Keane v McCarthy: Nirvana for the media pundits


ROY KEANE'S EXPULSION: With the rumour mill still turning, the two main protagonists have their say in the Sunday papers. Mary Hannigan reports on an ugly battle turning uglier.

"Keane went home because he cared too much even those who hark back to the old days and cannot stand modern English football, would have to concede Keane's value to the game. Who wouldn't want to read about him for years to come? Who wouldn't want him at their club?"

- Brian Oliver (The Observer)

"A lot of his complaints were petty. Sometimes you have to get on with it. Life is a series of compromises and football and footballers are no different. Roy lives in Roy Keane world and refuses to accept other people's autonomy or opinions. We got to the World Cup with tremendous spirit. Keane was a part of that, but not above it. McCarthy has acted to preserve that spirit because he knows that is our biggest strength."

Matt Holland (The Independent on Sunday)

"When I read Roy Keane's interview in The Irish Times last week, I found myself agreeing with all of it. I sympathised with what the Irish captain had been going through with the Football Association of Ireland.

"When he was confronted about this article by Mick McCarthy, it turned into a slanging match and got personal. The Irish manager then had absolutely no option but to send Keane home. If I was McCarthy, I would have done exactly the same, irrespective of whether he was our best player or not."

- Andy Townsend (The Sunday Times)

"Of all the comments contained in Roy Keane's tirade against manager Mick McCarthy, the one most likely to alienate him from the rest of the squad was the alleged assertion that McCarthy 'was not even Irish, you English ****'. No fewer than 13 of 22 players in the Irish team were born in England: Steve Finnan, Matt Holland, Alan Kelly, Gary Breen, Dean Kiely, Jason McAteer, Lee Carsley, Mark Kinsella, Kevin Kilbane, Clinton Morrison, Andy O'Brien, Steven Reid and David Connolly.

From an article in yesterday's Sunday Times, under the heading 'Rise of the 'Plastic Paddies'. Note: Mark Kinsella was born in Dublin and Steve Finnan in Limerick.

"Kicking Roy Keane out of the World Cup is one of the most extraordinary decisions in the history of international footballthis is like France being without Zidane, Portugal without Figo, England without Beckham.If McCarthy called the whole squad together to iron out the problem that was the wrong way to go about it. I don't think the manager should be holding what amounted to a public meeting about the captain in front of the other players."

- Sky Sports commentator Andy Gray (Sunday Mirror)

"Roy has been victimised by the FAI, the Ireland team management and even some of his fellow team-mates. This whole incident wasn't really about anything that happened in Saipan last week - it's been brewing for far longer than that. There are certain people in the Irish team camp - the same people that Roy said he could no longer work with - who have an agenda towards the player. They've wanted rid of him for some time and now they've got their way. It disgusts me."

- Paul McGrath (Sunday Mirror)

"Some critics have said Keane is spoiled by the way Manchester United do everything first class. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, and he ever goes into management, he'll soon realise you can't always do things the way Old Trafford does it."

- Packie Bonner (Sunday Mail)

"He really is on a different level when it comes to professionalism. He is a machine. I wouldn't say he frightens me but he intimidates one or two around the squad. He doesn't suffer fools but he is wonderful to learn from. Roy will tell somebody how he should be doing something in a sentence, whereas it will take a coach 20 minutes to say the same thing. I've never met another player who has the same sort of impact on games."

- Niall Quinn (Mail on Sunday).

"He wanted the discussion to be between him and McCarthy only - in other words, in private - but McCarthy explained that it was Keane's own actions that had made everything public, so it was to be dealt with in front of the whole squad. The rest of us just sat there. Keane refused to apologise for his comments. In fact he reiterated that he still stood by them and then he launched an abusive attack on the manager. It was absolutely extraordinary to listen to, and like the rest of the squad, I was stunned."

- Matt Holland (The Independent on Sunday)

"Roy lost the rag completely. His outburst was like nothing I've ever heard in all my days. It was a build-up of frustration on the big man's part but what was said was very much over the top. Keane showed total disrespect and undermined Mick. We were all shocked - completely! The moment those words left his lips I knew it was over, there was no way back."

- Packie Bonner (Sunday Mail).

"For me, the heart of the dilemma rests in the now notorious interview he gave to The Irish Times that started the dominoes falling. It is such an intoxicating joy to read such controlled, intelligent, witty and self-effacing conversation from a footballer that it is all one can do not to cheer out loud."

- Danny Baker (The Times, London)

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Are you training?" He seemed angry.

There was an edge to his voice.

"You all just go with the flow," he spat.

"What do you mean?"

"What goes with the flow?" he asked.

I thought, 'here we go again.' He's been hitting me with all these one-liners 'Fail to prepare, prepare to fail' all week. Sometimes I think he thinks he's Alex Ferguson.

"I don't know," I replied. "What goes with the flow?"

"Dead fish," he said.

I thought 'Wow! P-R-O-F-O-U-N-D. The messiah has spoken.' And then he walked out of the room."

- Jason McAteer (The Sunday Independent)

"Roy is not a pampered prima donna. He's a committed and brilliant footballer, the likes of which Ireland has never seen before and probably never will again. When he said he was unhappy with Ireland's preparations, you've got to believe that things out there were not rightI'll bet there's not a player in the Irish World Cup squad who's entirely happy with all the arrangements made by the FAI. But Roy has been punished for his bravery in speaking out."

- Paul McGrath (Sunday Mirror).

"I sat there much like the rest, feeling as if the whole thing had been a dream, a surreal dream maybe, but a dream nonetheless. The manager and captain had been verbally slugging it out, toe to toe, with most of the invective and appalling language coming from the player. Traditionally, the manager is in charge and Keane forgot that."

- Matt Holland (The Independent on Sunday)

"From what I've seen on TV, the conditions on the Pacific island were entirely inappropriate for an international football team preparing for the World Cup. Roy was the only one brave and decent enough to voice what the rest of the players were thinking. And look what he got for his trouble! As a former player, my idea of a captain is someone who leads by example, who speaks up for the rest of the players. That's clearly not what the FAI want. They want a yes-man, and Roy is certainly not that."

- Paul McGrath (Sunday Mirror)

"Roy Keane is the Van Morrison of Irish football: inspirational, infuriating, private, passionate and rarely wrong."

- Kevin Mitchell (The Observer)

"I didn't want him to go to the World Cup because he needed an operation on his knee. But he was determined to go and he didn't see defeat as an option."

- Alex Ferguson

"Keane leapt over the mark in a way that would have done Bob Beamon proud."

- Matt Holland (Independent on Sunday)

"He said some strange and very hurtful things at the meeting for our benefit. For the team's benefit. Things like: "You're just looking for an excuse for when Ireland do bad so you can say 'Well Roy Keane was sent home'." And I thought: 'We haven't really made it to the World Cup. We haven't really earned the right to be here. We owe it all to Roy. And Roy thinks we're shit."

- Jason McAteer (The Sunday Independent)

"People talk about Ireland going to the World Cup for a jaunt but that wasn't on his agenda. All great sportsmen have an edge to them, but I think control is important and I need to speak to Mick McCarthy."

- Alex Ferguson

"McCarthy might have created another small storm by writing a World Cup book (understood to be a diary which will be ghosted by the journalist Cathal Dervan, whom Keane made a point of mentioning last week as one of his harshest critics). The serialisation rights are believed to be up for sale, with several tabloids interested."

- Kevin Mitchell (The Observer)

"Keane knows more about the World Cup and how football works than almost anybody on the planet. If you just look beyond the happy-sappy Irish squad and on to the bigger picture of why a man would act that way, his actions begin to look almost Ali-like in their honesty. Keane went and saw the World Cup and didn't like it. He thinks his nation and everybody else ought to see it that way, too. Roy Keane is actually a hero."

- Danny Baker (The Times, London)

"I have to say I have some sympathy with Roy.what I do know for sure is that he is a fierce professional, who expects certain standards. He clearly wondered why they were not being matched. It looks to me, for example, as if some of the Republic of Ireland squad think they are out there for a holiday. In addition, my experience of Mick McCarthy from some old playing encounters tells me that he is not, shall we say, the easiest of men to get along with himself."

- Arsenal captain Tony Adams (The Observer)

"How dare this large, belligerent, bloody-minded English toe-rag cast aspersions on two magnificent men to whom he owes so much, not least the legendary status in which he glories."

- Eamon Dunphy on Jack Charlton's criticisms of Keane and Paul McGrath on Friday's Late Late Show (Ireland on Sunday)

"Isolated now, he stands more magnificent than ever before, he belongs with the greats in world sport, in the pantheon alongside Ali, Woods, Schumacher, Aidan O'Brien and Michael Kinnane."

- Eamon Dunphy (Ireland on Sunday)

"What happened in that room was unbelievable, I have never witnessed anything like it in professional football."

- Steve Staunton (Sunday Mirror)