Date:8th March 2013 at 3:39am
Written by:
Keano shares his thoughts on a stray pass with the usual calm understanding.

Keano shares his thoughts on a stray pass with the usual calm understanding.

Over the past few days it seems every United fans anger has been aimed at two men, one understandably was a certain Turkish gentleman and alleged Real Madrid fan who’s name is a near anagram of what most Reds think he is.

The second man who’s incurred every United’s fans anger is the most successful captain in the history of the club a man responsible for arguably the greatest individual performance by anyone in a Red shirt- Robson 84 is the ‘arguably’ part of that comment -and a man who without there would undoubtedly be one less Champions League trophy in the Old Trafford cabinet.

Just how has one comment by Roy Keane made him so hated by so many United fans, it’s almost as if his career for the Reds has been erased from memory such is the anger at his comments regarding the Nani sending off against Real Madrid. For those who are oblivious to what Keane said, while acting as a pundit for ITV the former midfield general noted:

“The referee has made the right call,

“It’s dangerous play, it’s a red card. He knows there are other footballers on the pitch and to be fair to the referee, he took a few minutes, spoke to his assistant and decided it was a red card.

“I don’t think the referee made the decision because he waited a couple of minutes while one of the players was getting treatment and I think it was the assistant that made the call. Whatever people are getting upset about it, but I think he made the right call.

“Any time I got sent off in my career, I always thought, ‘Did I give the referee a chance to send me off?’ If the answer is yes, then it is out of your hands. Everyone is upset about it and United are slightly unlucky to go out, but it’s dangerous play. Whether he meant it or not is irrelevant. It was dangerous play, red card.

“Whether the referee was brave or not, it was the right decision. Let’s not forget that Nani is quick to go down, he is not always the bravest boy.”

Keane’s comments even caused fellow pundit Gareth Southgate and presenter Adrian Chiles to act somewhat disbelievingly. not to mention Reds around the country watching his analysis to scream in disbelief at the telly.

Since then the interweb has been awash with United fans everywhere voicing their disgust with Keane, many labelling him ‘bitter’ ‘sad’ and ‘jealous’ while some have gone further noting ‘his days as a United legend are now over’.

United legend and MUTV presenter Paddy Crerand was one of Keane’s fiercest critics stating:

“Not one person said it was a red card except Roy. He was in a minority of one.

“Nobody else agrees with him.

“Why do we not talk about the 99.9 per cent of people who said it wasn’t a sending off?

“Why are we talking about Roy Keane — because he played for Manchester United?

“Well, let me tell you something, I played with Manchester United, I played in a European Cup final, Roy did not. The ref was wrong.”

Well I’m sorry and I realise this will anger a lot of Reds but I for one feel the criticism of Keane has been completely over the top and even bordering on the ridiculous. For starters lets look at what he said, he thought it was a red card.
I don’t for one minute agree with Roy Keane and am a little shocked he said it but the fact is I’m not that particularly bothered. Like 74,000 other fans I was at the game when the ref brandished the red card so had no idea what Keane or any other pundit had said until I left the ground by which time, his point along with anyone else’s seemed to pale into irrelevance as I stumbled back to my car – shell-shocked -not drunk I hasten to add.

When I did have time to digest Keane’s comments, yes I was disappointed and surprised but the more I thought about it the less angry I became, after all we all know just how forthright Keane can be, with his judgement and how he refuses to bow to the popular opinion.

This is a man who was basically sacked from Old Trafford for giving an interview to MUTV whereby he completely lambasted half the first team including a whole host of young players. This is a man who during the World Cup decided to tell his manager he was “a s*** player and a **** manager” who was also an “English c***” and he could “stick it up his b*******”
Before promptly flying home thereby missing out on his final chance to play in a World Cup. Let’s not forget the legendary rant he had about England’s players during the 2010 World Cup where he went through the entire side criticising practically every player and reminding the interviewer than almost none of them had enjoyed a good season.

Are we really that shocked that Keane speaks his mind? When he was the lone voice criticising Joe Hart for being too cocky did United fans disagree or label him ‘bitter’? No. He had a point and even though he may be wrong about the Nani sending off I simply don’t buy into the “he did it cos he’s bitter about being turfed from United” argument.

I met Roy Keane once when I was fourteen and me and a few mates bumped into him in Altrincham, Sharpe signed my match stub from the previous night’s West Ham game, Keano told us all to “f*** off” including my mate who had ‘Keane’ on the back of his black United shirt. I remember laughing and thinking it somehow was better than him actually being nice to us as it fitted with the reputation he was beginning to build at the club, or indeed football for that matter.

It was the same forcefulness which led Keane to chase Patrick Vieira down the tunnel at Highbury for having a go at Gary Neville, the same forcefulness that led him to snap Alf Inge Haaland in two at Old Trafford due to a grudge he held over him, the same forcefulness that made Keane produce a match winning performance in the Stadio Delle Alpi despite knowing he’d miss the final.

I can understand why people think Keane’s become a tad bitter, after all missing that 1999 final seems to have had an effect on him, Gary Neville notes in his book that the United skipper was never quite the same after ’99 becoming even angrier and expecting more from his team mates than was often reasonable.

I remember seeing Keane at the back of the bus in the 99 parade looking completely despondent, a mate and I shouted “Keano” from our vantage point – a road sign on Chester Road that brought us level with the bus- and the United skipper barely mustered a wave.

Crerand’s dig at Keane however for not having played in a final, was harsh and unnecessary as without the former Forest man, United would never have got near the Nou Camp in 1999 of that we can be sure- I felt Keane didn’t deserve such childish rebukes.

Keane’s refusal to attend any Sir Alex Ferguson celebration – 25 years, statue unveiling – shows a lack of class on his part and how he’s let his pride get in the way of basking in his legend at the club, but one silly night of commentating will never truly knock the magic hat off Keano for this fan.

For more Red views follow me on twitter @RFFH

Read more: