Watch: Graham Poll Discusses Trying To Referee "Scary" Roy Keane

Watch: Graham Poll Discusses Trying To Referee "Scary" Roy Keane

They've had some interesting run-ins these two.

The unfortunate official who had to step back up Highbury's cramped tunnel to stop Roy Keane getting himself sent-off before a game with Arsenal even began, Graham Poll was speaking on BT tonight of the most "volatile" player he ever had to keep in check.

Refereeing in the Premier League across the same span that Keane was driving Manchester United through a period of domestic dominance, Poll highlighted the Irishman as a player who needed the greatest care:

Roy Keane was a strong player. He would dominate his own team as well as the opposition, and therefore the referee as well, by his sheer will.

I don't think he would ever try to con you or cheat you, but there was just something about him, an almost immovable force about him that you just thought, Bloody Hell.

No stranger to referees during his long-running career with Nottingham Forest and United in the Premier League, Keane would be a frequent tormentor to many match officials up and down the country.

Questioned how he chose to deal with Keane's occasionally excessive force of will, Poll had his own special techniques:

I tried to get on his wavelength, and I tried to make him smile when I could see some anger rising in him.

I refereed Manchester United 57 times, so you've got the chance to establish some kind of rapport and relationship.


A referee who would try his best to talk to players and talk them down from potentially silly mistakes, a brief look back their most infamous run-in would suggest that Poll had a way of calming Keane down when things got a bit heated.

Perhaps most infamously, Poll, whilst refereeing Croatia vs Australia at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, awarded 3 yellow cards to a player before eventually sending him off.

You can watch Poll and Keane coming to an agreement in the Highbury tunnel here.

You can watch his interview on BT below.

See Also: One Of The "Crazy Gang" Recalls His Half-Time Punch-Up With Vinnie Jones

Arthur James O'Dea

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