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Words of wisdom: here’s our 18 favourite Roy Keane quotes

Following last night’s ITV 4 documentary, we revisit some of the Cork man’s most famous comments.

Keane was recently made Ireland's assistant manager.
Keane was recently made Ireland's assistant manager.

THERE WAS A fantastic documentary about the famous Roy Keane-Patrick Vieira rivalry last night, which reminded us how entertaining and insightful the United legend can often be when discussing football.

The current Ireland assistant boss is a veritable quote machine, and rarely refrains from saying what’s on his mind at any given moment.

Hence, here’s 18 of our favourite quotes from one of Ireland’s most divisive sporting personalities (warning: this piece rather unsurprisingly contains strong language):

  • “Away from home our fans are fantastic, I’d call them the hardcore fans. But at home they have a few drinks and probably the prawn sandwiches, and they don’t realise what’s going on out on the pitch. I don’t think some of the people who come to Old Trafford can spell ‘football’, never mind understand it.” The infamous tirade against the increasing prevalence of prawn sandwich eaters infiltrating Old Trafford.
  • “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.” It’s a good thing Roy Keane will never have to work as a football pundit himself… Oh, wait.
  • “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 demonstrating how he could easily have had a very fruitful alternative career as a troll. Stay classy, Roy!
  • “I said to Mick that I didn’t respect him as a player, as a manager or as a person. To be fair, I used the expletive against him as well, I’m no angel, but these things hurt me to be accused in such a way. The language was strong, but that’s always the case in football, it’s not a debating society.” Keane defends his less-than-eloquent way of expressing himself during the Saipan controversy.
  • “I love playing for my country but my sanity is more important.” More commentary on the period of his career for which he is likely to be remembered most.
  • “That man can rot in hell for all I care.” Keane pays one final tribute to Mick McCarthy.
  • “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.” McCarthy actually got off lightly in comparison to Alf Inge Haaland.
  • “Priorities have changed in football and [players] are being dictated to by their wives.” On the perils of feminism.

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  • “If you are driving to work, don’t get into a car with Liam Miller because he gets involved in more car crashes than anybody I know.” Unsurprisingly, Miller left soon after Keane’s less-than-glowing assessment of the player’s timekeeping skills.
  • “Just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar.” Suffice it to say, Rio Ferdinand is not Roy Keane’s favourite person in the world (note: he actually made this criticism while the two were still teammates).
  • “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.” Keane’s notorious MUTV rant continued.
  • “I didn’t ask you to wait, did I?” A 19-year-old Keane’s response to Jack Charlton, who had lambasted Keane for holding up the Irish squad’s departure after he arrived a half an hour late for the team bus.
  • “We have one or two young players who have done very little in the game. They need to remember that and not slack off. They need to remember just how lucky we all are to play for Manchester United and show that out on the pitch.” Keane criticises his United teammates, not for the first or last time.
  • “Before the game there was all this stuff about anti-racism and anti-bullying. It would be a good idea to start wearing wristbands for anti-diving.” Keane, perhaps ill-advisedly, compares diving to racism.
  • “I’m not at Manchester United to keep everyone happy.” Several of the aforementioned quotes are proof of this claim, if any were needed.
  • “The hotel is lovely, food has been excellent. Training ground… no potholes. We have balls. Bibs and everything.” Keane, playfully making reference to his past as he returns to the Ireland set-up.
  • “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.” Keane admits Neville isn’t always the most likable individual in the world.
  • And finally, on Henry’s handball against Ireland:



A version of this piece was originally published on 3 November 2011

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