Roy Keane’s reaction to Robertson & ‘elbow-gate’ has made us swoon

Here’s a question for you: would the justice system be better or worse if Roy Keane somehow found himself in charge of it?

You might think this is an open-and-shut case of ‘definitely not’. For all its faults, the system of being innocent until proven guilty has sustained civilisation in Britain for centuries. For all the squawking of right-wing blowhards, this remains intact.

But consider the tantalising prospect of Keane handing out sentences as he sees fit and tell us it wouldn’t put a smile on your face.

Swapping shirts with an opponent? Community service. Shirking a 50/50 tackle? Exile to Australia. Being Alan Shearer? Lifetime imprisonment.

And his response to ‘elbow-gate’ during Liverpool’s roller-coaster draw against Arsenal was inspired. Andy Robertson found himself on the receiving end of a stray elbow from Constantine Hatzidakis, but didn’t receive any soothing balm from Keane in the Sky Sports studio.

“I’ve not seen anything like it really, But Robertson… does he grab the linesman first? I’m not sure,” Keane said as the other Sky pundits clutched their pearls to their chests.

“But Robertson’s complaining. He should be more worried about his defending.

“I’ve watched Robertson a number of times and he is a big baby. Just get on with the game and concentrate on your defending. He does grab the linesman first.”

In Keane’s world, Robertson deserved to be elbowed because his defending was as half-hearted as a Boris Johnson apology. Superb.

“I’ve never seen an official raise an elbow to a player,” Gary Neville added after his former Manchester United team-mate had simmered down. “I think he’ll be in a lot of trouble after this game ends.”

Robertson claimed Hatzidakis ‘elbowed him in the throat’, according to Sky Sports’ long-standing touchline reporter Geoff Shreeves.

“Andy Robertson was absolutely apoplectic, stunned even,” Shreeves said. “He said ‘the linesman has just elbowed me in the throat’ – Jordan Henderson was well aware of it and led the remonstrations with referee Paul Tierney and after that they got taken away. Extraordinary scenes.”

A statement from Professional Game Match Officials Limited read: “PGMOL is aware of an incident involving assistant referee Constantine Hatzidakis and Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson at half-time during the Liverpool v Arsenal fixture at Anfield.

“We will review the matter in full once the game has concluded.”

Many fans rejoiced when Mike Dean retired at the end of last season. But some, including your humble football writer, wondered whether the Barclays would suffer a surfeit of banter in the absence of the card-happy ref.

Today’s events at Anfield reassured us there’s no need to worry. Hatzidakis will likely receive a ban, Robertson and Liverpool used the injustice to fire a stirring second-half comeback and Keane solidified his position as football’s must-watch pundit.

It was the most chaotic Premier League match of the season, arguably since Chelsea and Tottenham spat dummies at each other in 2016. Good job Keane was on hand to adminster justice.

By Michael Lee

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