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'He Was Fine': Roy Keane And Tommy Tiernan Discuss Alf-Inge Haaland Tackle

'He Was Fine': Roy Keane And Tommy Tiernan Discuss Alf-Inge Haaland Tackle
Donny Mahoney
By Donny Mahoney
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Roy Keane was the first guest of the new season of the Tommy Tiernan Show last night. While on paper, Roy Keane seems like perfect subject for a Tiernan interview, this one never really took off. Keane arrived blissfully zenned out and boxed clever. He was charming and fully himself without giving too much away.

"Are the questions too hard?" Tiernan asked at one stage, at a point of hilarious frustration.

There was, however, an intriguing exchange on Keane's notorious tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland. Keane, as everyone knows, was sent off for a tackle on Haaland in a Manchester derby in April 2001. The bad blood between the two went back to a match in 1997, when Haaland played for Leeds. That day, Keane had tore his cruciate trying to kick out at Haaland. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Haaland accused Keane of feigning injury.

Keane replied with that tackle towards the end of the 2000-01 season.

In his interview with Tiernan tonight, Keane expressed regret that he published that book while he was still a player. (His first autobiography, ghostwritten with Eamon Dunphy, led to charges from the FA and a hefty fine due to what he wrote about the Haaland tackle.) He also played down the severity of the tackle.

Roy Keane and Tommy Tiernan on Haaland red card


Keane discussed the notoriety of that tackle with Tiernan tonight. The silences and facial expressions tell their own story, and the interview should be watched to fully appreciate the tone of the questions and answers. (link to the programme is here, the Haaland tackle is discussed around 28.00)

TT: So the story of that is very dramatic. The story, as I... and I haven't done a fierce amount of digging into it...

RK: It seems a bit more dramatic than what it was really. I don't think it was as bad.

TT: He had said to you, you were pretending...you were faking an injury, and halfway through a particular match, you had cleaned him out of it, and said, don't ever say that about me again, more or less.

RK: Yeah.

TT: And he was buckled for how long?

RK: He wasn't.

(Both) What do you mean?

TT: How long was he injured for?

RK: I don't think he was injured.

TT: How come there was this story that he never walked again?

RK: Well that was the story.

TT: Yeah that was the story that he never played again.

RK: Well he played three days later for his international...obviously that's not...why let the truth get in the way of a good story?

TT: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

RK: He played three or four days later. He was fine.

After a long pause, Tiernan opted to change the subject.


The international match in question was a friendly between Norway and Bulgaria. Haaland started the match and was replaced at halftime by Tore Andre Flo. He would start Man City's next Premiership game as well, against West Ham. However Haaland retired in 2003 after making only a handful of substitute appearances in the 2002-03 season, and he'd never play a full 90 minutes again as a professional in England.

And despite that popular misconception that Keane ended Haaland's career, the Norwegian himself admitted on his own website that he'd been hampered by injuries to his left knee, and the Keane tackle happened to his right thigh.

"I want to make it clear that it was not the knee that took a knock in the Manchester derby, despite what some papers have reported," he wrote.

While it was great to see such a pleasant and relaxed Keane tonight, it's clear from this brief digression on Haaland that there are still some tensions regarding the fallout to that incident.


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