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Roy Keane: ‘Being called a w**ker for two hours is a lot’

The United legend was speaking to a 650-strong crowd at Lancashire County Cricket Club in Manchester.

Keane was not a big fan of doing punditry.
Keane was not a big fan of doing punditry.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

THOUGH HE DESCRIBES punditry work as ‘an easy gig’ in his new autobiography The Second Half, Roy Keane has admitted some elements to the job were particularly difficult to stomach.

Speaking to a 650-strong crowd at Lancashire County Cricket Club in Manchester last night — just a stone’s throw from Old Trafford — Keane detailed how his first appearance on ITV’s Champions League coverage in 2009 had a lot to do with the cirumstances surrounding the fixture.

“TV punditry wasn’t something I wanted to do. Obviously I wasn’t doing much and ITV asked if I wanted to come and do the game. United were playing Barca at Wembley and I thought — ‘I wouldn’t mind watching it’. I wouldn’t have to ask anyone for a ticket, I’d have a decent view but there was no PR element to it.

“I’m always a bit reluctant with the United stuff anyway. I was never going to be one of these players that comes back to Old Trafford and does any sort of promotions for them. That’s nothing against United, it’s my own stuff — I’d just be too embarrassed. I don’t like the idea of going back. So the idea of ringing up United and asking for a ticket wouldn’t have been part of my personality.”

Keane’s final assignment for ITV was the 2014 Champions League decider between Real Madrid and Atletico. He decided against traveling to Brazil to cover the World Cup and wanted to focus instead on his recently-appointed position as Republic of Ireland assistant manager. He was also weighing up a possible return to club management with Glasgow Celtic.

And as much as the TV work was relatively straight-forward and enjoyable for different reasons, Keane had experienced some challenging moments and referenced a particular Champions League game from 2011 to illustrate the potential perils of punditry.

“I did the 2009 final, it wasn’t too bad and then I ended up doing a few more. It’s obviously not the same — nothing compared to playing or managing but it kept me busy, got me on a few trips but it got me into a bit of bother as well. If it was a (Manchester) City game or a Chelsea game, you’d get some aggro and I wouldn’t be great at taking it.

“There was one night City were playing Villarreal. Before we got together I was asking ‘Whereabouts are we? Pitchside?’ and the response was ‘No, we’re up with the away support’. And we were literally right next to the City fans. Being called a wanker for two hours is a lot. At the end of the game I was steaming and the guys from ITV were saying ‘Relax!’ So there was a down side to it.”

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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