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Blast From The Past: Arsenal Tunnel – Does Keane Want Bottler Vieira?

I’m starting to wonder if every time Sunderland and Arsenal play, Roy Keane will be interviewed on his feelings towards the Gunners when he was a Manchester United player.

There is no denying that the rivalry between these two clubs was something special, with both sides playing attractive football, both sides disliking the opposition’s players, and both sides fighting it out for the title. It was brilliant. The United vs Arsenal games weren’t just something the club’s fans looked forward to, but fans of all clubs up and down the country.

Our captain throughout the most heated times with Arsenal, Keane, has summed up those feelings well.

“They were great occasions against Arsenal,” he said. “It was a battle, the tensions between the two teams, between the managers, the two clubs — brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! By God, you looked forward to those games.”

The 2004-2005 season really spiced things up though. Yeh, there had been brawls on the pitch in the past, there had been controversial decisions, but nothing was comparable to the matches in this particular season.

Just one game short of getting their pleasing on the eye, 50 games unbeaten, United spoilt their party, beating them 2-0 at Old Trafford.

Arsenal fans have lots to say about the penalty decision, which saw United go 1-0 up, but are unsurprisingly quiet when you remind them they only had ONE shot on target all match and that United scored a second goal.

Still, far more embarrassing than any team ending their unbeaten run was the response of their players. Banter between the players and fans is enjoyable, but a line has to be drawn. That line comes along way before jumped up little kids decide to throw pizza at the most decorated and respected man in English football. I can only imagine what Sir Alex Ferguson was thinking when 17-year-old Cesc Fabregas decided the best way to respond to defeat was to throw a slice of pizza at our manager. What a total cunt. (No seriously, he really is a cunt)

It was only fair then that when we returned to Highbury, we’d try our hardest to humiliate them. No, we wouldn’t resort to classless food fights, we’d go out to embarrass them on the pitch.

Heart beat racing, United and Arsenal fans alike watched the players lining up in the tunnel, when suddenly a commotion broke out. An Irish accent, effin and blindin, can be heart clearly, as Graham Poll makes his way back up the tunnel to sort it out.

Next, Patrick Vieira starts barging down the tunnel, shepherded out by team mate Pascal Cygan. Dennis Bergkamp then comes to console Vieira, before Roy Keane makes another appearance. Leaning over Poll’s shoulder, he points to the Arsenal man, “I’ll fucking see you out there!”

Now this was a moment that still feels United fans with pride and excitement. Here was our captain giving it to Arsenal’s, showing him he had no fear, whilst Vieira sheepishly turned his back on Roy.

Out on the pitch, Keane, Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney all refused to shake hands with Vieira, whilst Gary Neville took hold of his hand firmly, staring at him, whilst Vieira again looked away.

How does Keano remember it all?

“It was just the battle, the tensions between the two teams, the two managers, the two clubs,” Keane said. “It was brilliant. Someone had a go at Gary Neville coming in from the warm-up and I thought it was out of order. I had to defend my team-mate. You don’t go around threatening people in the tunnel. You defend yourself, particularly away from home. You don’t win games in the tunnel, though. You might lose them. We still had to go out and win. I think we won 4-2.”

Oh he thinks we won it 4-2 does he? As much as I would love it to be genuine, that nonchalance doesn’t wash with me. Keane is a born winner and there’s no way he’d put a 4-2 scalp out of his mind, no matter how long it had been. In his autobiography, he recites moments in matches and scorelines from when he was just a kid, playing against his biggest rivals. He will know full well what the score was that night at Highbury.

It appeared as though United were in for a tough night, that Keane’s over-pouring emotions before kick off were going to cost us. Vieira put them 1-0 up with less than ten minutes played, looking as though he had won the mental battle Keane desperately had wanted to take charge of.

Ten minutes later, Ryan Giggs evened the score, and we knew we really had a game on our hands now. However, before half time, Denis Bergkamp put the home team 2-1 up.

However, less than ten minutes after the restart, 19-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo made it 2-2, before putting us in the lead 5 minutes later. Incredible! This excitement was short lived though, with Mikael Silvestre having one of his ‘moments’ and nutted Freddie Ljungberg. What the fuck? This moment was always funny in hindsight, thinking of Mr Calvin Klein shitting himself over his modelling career.

“He butted me on my nose, and it bled,” he said after the match. “I got really angry but tried to keep calm.”

Now that Silvestre is an Arsenal player, this event is even funnier.

Anyway, the best moment for comedy value is yet to come. There were 20 minutes left to play and we were down to 10 men. Ronaldo was sacrificed, with Wes Brown coming on to sure up our defence. After working so hard and playing so well, were we really about to blow it all now?

Oh no, certainly not if Johnny O’Shea could help it! Gabriel YSB Heinze bombed down the left wing, as Cesc Fabregas slid in with both feet, missing the player and the ball, and so gave up the fight, jogging back instead of busting a gut. Heinze played it infield to Louis Saha, but with four Arsenal men behind the ball, surely there was no need to get excited.

Saha played it back to Wayne Rooney, who played a defence splitting pass to John O’Shea. What the hell he was doing loitering outside the Arsenal penalty area, I’ll never know! He took his first touch with his right foot, before lobbing the goalkeeper with his left. His expression was as much of shock as anything else. Did I just do that?

The game finished and United were ecstatic. All their players’ promises of ‘getting revenge’ for us ending their unbeaten run amounted to nothing, after Patrick Vieira bottled it in the tunnel. He went on to have an average game, whilst Keane was a good shout for man of the match.

With Keane making a good start of his managerial career with Sunderland, his transfer policy can be summed up with the following: Irish player, ex-United players, and more recently, any player who has played in the Premiership before.

So, it means Patrick Vieira fits the bill, but would Keane ever want a player he quite clearly despised at one time playing for his team?

“He was going on and on about the charity work he was doing in Senegal,” Keane once said. “So I said to him “if you love Senegal so much, why don’t you fucking play for them? It makes me laugh, players going on about how they are saving this country and saving that country but when they have the opportunity to play…well, it’s probably none of my business.”

Have Keane’s feeling changed any since then, making him interested in signing Vieira?

“Not when I found out his wages!” Keane responded. “How great is he? I don’t know. I don’t go down that road. I just know he was a bloody good player. He had good leadership skills, too. But not as good as mine!”

I guess not…

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Holloway Harry says:

    The same bottler that won the title at your ground in ’02?

  2. Drew Vader says:

    Brilliant Scott…it takes me back.

    I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was watching it with a mate of mine who hates Ronaldo and always has, and I swear, although he is one of my best mates we were inches away from coming to blows. When Ronaldo got his second to put us 3-2 up, I hurt my shoulder I celebrated so hard. Fucking brilliant

  3. Scott the Red says:

    Harry – you Gunners don’t half get giddy about that eh? Cute.

    Vieira shit himself vs Keane and you got embarrassed at home because of it.

    If you want to compare stats though, looking at this year or the other, you’re right, Vieira won the title in 2002. He also won it in 98 and 04. Then we have Keane who won it in 94, 96, 97, 99, 2000, 2001 and 2003.

    I like this game. What next?

  4. Drew Vader says:

    No, I think he was referring to the same bottler who had a brilliant assist for Giggs in 99… prick.

  5. divedivedive says:

    Is that the game where rooney swore 102 times at the referee, and got away with it, like he has got away with that all through his career.

  6. Gazza says:

    paul scholes with the defence splitting pass to o’shea rather than rooney

  7. dvdpower21 says:

    I know Keane is a God to united fans but am I the only one sick of listening to Keane mouthing off week in week out about something else. I don’t think any of Fergies former players are good enough to succeed him.

  8. Drew Vader says:

    That must be why you lost…because Rooney had a dirty mouth…

  9. FailsworthDevil says:

    Vierra and Keano sharing a Prawn Sandwich… stranger things have happened… like a scousers house not getting robbed for over a week… or citeh actually got over 500 in the ground when the match is televised, or the geordies actually might get a manager that hasnt been out of the game for 50 years..

    I fuckin piss myself at some of these clubs inc sunderland citeh liverpool etc etc etc…

    Why dont Sunderland sign Bruce Forsyth as well…then when Keano and Vierra have an input at the end of the match… Bruce Forsyth can stick his old wrinkly chin into the equation “Good Game Good Game”.

    I dont care who Keano signs, he can only attract has beens or rejects and would just make me laugh at Vierra signing, someone who peaked at his game about 9 or 10 years ago…

    Lets av it said… Phil Neville did a job on Vierra on more than one occassion…

    That puts this into perspective..

    Sunderland Shite

    Arsenal Over Rated

    Scouse In Turmoil

    CIteh in the Blue Bubble that has more puncture repair kits done on it than a fuckin Tour De France riders bike.

    West Ham – thats the Bobby Moore statue going on ebay to try and raise £50 toward the £30million they owe Sheff United.

    Leeds Scum trying to entice fans to put money into the club by offering a free sheep to every fan purchasing a season ticket

    Tottenham – They got more chance of getting the manage to cook up a good Paella, than a good result.

    Bolton – I cannot forsee any “Reebok” classics happening there this season.

    Middlesborough – They sent the players on a course to distinguish that a football is a spheric object inflated by air, and in no circumstances is it the middle part of someones leg, and the rubber faced twat called Gareth Southgate as realised that he was a better Pizza advertiser than being any kind of manager…… but would be good at “Face Charades”… the knob rash.

    Fuck em all………… WE ARE UNITED !!

  10. Marko says:

    Another reason why United fans are so hated, everybody thinks you’re cunts. Thats not to say I do I’m just saying.

  11. Marko says:

    Also it’s funny you’d call Vieira a bottler I mean did you want him to punch Keane or what? I’m Irish so I don’t wanna sugar coat things but Roy Keane is and always be a scumbag. His whole career has nothing but dirt on it. His reaction to referees, his attitude to authority and for what he done to that Hagaland or whatever fella you know the guy he played for Man city. He’s scum thats all he is.

  12. Gunner77 says:

    Jesus why am I even commenting on this other than it coming up in my newsnow. Is a interview with Keane abut something that happened several years ago really worth the number of words you have written Scott?
    Keane, a true great may I aadd, was just commenting on how he enjoyed the intensity of games with Arsenal. Why would he not want Viera? Can you not show an iota of objectivity and at least have the decency to admit he whilst he played for us he was a great player and maybe still is? The idiocy of football fans never ceases to amaze me. Show some class.

  13. Drew Vader says:

    And Gooner fans are beloved all across the land eh Marko?

  14. Marko says:

    I’m naive but not stupid.

  15. Jonny says:

    So Vieira is a bottler because he didn’t respond to Roy Keane’s violent threats with in-kind violence and at least tried (admittedly he wasn’t magical on this occasion, despite scoring) to let his football do the talking?

  16. FailsworthDevil says:

    Shut up !! If you aint united… piss off somewhere else…

    United think Vierra is a bottler.

    What United think = CORRECT.

    End of… ta ta toodle do, adios, cheerio, ciao..

  17. Jonny says:

    Believe me, if I didn’t have these frequent Arsenal digs popping up on an arsenal news site, I wouldn’t be here. But every now and again I like to take a read and have a chuckle over the blinkered opinions I see here. You genuinely make me laugh. Thanks!

  18. FailsworthDevil says:

    Well we are genuinely happy for you Jonny bag.

  19. Jonny says:

    lololololololol. good one.

    do another one!

  20. TonyBee says:

    I heard that Viera went running to Arsole Wanker (I think I spelt it write) at half time during that game, crying saying ‘ Zat nasty irish man wants to kick me ca os i told Neville to stop kicking little Cesc’
    Arsole replied, ‘Oui Patrick, he does wanna keeck you, just kick him in the gauloises first’,
    ‘Fuck zat’, replied Viera, ‘ Ze nuttaire might get back up….
    ‘If he getsa back up, said Arsole, ‘ R

  21. TonyBee says:

    Supposed to finish with:

    Run like ze fucking wind as he will be even a more annoyed wiz you’.

  22. FailsworthDevil says:

    Ze Arsenal fanz wis alweez Chelzi or Spurzy fans in zee 80s ooh la la

  23. FailsworthDevil says:

    I facebooked ya mam….. ave it lol

  24. mo says:

    arsenal need to get off their high horses, amidst arsenal – united rivalry, arsenal only came out on top about three tiltles and 2 doubles to uniteds 10 and 2 european cups, three doubles and one treble!

  25. Gunner12 says:

    You missed a part mate

    “But the Gunners still finished above us and made us cry in the cup final”

  26. divedivedive says:

    Another bad decision today, from the same ref who didnt send scholes off at wigan, worst decision of last season. Last week a penalty that never was and today a blatant foull on the keeper “ignored” by your 12th man. No wonder people hate you.

  27. Kings says:

    This is a United site, so fuck off you Arsenal supporting cunts and any other fucking S.O.Bs who don’t support United. Vieira is a bottling cunt and Keane had the better of him that night. Even more pleasing was seeing Phil Neville winning the midfield battle against that twat at OT when we ended the 49 game unbeaten run, the same game where the Arsenal players wouldn’t exchange shirts after the game because they had 50 not out vests underneath their shirts – what an arrogant bunch of wankers. Fabregas is a disrespectful little cunt. Mr Calvin Klein homo: ‘I got really angry but tried to keep calm’. Wow what a hardman, a statement that would send a shiver down Mike Tysons spine.

  28. Musab says:

    Great article, Keano was one of those players that made United what it is today. Any chance of him taking over after Sir Alex?

  29. Kasun says:

    Might be wrong but wasnt it scholesy who made the pass to Sheasy?

  30. Drew Vader says:

    Since when is a foul to touch a keeper?? Get the fuck out of here, he fucked up and cried for a foul.

  31. Drew Vader says:

    and Palacios took a dive, looking to get Scholes a second yellow. It would have been bullshit to award him for cheating

  32. Drew Vader says:


  33. Kevin says:

    I hope those who doubted Wayne Rooney’s qualities and skill during the hard times he has faced lately realized how wrong they are. He was sensational today, as was Berba who looked classes above the Blackburn defenders. Ronaldo continued to improve and hopefully we can keep rolling and get some real momentum.

    As for the idea that the bump on the keeper was some how a foul is ridiculous to me. Certainly I am bias but I still have a standard that has to be meet. If the Blackburn keeper would have come out with force, command, and strength I think he would have gotten the call. Instead he came out weak and just fell flat on his ass and Wes got a head to it and knocked it in. Not only did the keeper not get fouled, but the defending on the post was horrible. If he had hugged the near post that ball bounces off and he clears away. To some how suggest that United got a break is suggesting you didn’t watch the game, and thinks goalies should be treated like toddlers.

    With that said I thought the ref could have done more to protect our players. I thought Blackburn looked to hit us after we released the ball. Berba, Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney, Giggs, and Anderson all had moments where they got caught late. But since he did let all that go, he couldn’t make the call for the bump on the keeper. Why do Arsenal fans read this forum?? I just don’t care about Arsenal so I don’t worry unless they are within 3 games of playing us.

  34. Wiggsman says:



  35. ManUtd10Titles says:

    We are such a different team when Wayne is in form. He was excellent today. This will be his season.

    I can always tell when we have a good game b/c Scotts reports are always posted later. Back to my pint…I’m celebrating too!!!

  36. raj k says:

    Great article Scott.
    Great comments FailsworthDevil and TonyBee. “Run like ze fucking wind as he will be even a more annoyed wiz you.” BRILLIANT!!! :)

  37. Tom F says:

    However, Keane says he was mystified by the rumours and admits any move to Wearside for Vieira would be unlikely.

    “I haven’t got a clue where it has come from. It’s not fair on the club or Patrick Vieira,” said Keane.

    He added: “He’s at a club, he is under contract and good luck to him. I am sure if you asked him, he has got no intentions of leaving Inter Milan or wherever he is at”.

    HAHA @ “or wherever he is at”

  38. Jonny says:

    Why would anyone want to leave Inter to work with an arrogant twat like Keane anyway…lets swap the Champions League for mid table crap….

  39. dvdpower21 says:

    Keane needs to stop buying ex team mates & people over the hill. I don’t think he’s got a proper scouting network.

  40. bossdem says:

    love him to bits!
    what a team we would have now with a young keane and scoles pulling the strings from the middle of the park?!

  41. divedivedive says:

    Nice to see the Legends of English football, the 18 and 5 famous Liverpool winning in Manchester in such style, Torres, the best striker in Europe, and such a fair player to, not a diver and loyal to his club. Ronaldo should try to follow his example.


    divedivedive go shove a wheel trim up ya rectum, which ya bought off one of ya scally mates…

    i facebooked your mam as well ..

  43. Stephen says:

    divedivedive, ooh you really told us.

  44. Stephen says:

    I will love it when Barca show some interest in Torres maybe not this year but soon, I am sure the lure of playing for them will be too much for him to refuse, especially as Liverpool again this year will fail to win the league.

  45. TheCantonas says:

    Torres LOYAL to his club?? LMAO!


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