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10 quotes that prove Roy Keane is as old school as they come

Roy Keane has made a name for himself as a pundit who does not hold back
Roy Keane has made a name for himself as a pundit who does not hold back
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Akshay Pai T

Over a stellar 17-year playing career, Roy Keane proved himself to be one of the finest midfielders on the planet. What made Keane stand head-and-shoulders above his peers, and which few can claim to match today, was his trademark aggression. The concept of "half-measures" did not exist in his world.

There was never a scenario where the Irishman would not go for a full-blooded tackle. He relished leaving his mark, pun intended, on his opponent. It was what made for those titanic battles between Manchester United and Arsenal in the early 2000s.

In Patrick Vieira, now in the dugout with Crystal Palace, Keane found an opponent that matched his zeal; his never-say-die attitude on the field, and his unapologetic approach of "taking no prisoners."

While the days of being on the pitch are now long behind him - Keane's last, fully-fledged managerial gig came with Ipswich Town in 2011 - he has built quite the reputation as a pundit on Sky Sports.

When viewers tune in to watch Keane, they know they will get the same uncompromising, unfiltered approach that won him so many admirers back in his playing days. Does he play it up for the camera sometimes? Sure. But you know that most of the time, the 50-year-old is saying it as he sees it.

As you can imagine, it has led to quite a few juicy soundbites, with Tottenham in particular catching quite a bit of flak.

Without further ado, here's our curation of what we think are 10 of Keane's most hard-hitting but entertaining quotes that prove he's proper old-school.

#10 - That time he gave Tottenham 0 respect

"That's in Tottenham's DNA, they will constantly disappoint you. The table doesn't lie, ninth, that's where they deserve to be."

This scathing assessment came after Jose Mourinho's side failed to register even a single shot on target against a Bournemouth hurtling towards relegation. It all but ended their hopes for Champions League qualification in the Portuguese's first season in charge.

#9 - This one highlights his sense of gallows humor

"On a night we got beaten in the cup by Luton, the staff came in and said, ‘Clive Clarke has had a heart attack at Leicester’.”I said, ‘Is he OK? I’m shocked they found one, you could never tell by the way he plays’."

Keane managed Clarke during his spell in charge of Sunderland between 2006 and 2008 but was not impressed by the Irish left-back. In the games he featured, Sunderland often found themselves on the receiving end of shellackings.

The former Manchester United midfielder quickly decided he was not up to par and shipped him off to Coventry and then Leicester, where he suffered a heart attack.

#8 - On Sir Alex Ferguson

Roy Keane ,who played under SAF for 12 years, is calling Pep Guardiola the greatest manager of all time 🤐…..‘If I had to pick one team to watch it would be Man City’ https://t.co/GIRgiJr65H
"People said [Ferguson] always had the best interests of Manchester United at heart. Darren Ferguson [his son] won a medal. He was very lucky.
"[Alex Ferguson’s] brother was the chief scout for Manchester United for a long time. I’m surprised his wife wasn’t involved in the staff somewhere."

While playing under Ferguson made Keane into the marauding midfield force and the title-winning captain he would become, the pair's relationship was always rocky. They famously fell out in the 2005/06 season after ever-increasing tensions behind the scenes and Keane left abruptly in November 2005.

Once touted as the future Manchester United manager by Ferguson himself, Keane now finds himself on the outside looking in. Since then, he's gleefully taken every opportunity to re-open his feud with the Scotsman.

#7 - As a manager himself, Keane spared no sympathy either

"The last song before the players went on to the pitch was ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba. What really worried me was that none of the players – not one – said: ‘Get that s**t off.’ They were going out to play a match, men versus men, testosterone levels were high.
"You’ve got to hit people at pace. F*****g’ ‘Dancing Queen.’ It worried me. I didn’t have as many leaders as I thought."

These were Keane's thoughts on his charges at Sunderland after he took the reins in 2006, according to his autobiography. The Black Cats were mired in the relegation zone of the Championship and, clearly, the Irishman was not chuffed about his team's mentality.

We'll never know the kind of music Keane ended up mandating, but it worked. Sunderland were promoted to the Premier League in his first season at the helm and successfully fought the drop in his second.


#6 - Even former teammates were not immune to his wrath

They don't make 'em like Roy Keane anymore. #MUFC https://t.co/HT2u5Quk5o
"Just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar!"

Another quote where Tottenham took a stray, these were Keane's thoughts on Rio Ferdinand as it became clear the former's stay at Old Trafford was coming to an end.

Ferdinand had moved to the Red Devils in what was then a record-breaking fee of £30 million but seemed to have fallen in the Irishman's bad graces. Of course, it all worked out well in the end, with the Englishman winning six league titles with the club.

#5 - He has mixed feelings about Ireland

"I love playing for my country but my sanity is more important."

Keane had a bit of a love-hate relationship with his country, at least when it came to the national team and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). He began warring with them practically as soon as he made his debut, unimpressed with the standards after playing for the likes of United and Nottingham Forest.

The most unsavory incident came to pass as the Irish team prepared for the 2002 World Cup, with Keane flabbergasted at the quality of the training base that the FAI had selected for them.

An interview with a popular journalist where he publicly criticized the facility meant then-manager Mick McCarthy had little choice but to confront him in front of the team and staff and make him apologize. This led to Keane going on a tirade, detailed in the bonus section.

Bonus: "Who do you think you are having meetings about me? You were a c*** player and you are a c*** 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 ****!"

#4 - He's not a fan of smoking

"Fabien Barthez and Laurent Blanc used to smoke together in the toilets, at half-time. They were French – they smoked. If it had been a couple of Irish lads, I’d have been shouting at them: Yeh dirty b*****ds – get out!"

Keane shared a Manchester United dressing room with some peculiar characters over the years, but even he couldn't get his head around Barthez and Blanc.

The pair, who had won a World Cup and European Championship with the French National Team, had found themselves together again with the Red Devils. While they did inspire glory, they'd brought along some of their bad habits too, much to Keane's chagrin.


#3 - His assessment of being attacked by his manager

"Cloughie was dead right, absolutely. It was the best thing he ever did for me. It’s good to get angry. It’s an emotion, part of the game."

Keane was arguably one of football's most famous "hard-men," and his origin story can likely be traced back to his time at Nottingham Forest. Playing under legendary manager Brian Clough, who'd won the club two European Cups, he was left under no illusion of the standards required.

The quote above is the Irishman reminiscing the time Clough punched him to knock some sense into him. He pondered whether he should do the same to his Ipswich team, which at the time, had just won thrice away all season

#2 - His sense of rivalry with Liverpool is still strong

"You’re going to war. Hugging and kissing, don’t even look at them. You’re going to battle against them. The game hasn’t changed that much, the players have. Maybe chat to them after the game. Actually, don’t even chat to them after the game."

These comments came after a game between United and arch-rivals Liverpool in October 2019 that ended 1-1. As the cameras panned to the tunnels before the game started, the Brazilian trio of Andreas Pereira, Roberto Firmino, and Fabinho were caught greeting one another with smiles.

Keane, who had been a mainstay as the Red Devils broke the Merseysiders' dominance of the league, felt the team had lost the edge that had made them so superior for two-and-a-half decades.

#1 - To him, mentality is everything

2 years ago, Roy Keane knew… https://t.co/twJlBSQ3p6
"People say I’m a bit old school; I call it good school. No matter what’s going on at your club, you go out and give it your all. The idea that these players may be a little bit upset…and it’s not just at United. The modern player, they aren’t just weak players, they are very weak human beings."

If you've watched Sky Sports in any capacity during Keane's time there, then you've definitely witnessed one of his rants about how modern footballers are a disgrace to the game. It's a criticism he's often -- and maybe unfairly -- directed at the likes of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard after taking offense from their fashion sense.

This particular diatribe was directed at the United team after Jose Mourinho was sacked in 2018. Keane also suggested that these players would "obviously get away with murder" looking at the way they constantly hid behind the manager for their failings.

#4 - He's not a fan of smoking

"Fabien Barthez and Laurent Blanc used to smoke together in the toilets, at half-time. They were French – they smoked. If it had been a couple of Irish lads, I’d have been shouting at them: Yeh dirty b*****ds – get out!"

Keane shared a Manchester United dressing room with some peculiar characters over the years, but even he couldn't get his head around Barthez and Blanc.

The pair, who had won a World Cup and European Championship with the French national team, had found themselves together again with the Red Devils. While they did inspire glory, they'd brought along some of their bad habits too, much to Keane's chagrin.


#3 - His assessment of being attacked by his manager

"Cloughie was dead right, absolutely. It was the best thing he ever did for me. It’s good to get angry. It’s an emotion, part of the game."

Keane was arguably one of football's most famous 'hard-men', and his origin story can likely be traced back to his time at Nottingham Forest. Playing under legendary manager Brian Clough, who'd won the club two European Cups, he was left under no illusion of the standards required.

The quote above shows the Irishman reminiscing the time Clough punched him to knock some sense into him. He pondered whether he should do the same to his Ipswich team, which at the time had just won thrice away all season

#2 - His sense of rivalry with Liverpool is still strong

"You’re going to war. Hugging and kissing, don’t even look at them. You’re going to battle against them. The game hasn’t changed that much, the players have. Maybe chat to them after the game. Actually, don’t even chat to them after the game."

These comments came after a game between United and arch-rivals Liverpool in October 2019 that ended 1-1. As the cameras panned to the tunnels before the game started, the Brazilian trio of Andreas Pereira, Roberto Firmino, and Fabinho were caught greeting one another with smiles.

Keane, who had been a mainstay as the Red Devils broke the Merseysiders' dominance of the league, felt the team had lost the edge that had made them so superior for two-and-a-half decades.

#1 - To him, mentality is everything

2 years ago, Roy Keane knew… https://t.co/twJlBSQ3p6
"People say I’m a bit old school; I call it good school. No matter what’s going on at your club, you go out and give it your all. The idea that these players may be a little bit upset…and it’s not just at United. The modern player, they aren’t just weak players, they are very weak human beings."

If you've watched Sky Sports in any capacity during Keane's time there, then you've definitely witnessed one of his rants about how modern footballers are a disgrace to the game. It's a criticism he has often - and maybe unfairly - directed at the likes of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard after taking offense out of their fashion sense.

This particular diatribe was directed at the United team after Jose Mourinho was sacked in 2018. Keane also suggested that these players would "obviously get away with murder" looking at the way they constantly hid behind the manager for their failings.

live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Who was the better midfielder?

Roy Keane

Patrick Vieira

50 votes so far

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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