Football

It Was A Year To Be Thankful For Roy Keane

It Was A Year To Be Thankful For Roy Keane

We're only four sleeps from 2021. As we leave behind this covid-ravaged year for hopefully greener pastures, it's worth expressing appreciation to the people who got us through the year. In football, in a year where supporters were no longer welcome on the terraces and the game sometimes felt like a FIFA simulation, Roy Keane managed to keep things joyful. A younger generation might find Keane's football punditry lacking in analytical rigour, but while the Corkman might be predictable in who he praises and who he heaps scorn upon, he remains one of the few fascinating people who speak about football for a living. Being confrontational and funny are great attributes as a pundit, but it also helps that Keane has values.

The ship may have sailed for Keane as a manager who could emulate Clough or Ferguson, but Keane this year properly established his niche in punditry.Β  In a year when uncomfortable Roy selfies were given their own art gallery and even the Azerbaijanis were interested in a bit of that Keane magic,Β we thought it would be no harm to look back on some of Roy's moments this year.

Roy Keane: A Year in Review

At 49 years old, Roy remains predictable. Villa surviving relegation like they'd won the World Cup was exactly the thing to trigger Roy.

Is Keane the annoyed pundit an act or truly genuine? Watching back the famous De Gea rant from July, it's clear how emotional Keane was watching the match.

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That rant also spawned Roy's second career as a dance instructor.

One of the more intriguing - and awkward - Premier League punditry moments of 2020 came after Jurgen Klopp joined an MNF broadcast after Keane had the temerity to say Liverpool had been sloppy in phases during their 3-1 win over Arsenal to start the 2020-21 season. Klopp here comes off as thin-skinned, and it was the first of a few awkward engagements between the Liverpool boss and the broadcast media during this odd season.

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Keane's analysis can sometimes come across as old school or tribal but there's often truth behind his takes. Keane's criticism of Arteta's Arsenal after they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford also felt eerily prescient when the wheels came for Arsenal over the following weeks. The Gunners are currently 15th in the table.

The Year in Digs

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It was also a year of great Roy Keane digs. Micah Richards was on the receiving end of a few, but this was the best one.

Gary Neville is still feeling this one.

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Outside of football, Keane regularly showed his warmth. Roy was brilliant with a young United supporter (and wannabe rugby player) on the Late Late Show in the weeks before lockdown.

On Comic Relief, Roy revealed he quit smoking before his 12th birthday.

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Even in the age of lockdown, Roy has maintained a presence around Cork. In late November, Roy called into Cork Penny Dinners to lend a hand.

Before Christmas, Roy also made a surprise appearance at Dunderrow National School in West Cork in reply to a letter from Noah, a young student there.

In an age where footballers and celebrities document every coffee consumed, Keane manages to remain interesting as he spurns so much of the bullshit of contemporary life. He's one of Ireland's national treasures, not that he cares.

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Donny Mahoney
Article written by
Donny Mahoney is Chief Sportswriter and one of the founders of Balls.ie

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