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Keano: I Thought I Was Strange

Roy Keane was famed for his rants whilst captain of Manchester United, from his criticisms of ‘prawn sandwich munchers’ at Old Trafford, to his bust up with Mick McCarthy at the World Cup, as well as the numerous occasions where he questioned the mentality of some of our players.

“The players gave it their all tonight but we are just not good enough and maybe it’s time to move on,” said Keane in 2001. “Maybe it’s the end of the road for this team.”

“There are a lot of cover-ups sometimes and players need to stand up and be counted,” he said a year later. “I’m not sure that happens a lot at this club. That’s the least we should do. We shouldn’t have to demand it from the players – they should be proud to play and give 100 per cent. We’re not asking for miracles.”

A couple of years later, he laid in to the younger players. “We have one or two young players who have done very little in the game,” he said. “They need to remember that and not slacken off. They need to remember just how lucky we all are to play for Manchester United and show that out on the pitch.”

His eventual departure from Manchester United came following his rant on MUTV, where he criticised the attitudes and ability of several players. “The younger players have been let down by some of the more experienced players,” he said in the interview that was never shown. “They are just not leading. 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.”

Well it’s good to see some things never change, as following the decision of several players at Sunderland not to take up options to play first team football for lower wages at other clubs, rather than sit in the stands in the North East, Keano has ripped in to modern day footballers.

I’m talking about players who are different animals to when I was a player. They’ve had opportunities to go to clubs, particularly on loan, and were reluctant to do it. Footballers are changing these days. Some don’t love the game as much as they should do. If you love football you want to play. It doesn’t annoy me but it’s a sad reflection on the people themselves. One or two have had opportunities in the last few weeks to go to very good clubs, at a very good level, just to get games. There’s no hidden agenda. They said no.

Footballers are a strange breed these days, trust me. I thought I was strange. In an ideal world you have to reduce the size of the squad, the wage bill. I have a chief executive, a chairman, owners of the club who constantly ask that. We can’t keep bringing players in on top of the ones we already have at the club. Some professionals have no intention of moving anywhere. There’s one or two of those at every club. They are going nowhere unless Real Madrid came in for them.

Love you, Roy!

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. nobobomo says:

    Knock knock.
    Who’s there?
    Roy Keane. No joke.

  2. Tom F says:

    When you think about the managers Roy has worked for you can see instantly where he gets it from. Times have changed more in the last 10 years than in the previous 30 years for football. Especially when it comes to money. There was a time when a record transfer fee was something you’d be amazed at, nowdays every player cost’s 20-30million. It’s a joke. Robbie Keane, £20m???

    I am glad somebody who’s still in the game and somebody who has people’s respect is still speaking out against these types of players.

    It’s similar with what Sir Alex said in his press conference:

    “Unselfishness is not the biggest crime to have in your life as a footballer,” he said. “It shows qualities of team ethic and that is terrific to see in this era of ‘need to be seen’. Just look how some players celebrate goals, the earrings they wear and the tattoos they have, it tells you the age we are in. It is refreshing that someone is prepared to sacrifice for the team effort. It’s only a small correction he has to make.”


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