August 6th 2023: Roy Keane Reporting for ITV during the FA Community Shield Final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium, London, England.

Grab the popcorn: Man Utd have driven Roy Keane to his most withering put-down yet

Can we just shock you? Roy Keane remains the most box-office pundit on British television.

After spending last week batting away the advances of Daniel ‘Usher Raymond’ Sturridge and googling the term ‘stanky leg’, Keane would’ve been relieved to get back to basics on Saturday.

Manchester United. Familiar territory. Sadly, as it would turn out, only too familiar territory.

Sporting a crisp shirt and blazer, the Irishman held court on his former side’s fortunate win against Wolves on the opening weekend.

“It wasn’t just the midfield three that were poor on the night with no communication, but the attacking three did not work hard enough out of possession and they were easy to play against,” Keane stated, as Sky executives rubbed their hands with gleeful anticipation.

“They got away with it, but they won’t tonight.”

Prescient words. After a promising opening 30 minutes, United surrendered to both Angeball and their own apathy, conceding weak goals to Pape Sarr and Ben Davies and looking increasingly listless throughout their 2-0 defeat.

Off-camera, we imagine Keane’s nostrils began to flare. His brow furrowing. Not even trying to suppress his sighs.

After the final whistle had blown, hands shook and adverts rolled, the cameras turned their attention to Keane, Andros Townsend and Jamie Redknapp at their cute pitchside table.

Townsend, one of the punditry stars of last year’s World Cup, gave a typically thoughtful answer about how Spurs won the game. But nobody was here for that.

We wanted Roy. And we got Roy’s most withering one-liner yet as he was asked about why his former side lost: “Man United are the new Spurs. Desperate. Absolutely desperate.”

Ouch. For years, Keane has used ‘Spurs’ as a by-word for mediocrity, lack of character and an easy three points. To use ‘Spurs’ to describe United must have broken his heart, but it was absolutely brilliant television.


“The biggest insult I almost think of about teams – teams that can’t do it away from home, or players that aren’t up for it away from home,” he continued. !They’re a good team, they fancy it when their home fans are in front of them. They have that energy.

“United go away today. Second half, weak, no leadership, gave bad goals away. Spurs were lovely, all credit to Spurs.

“United, it’s easy to play against United. I said before the game they were poor against Wolves but they got the result, and they’d be better today. But they weren’t.

“They were fine the first half hour. But the game’s well over 90 minutes. Obviously you’re not going to dominate for that long, but just show some belief, desire, fight.

“You look at our captain [Bruno Fernandes] tonight, our senior players. These are established international players. Easy to play against – that’s the biggest insult I can say to United players.”

Avid Keane watchers eagerly ticked off their bingo cards as the 52-year-old played all the classics; ‘international players’, ‘fancying it’, ‘desire’ and ‘easy to play against’.

But United were worthy of Keane’s ire. Last season was marked by a string of embarrassing away performances and, on this evidence, very little has changed.

The inquest can wait for another day. Millions across the country are bating in the glow of Keane’s latest gold nugget.

By Michael Lee

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