The Honesty of Roy Keane: An Appreciation

Love him or hate him, the pundit's honesty makes for exciting viewing

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After Manchester United's dire 2-0 away defeat to Olympiakos last night, ITV's presenter Adrian Chiles could barely contain his excitement, gesticulating wildly as he machine-gunned questions at the panel about how the English champions could have fallen so low.

Roy Keane didn't flicker, retaining his trademark dead-eyed gaze throughout, the look of a man who's just arrived on the scene to find his car being clamped.

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"I think we've been brainwashed by the idea that the Premier League is the best league in the world. Nonsense," spat Keane with barely disguised disgust.

 

"It's the best brand, but we've seen over the last few weeks with a lot of the English teams struggling that these teams have fallen behind the top teams in Europe, and United in particular."

Whatever your view on Keane, it's refreshing to hear a pundit daring to question this league we are constantly congratulating ourselves on.

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In the cosy world of mainstream punditry where there's only time for platitudes and kneejerk responses, here is a man prepared to openly discredit the very product his employers are indirectly trying to sell. No wonder his collegues on the panel appear uncomfortable - they have as much idea of where Keane is going next as we do.

It's the latest piece of Keane honesty that has finally made ITV football worth watching.

Roy Keane's Honesty Highlights:

ON PUNDITS:
“Will those on telly yesterday be remembered for what they’ve achieved? None whatsoever. I wouldn’t trust them to walk my dog. There are ex-players and ex-referees being given air-time who I wouldn’t listen to in a pub.”

ON GARY NEVILLE'S FIGHT WITH PATRICK VIEIRA:
"Maybe Gary deserves to be chased up a tunnel every now and then – there would be a queue for him, probably. But you have to draw a line eventually.”

TO REPUBLIC OF IRELAND MANAGER MICK McCARTHY:
"Who do you think you are having meetings about me? You were a crap player and you are a crap manager. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country and you're not even Irish you English c***!"

ON FOOTBALLERS' WIVES:
“Priorities have changed in football and [players] are being dictated to by their wives.” 
“If they don’t want to come because their wife wants to go shopping in London, it’s a sad state of affairs. To me, that player is weak because his wife runs his life.”

ON THAT TACKLE ON HAALAND:
“Even in the dressing room afterwards, I had no remorse. My attitude was, fuck him. What goes around comes around. He got his just rewards. He fucked me over and my attitude is an eye for an eye.”

TO MANAGER JACK CHARLTON (after being reprimanded for being late for the team bus):
“I didn’t ask you to wait, did I?”

ALSO ON ESQUIRE:
Read The Many Faces of Roy Keane