BBC Radio 4, 6 November 2009
Writer Michael McLean has certainly had his moneysworth out of this mid-1960s
football scandal, when three players Tony Kay (Mickey North), Peter Swan (Karl Prekopp) and 'Bronco' Layne (Carl Davies) were
sent to prison for placing bets on the outcome of a game in which they were involved. The affair formed the basis for a mid-90s
television drama The Fix. directed by Paul Greengrass.
The Tony Kay Scandal retold the story from Kay's perspective. He was the
best-known of the three footballers. an England international who would most likely have figured in the 1966 World Cup, if
he had kept out of trouble. McLean's interpretation was a familiar one - the tale of an innocent corrupted by the prospect
of quick riches offered by Jimmy Gauld (Ross Sutherland). When Kay received payment, he discovered that it was chicken-feed
compared to the vast signing-on fee he obtained while moving from Sheffield Wednesday to Everton. Following his imprisonment.
Kay's career rapidly declined; the FA placed a ten-year ban on him, later commuted to seven years, and he drifted into the
amateur ranks. Thereafter he fell on hard times as he tried to failed to eke out a living away from the one vocation he wanted
to pursue - playing football.
This play was livened up by extracts from an interview with Kay himself, recorded
earlier on this year. Despite regretting what he had done, he believed with some justification that his crime was insignificant
compared with the large-scale corruption corrently dominating the sports pages (up to 200 matches could have been fixed in
Europe alone). However in the mid-1960s, not long after the abolition of the footballers' minimum wage in England, to make
bets on results was unheard of.
Kay's offence has been long forgotten; he was recently elected to Everton's Hall
of Fame, and returned to Goodison Park to a hero's welcome - not for what he had done on the pitch\ but for what he had promised
during his short career. The director was Martin Jenkins.