get a result.”

Gray, shaking his head in disbelief, quips: “I’d rather be 5-0 up any day of the week.”

Over the last two decades the careers of both men have been inseparably intertwined. As presenters of Sky Sports’ English Premier League coverage, Gray and Keys were known to every football fan in Britain, achieving enormous popularity with their insightful, witty and animated approach to talking about the beautiful game. The duo followed this up with a successful stint at London radio station TalkSport, before this summer transplanting themselves to Qatar to head up Al Jazeera Sport’s schedule of live Premier League coverage across the Middle East and North Africa.

The on-air chemistry of Gray and Keys is consistently electric and this is perhaps down to — not despite — the fact that they are very different characters.

Veteran anchor Keys, who leisurely reclines into his sofa during our exclusive interview in Doha, is suave and unflappable. Former Scotland legend Gray, who in his heyday was a fearsome centre forward for clubs including Aston Villa and Everton, is by contrast boundlessly enthusiastic and excitable. What you can say about both though is that their football insight is unrivalled.

Keys and Gray say they are relishing the opportunity to recreate their famous partnership in the region.

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