Back in the day, Arsenal and Manchester United were two great rivals and at the time, the best teams in the Premier League. The two clubs saw no love shared, but war and whenever Manchester United faced Arsenal, the players used to have their battle faces on and go into war. While then coach Arsene Wenger’s side had won the 2004 Premier League with the ‘invincible’ side, Alex Fergusson’s Manchester United were clawing their way through to get back on top. Manchester United’s captain Roy Keane took no prisoners as he was one of the most disciplined players at the time, but Patrick Viera was no pushover either.
Reminiscing the time when the Arsenal skipper got into a heated argument with Manchester United defender Gary Neville and Roy Keane, the trio sat and discussed the infamous Highbury tunnel incident in 2005 at the studio.
The trio were present as football experts and pundits for ITV’s Euros 2020 coverage and the matter was eventually going to be discussed. Keane is known for his harsh criticism and straight remarks whereas Neville has become quite humorous on air.
Discussing the incident, the question was raised, “Who started it?” Viera was the first to state that it started with Keane ‘losing his mind’. Following up was Neville, who said that Viera was chasing him in the tunnel and was ‘screaming’ at him. Keane added, “I was just minding my own business”.
Adding to the spat between the players, Viera said that the two clubs were great rivals, but what frustrated the defensive midfielder was the fouls committed on the Arsenal players before the half-time whistle. Viera wanted to get under the nerve of Neville and put him under pressure to get a reaction later on.
ITV’s presenter Mark Pougatch turned to Neville and asked the former defender’s response. Neville said that he went into the dressing room and told Denis Irwin that Viera chased him in the tunnel and was pretty annoyed. Keane overheard the discussion, but did not respond. Untypical of Keane at the time as fans know, that Keane is the last person to stay calm and composed.
Keane went on to call Viera a ‘typical Arsenal bully’ and said that when Viera got into the United’s skipper’s face before the players could get into the field, that’s when Keane got irritated. Other than the scrap between the trio, Manchester United went on to win the game against Arsenal 4-2.
Despite the incident occurring 16 years ago, Keane was present at the studio with a captain’s armband on. Just goes on to show that Keane is still captain of his ship.
Keane is now a regular pundit in football matches, be it international games or Premier League matches, the former Red Devil skipper rarely has anything positive to say about players, especially when it comes to Manchester United’s current lot, Keane would not mince his words one bit and will just sail into them. Keep an eye out for Keane’s reaction when England play Scotland on June 19.