Belfast Telegraph

Roy Keane trashes Manchester United and launches scathing attack on English football

Roy Keane last night launched a scathing attack on English football — with his old club Manchester United caught in the firing line.

The ex-United skipper described Monday’s clash between his former employers and their title rivals Arsenal as “rubbish,” said foreigners who take over clubs “don’t understand football” and insisted that the English game in general was “going downhill.”

Keane, currently fighting to hold onto his job as manager of struggling Ipswich Town, is renowned for his rants, but few of them have come close to the ferocity of this latest one.

The ex-Republic of Ireland international — Britain’s most expensive player when United signed him from Nottingham Forest for £3.5m 17 years ago — has played a pivotal role in some feisty United-Arsenal games down the years.

But he was far from impressed with this week’s Old Trafford encounter, which United won 1-0.

“I saw it on television and I don’t think I’ve ever been so annoyed watching a game,” he said.

“There was no intensity, players weren’t getting stuck in and everyone seemed to be pals with each other.

“I thought it was rubbish for a game between two top teams, although to be fair to United they showed a great will to win.”

Keane, now 39, left United in typically acrimonious circumstances just over five years ago, having captained the club for eight of his 12 years there.

His many fiery encounters with Arsenal included the notorious Highbury tunnel encounter with Gunners captain Patrick Vieira.

The ‘rust’ between the two helped make United-Arsenal matches the most keenly awaited fixtures in the football calendar.

But Keane said he now believes English football is in a state of decline.

“It is changing and not for the good. Far from it — if you ask me it is going downhill,” he said.

“It’s not the game we knew 15 or 20 years ago, the one I first got involved in. I don’t think we love it the way we did years ago because of what we see every day of the week.”

In an obvious reference to the sacking of Blackburn Rovers boss Sam Allardyce earlier this week, Keane added: “If I lost my job there would be nobody complaining too much, but top managers getting good results are being sacked.

“Owners are coming in from other countries and I don’t know if they understand the game of football.

“It’s an ego thing, like a toy they can play with. They buy clubs, sack managers — it’s crazy.”

And, clearly referring to the Carlos Tevez situation at Manchester City, he said; “We see players wanting to leave a club after only being there two minutes because they are not happy with what’s going on.”

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