Keane slams invasion but backs 'fantastic fans'
Roy Keane yesterday described the pitch invasion at the end of Sunderland's victory over neighbours Newcastle as "unacceptable", but Keane also stressed that Sunderland supporters "have been absolutely fantastic" since he took the job just over two years ago.
"They travel in vast numbers up and down the country without causing trouble," he said. Police arrested 29 people on Saturday, 12 for invading the pitch. Drunkenness featured as a primary reason for most arrests and the trouble spilled on to the Metro system after the game.
"Clearly we can't have supporters running on to the football pitch," Keane added. "It can't be tolerated not just at our club but at any football club." But Keane refused to be critical of home fans and his tone yesterday was not anti-Sunderland. "We also need to remember the majority of supporters since I've come to the club have been absolutely fantastic, we took 9,000 to Barnsley.
"It is up to the FA and the police to sort it out, I've got enough on my plate sorting the team out, but obviously it's not acceptable. We took 9,000 to Barnsley and we travel in vast numbers up and down the country. It's the first real problem we have had since I took the job, but we can't have supporters on the pitch, it's unacceptable."
Sunderland travel to Stoke tonight having been unbeaten in three games and on a high after Saturday's historic victory over Newcastle. Keane, however, has warned any player "still living on last Saturday" that they "won't be on the bus".
Asked about Stoke fans' reputation for hostility, Keane replied: "Good. That's why we're in the game. You look at the atmosphere we had on Saturday, it was absolutely electric. The intensity was there. I've been involved in a lot of big games myself as a player and that's what you want."