"Stick it up your bollocks, Mick"
Over to Ian Walsh of the rather excellent Touchline Views, WHO IS A MAN UNITED FAN ALRIGHT SO DON'T EVEN START WITH US.
Before I begin, a little preamble. When I mooted the idea of choosing Roy Keane for this series it seemed to cause hysteria among a couple of Manchester United fans (the club I also support). But then, I’m not one to pander to the demands of others and have no shame or remorse in saying that Roy Keane is a dickhead of the highest order.
Never in my few short years of watching football has a player wound me up as much as Roy fucking Keane. Now, in everyday life, I consider myself to be a man with a level temper – it takes quite a lot to provoke me or rile me. However, at the very mention of Keane’s name I am filled to the brim with bile, mainly as a result of some choice actions during his playing career.
Bit by bit, Keane has fucked me off quite a lot over the years. Even now I can see that snarling face of his. Keane was a brilliant footballer on his day, no doubt, but when tempers frayed the ugly side of Keane emerged, the side that used to fuck me off.
Let’s leave aside the abuse of referees and some of the callous, cynical acts he committed on the pitch on a weekly basis. For me, there are three main reasons Roy Keane is a dickhead, each of which I will go through in detail below:
1. 2002 World Cup – Saipan
I am not only writing this as a Manchester United fan, but also as an Irishman, and some seem to forget that Keane divided us as a nation when he decided to walk out on his country in 2002 after a bitter row with Mick McCarthy. Here are just some of the many words he had for the coach:
"Mick, you're a liar... you're a fucking wanker. I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person. You're a fucking wanker and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your bollocks."
This, for me, is where my hatred began - of all the times to fall out with the hierarchy, don’t choose Ireland’s first World Cup since 1994. Who knows, with Keane there we might have gone further than being knocked out on penalties against Spain. And it isn’t even well executed. ‘Stick it up your bollocks’? Completely mindless. Fuck off.
2. Alf-Inge Haaland
The ugly side to Keane usually simmers away beneath the surface for a couple of weeks or months, but in this next case did so for four years – revenge was what he wanted against Alf-Inge Haaland, and revenge is what he got. We all know the tackle I’m talking about – it ended Haaland’s career. What a way to have your career ended – by a thug looking for revenge – a disgusting, despicable act. AFTER FOUR YEARS? Has Keane shown remorse for what he did? Has he hell. He takes a certain sense of pride in it all, as he wrote in his autobiography: “I'd waited long enough. I fucking hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you cunt. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries.”
What a monumental DICKHEAD.
3. Eventual departure from Manchester United
Keane was the master of his own downfall. Let it never be said that on Sir Alex Ferguson’s watch any one player is bigger than the club – Keane’s exit is testament to this.
When our team plays badly, we armchair pundits are quick to criticise certain individuals for the way they have performed – that is, after the manager has been in and torn strips off them first. No doubt there are plenty of disagreements within the team, too. Personally, I believe criticism of your own team-mates is something which should be done in private – what goes on in the dressing room stays in the dressing room, and all that.
An explosive interview with MUTV, in which Keane savaged his team-mates after a 4-1 defeat against Middlesbrough was seen as one of the final straws. Some of the quotes to emerge were: "I wasn't surprised by the result”, and "I had been expecting one like this”.
That was before he laid into the squad: "There is a shortage of characters in this team. It seems to be in this club that you have to play badly to be rewarded. Maybe that is what I should do when I come back. Play badly."
Rio Ferdinand was one to feel the full force of Keane’s words: "Just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar", while Darren Fletcher, John O’Shea, Kieran Richardson and Alan Smith were also criticised. For somebody who was meant to be a leader and club captain, Keane didn’t show much leadership. In fact, he showed completely the opposite, painting the picture that the club and dressing room were in disarray.
I could also mention his criticism of his own supporters: “Away from home, our fans are fantastic, I'd call them the hardcore fans. But at home they have a few drinks and probably the prawn sandwiches, and they don't realise what's going on out on the pitch.”
I don’t imagine this is going to go down particularly well with the staunch Manchester United fans, and those who were fans of Keane’s contribution to the club, which was immense. But, in short, from my point of view, throughout his career Roy Keane was a bully, a thug, and most pertinently, a dickhead. *braces for numerous attempts at career-ending tackles*
You can go in on Ian dreadfully late on Twitter.