I know Liverpool fans are going to hate reading this, because of the player involved, because of the club he played for. Because of the animosity between Liverpool and the club this certain player played for. When talking about this player it’s these words that echoed around stadiums like Old Trafford, Celtic Park and The City Ground, what words am I talking about well its Keano, Keano, Keano of course. Roy Keane had a stellar career at Manchester United winning numerous Premier League titles, winning both the FA and League Cup aswell as the Champions League even if he played no part in that famous come back in 1999 against Bayern Munich.
At the height of his career Roy Keane was one of the most powerful midfield players in world football. He was adored by those who supported him and hated by those who opposed him. But for me as an Irish fan he was something to marvel at. He came from a small club from Cork in the League Of Ireland to play in the second biggest team in England. (Of course Liverpool are the biggest club in England). He gave hope to those young Irish players playing League Of Ireland football that if you’re good enough the big club’s will come looking for you. He showed if you worked hard enough you could play at the highest tier of English football.
As a footballer Roy Keane was never far from controversy, from deliberately going out to injury an opponent to getting himself booked for the good of the team as he did in the semi final of the 1999 European Cup to getting sent home from the training camp of a World Cup. Roy Keane was one of those players who it seemed loved the controversy and responded best when his back was against the wall and the press and opposition fans were baying for his blood. This is the kind of player, Liverpool have longed for since the days of hardman Graeme Souness. As a football fan I could only dream of a midfield of Keane and Steven Gerrard and what that would have been like.
Imagine a midfield pairing of Roy Keane shielding the Liverpool defence and Steven Gerrard bombing forward. It would be a dream come through and if any Liverpool thinks otherwise you need a wake up call. I genuinely think Gerrard would have benefited so much with a partner of Keanes stature beside him. With both of them in midfield I’m confident that Gerrard would have gone on to win the elusive Premier League title and not just the one but many many more because Roy Keane would have demanded it from the players on the pitch around him.
Such was Roy Keanes importance on and off the pitch for Manchester United the centre midfield position is a position that they have struggled to fill since he left the club. It’s evident to see if you’re a fan of another club and none of the players since have had the impact on or off the pitch that Keane had. He was a once in a lifetime player and even though he left the club on bad terms, United fans should count themselves lucky to have witnessed his brilliance in the pitch and forget how his career ended at Old Trafford.
There are so many other things you could say about Roy Keane, but for me one of his stand out qualities was his honesty, his honesty is something as a football fan you can only admire. From his attacking of the prawn sandwich brigade at Old Trafford to his honest opinion on MUFCTV about his teammates after a defeat (an opinion which invariably lead to his departure from Old Trafford) this is something you don’t see too often in modern football. He has brave enough to go head to head with Sir Alex Ferguson, something no one else would have even dreamt of doing. And this is why I would have loved to see him play in the red of Liverpool and not the red of Manchester.