Tony Gillan: Sneering comments of ex-Sunderland boss Roy Keane were 'utterly crass' and he must apologise to Jon Walters

Every player who leaves football will tell you they miss it.

Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 18:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 11:38 am

More than anyone who ever retired from a real job, ex-footballers have voids to fill. Some do this more constructively than others.

Chris Sutton, for example, spends his time making wilfully controversial comments on the radio to garner attention. The ultimate in blandness.

It’s what people with nothing interesting to say must resort to. Then we have Roy Keane, who fills his void by picking even more fights than he did as a player.

Why Roy Keane must apologise

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He must be playing up to his image. Surely. No one is that unnecessarily truculent.

What we can be sure about is that Roy doesn’t take criticism or disagreement well and usually responds with blunt, playground insults, rather than attempt to undo the other person’s argument.

He was doing this long before it became standard policy at the White House.

Anyone questioning his Royness is unworthy of his respect, a clown, a done-nothing, etc. It’s a standing joke, albeit an entertaining one down the years.

Roy seems incapable of agreeing to differ, or being polite about someone he dislikes. But he really made a berk of himself with his latest adversary, the former Stoke and Ireland striker Jon Walters.

He was talking to the media, partly to bitch about Walters, er, talking to the media.

Playing to the gallery in an interview before a sycophantic live audience, he was asked about Walters.

Roy retorted (how else?) angrily: “Look at his medals. Oh, that wouldn’t take long.”

Naturally, this sneer was met with gales of laughter from a roomful of toadies.

Keane was unquestionably the better player. But how mentioning this was in any way relevant is unclear.

He then slid into the Four Yorkshiremen sketch.

He reminisced: “Brian Clough – you’re on about motivation – he punched me one time. He was upset and it was heated. I remember thinking, ‘you’re still a brilliant manager.’

“I came in the next day and trained.”

And our dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle – if we were lucky.

But lowest point of his rant was accusing Walters of “crying on the TV about his family situation.”

The “situation” being superciliously dismissed by Roy involved trivialities like the death of Walters’ mother when he was 11, his wife’s miscarriage and his daughter’s scoliosis diagnosis.

Classy. Why the allusion to Walters’ personal life in what had been hitherto been a fairly trivial squabble? Not that any of it compares to a clout from Brian Clough. Obviously.

Is it because Keane, who famously hates losing, was losing the argument? Or does Walters simply get under his skin?

Not that getting beneath Roy Keane’s skin is especially difficult. He’s extremely sensitive for a tough-guy.

But he’s still a real man. Rrrrr! The manliest man that ever manned in all of mankind.

Therefore, in light of his utterly crass comments about Walters’s “family situation”, he will presumably be man enough give Walters the apology that is so clearly warranted.

Keane did a good job at Sunderland, but his management and coaching record in the 11 years since is mediocre at best. Nevertheless, whenever Sunderland need a new manager his name is bandied.

No thanks. Whatever he had has long since been lost.

Perhaps he should try joining Chris Sutton as an aging shock-jock.