Roy Keane has always had a problem in British football. No, not the fact he was an aggressive player who found himself on the end of many a yellow card, no. Roy Keane's problem in British football has always been with the media.
Back in say, around 2002. If you were to ask any media outlet except MUTV who Roy Keane's parents are, they would probably say Satan and Elizabeth Bathory. The man will almost always do wrong in most newspaper's eyes. I will always be the first to admit that Keane's savage tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland was horrific and certainly ill advised, in actual fact Keane should have been charged with assault, but bygones will be bygones - it was a mistake, an almost twenty year old mistake at that. The fact remains that it almost always seems to be Keane who calls out the sporting organisations, the fans and the clubs on their sometimes idiotic behaviour and that has made him a controversial figure, to say the least.
Roy Keane's 'rants' on closer inspection speak a lot of sense. He called out the fans for booing Manchester United:
"We're 1-0 up, then there are one or two stray passes and they're getting on players' backs. It's just not on. At the end of the day they need to get behind the team. 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."
He was heavily criticised for his time on MUTV, where he felt that Rio Ferdinand should play to the level that he is paid:
"Just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar. The younger players have been let down by some of the more experienced players. They are just not leading. 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."
He also called out the FAI for the way they treated the players:
"Where we trained last Monday, in Clonshaugh, was abysmal and it has been for as long as I've known it. I was fairly critical about our seating arrangements on the flight out here, when the officials were sitting in the first-class seats and the players were sitting behind. For me that's simply not right and it's not just because I'm playing for Manchester United. The priority has to be the team - and I don't think that has always been the case here."
Roy has. and always will be a divisive figure in football. I cannot deny that his arguments make a lot of sense though. In the three examples above, he touches on some critical issues in football, and these seem to get swept under the rug in favour of his personality and history. He speaks about the fans heckling a successful club, the division between FA and team and also players not performing to their pay. These are the issues people should actually be worrying about!
And no, that's not just my opinion either - remember back in 2002 when Roy exploded at Ireland manager Mick McCarthy? He argued and swore and ranted over the lack of professionalism shown by the coaches and the organisation. He criticised the diet that the players had because of the lack of suitable foods, he criticised the quality of the training pitch and once again, criticised the division between the FA and the international team. This went public, with Keane leaving the 2002 World Cup squad and flying home. A later report by the FAI would find most of Keane's criticism to be true, leading to organisational changes in the FAI. Roy would later go on to say how much regret he felt at leaving the squad, but it's hard to argue that he didn't champion good football and good ethics.
Now we come to the latest news - Roy Keane had apparently turned up 'wild-eyed' at Tom Cleverley's house after ringing the door bell for fifteen minutes. This 'report' comes a few weeks after Keane had left Villa to concentrate on his duties with the Ireland national team. There has been plenty of speculation about why Keane left, including rumours of a bust up with Gabriel Agbonlahor. Paul Lambert has been quick to deny those rumours, where in previous times he has stayed silent, especially with the Culverhouse/Karsa situation earlier this year. If something had actually happened, Roy Keane would have likely stood his ground. The usually outspoken Keane has said nothing about Villa since leaving. This is leading me to believe that the real story is in fact far too boring for the media