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Roy Keane is a silly boy.
While he remains in the affections of Manchester United supporters, his free expression of views signaled the end of his United career and in the years that followed.
He is, in a way, a bit like Craig Bellamy. As Sir Bobby Robson said about the Welshman, "He's the only man I know who could start an argument with himself."
In general, Keane has kept his counsel pretty well over the years since he left Old Trafford. At the time, as much as anything, it was for publicly criticising his teammates, but there were other factors which had hardened Sir Alex's determination that Keano's race had run.
Called upon as a TV pundit for the match against Basel, Keane handled himself diplomatically and professionally until the adverse result was in place. He then overstepped the mark and broke the unwritten code of Sir Alex.
Gary Neville can get away with saying United are all over the place in his match summaries, but Roy Keane can't escape Fergie's wrath when the latter feels personally attacked. Unfortunately, Keane then let his unresolved bitterness surface in the row that followed.
Keane the Captain
All this is a sideshow and a great pity when we consider what Roy Keane did for United on the pitch, especially as captain.
Sir Alex hijacked his potential transfer to Blackburn, much to the resentment of Kenny Dalglish, who felt Ferguson had an agreement which Keane broke.
He made an immediate contribution and continued to be a key player until Eric Cantona's retirement in 1997, whereupon it was no surprise that Keane succeeded him as captain for the next eight seasons.
He is the most successful United captain ever, having won a total of 10 major trophies, but as a player, he won the Premier League seven times. He may not have been captain for the 1999 European Champions League, but his astonishing performance in the semifinal and heroics throughout that season mean it should be chalked against his name.
Like Bryan Robson, Keane never gave less than 100 percent. He turned results round many times, often with his individual contribution. He led from the front and put his body on the line.
He didn't always go by the book (except his own autobiography and the ill-fated Alf-Inge Haaland revelation), but he was equally adept in attack as in defence.
United could do with someone like him right now, both in the totality of what he brought to the team and in the leadership which is currently lacking.
He may not have made many friends outside Old Trafford, but you always wanted to be on his side and he frequently rises to the cream of the best players to have graced the Premier League.