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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 10 July, 2020

TV Wrap - Cartoonish rage and unfair comments overshadow Keane's interesting side at Bord Gáis Theatre

The Irish legend has caused ructions with comments about Jon Walters and Alex Ferguson at an Off The Ball event with Gary Neville.

Roy Keane on stage at the Bord Gáis theatre with Off The Ball last Wednesday night.
Roy Keane on stage at the Bord Gáis theatre with Off The Ball last Wednesday night.
Image: Off The Ball YouTube

SITTING DOWN TO Off The Ball’s full on-stage interview with Roy Keane having already read what he would say about Jon Walters is like watching Marley and Me knowing what’s going to happen to the dog.

It is the abiding frustration of Keane: his rich character narrows with his eyes, and he becomes the flattened, furious cipher that has earned a hundred mediocre footballers a yarn to spin on TalkSPORT.

Keane was largely his funny, charming self at the Bord Gáis Theatre last week, exhibiting his impeccable sense of comic timing and talking with conviction about his love of Cork and his recent days in the Irish set-up. 

Yet there they always lingered, sitting uneasily on the horizon, knotting the stomach.

“Don’t get me started on Jon…” said Keane, having already twisted the key in the ignition and rammed his foot to the floor. What followed was a four-and-a-half minute screed, punctuated by pauses during which he couldn’t quite help himself going back for more.

“Listen, I know all about Jon Walters. I know all about him. Bluffer. Talks a good game, and does the circuit, says how harshly he was treated by me, he’s crying on the TV about his family situation, as if he’s the only one…do me a favour.”

It was bracing, hurtful, unfair…and what the crowd wanted to hear. Keane kept going, disappointingly pliant.

He crowbarred in a trademark dig at Jason McAteer, a lame “Why doesn’t he lay low and look at his medals? Oh yeah, that wouldn’t take long” gag, and rounded it out in true WWE style.

“Pass on my best to him. He promised to pay me a visit at my house a few years ago, and I’m still waiting”, said Keane, met with ambient “ooooooooohhhs” from the crowd.

“And I gave him my address. Good ol’ Jon.”

jon-walters Jon Walters, who responded to Keane's comments by saying 'It doesn’t bother me one single bit what he says.' Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The other headline from the night was his confirming he still hasn’t much interest in talking to Alex Ferguson, the other point at which those eyes tightened with rage. While Neville had cackled obsequiously throughout the night, he seemed to grow uncomfortable as Keane hammered Ferguson.

At one point, as co-host Joe Molloy continued his questioning about Ferguson, Neville interrupted and essentially shouted Molloy down with a risible lack of subtlety, bragging “My questions are better than yours.”

Neville then launched into a long-winded reminiscence, showed the importance of the presenter’s classical ability to listen by repeating a story Keane had told minutes earlier, and eventually got to his question: if Roy Keane was in Ferguson’s place, would he have got rid of Keane the player?

Keane unsurprisingly said no.

Neville has since tweeted that “unfortunately we live in an age where presenters are paranoid about ex players taking their jobs aligned with the habit of interjecting far too often thinking people are tuning in to watch them!”

In a week in which Phil told the world that he has a “vision nobody else has”, it’s quite an achievement to come across as the most arrogant Neville of the week.

But back to Keane. He said his memory wasn’t as good as Neville’s, yet twice mentioned Ferguson and David Gill’s erroneously thanking him for 11-and-a-half years service, when in fact Keane had been there for 12-and-a-half.

Why does Keane hoard these grudges, clutching and polishing them like Smeagle with the ring?

When talking about his playing days, Keane was comically nonchalant about praise, saying matter-of-factly, that of course United should be winning trophies: “We’re not playing for Yeovil.”

Yet Keane, who said he didn’t deserve much praise for what he achieved, still feels slighted by Manchester United for not being treated with the respect these achievements deserved.

“I am a contradiction”, admitted Keane toward the end of the show.

While Keane was stating plainly why his magnificent playing career at United was what should have been expected of him, Neville was smiling broadly in delight at how straightforward everything could be, this brief clarity of excellence.

“Roy makes everything sound very simple.”

Keane has never found anything quite so simple since leaving United. He says he wants to try management again, but admitted Real Madrid are unlikely to come calling anytime soon.

You hope it works out for him, in spite of the mountain of evidence from the night as to why it thus far hasn’t.

Toward the end of the night, Keane likened being a player to being an “actor”, and said he shaved his head as he felt playing games was like “going to war.”

Since retiring, Keane hasn’t found the right role in football. He said he has made mistakes in coaching and management from which he will learn.

Hopefully he will, and that he won’t ultimately find his truest role to be on stage and screen, reducing himself to a series of feuds and yarns, breaking the habit of a lifetime by telling people what they want to hear.

With the warm-up games out of the way, Murray, Bernard and Gavan discuss the renewed cause for optimism, impressive individual player form, and a potential quarter-final versus either South Africa or New Zealand.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Gavin Cooney

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