Villa assistant manager Roy Keane has always had a feisty reputation on-and-off the pitch, along with his beard, it’s part of his allure and the reason why most Villa supporters have taken to him. He adds much needed grit and steel to the Villa make-up, which surely rubs off onto the players.
Less hot-headed than during his time as a player at Manchester United, in his latest book Roy Keane: The Second Half, Keane candidly recalls the days of his red mist and in particular interest to Villa fans, how he went toe-to-toe with ex-Villa and Manchester United keeper Peter Schmeichel in a brawl during a pre-season tour to Asia in 1998.
Despite Schmeichel’s size, it’s obvious Keano fears no one once triggered…
Roy Keane vs Peter Schmeichel fight extract
“I had a bust-up with Peter when we were on a pre-season tour of Asia in 1998, just after I came back from my cruciate injury. I think we were in Hong Kong. There was drink involved.
“He said, ‘I’ve had enough of you, It’s time we sorted this out.’ So I said ‘OK’ and we had a fight. It felt like 10 minutes. There was a lot of noise – Peter’s a big lad. I woke up the next morning. I kind of vaguely remembered the fight. My hand was really sore and one of my fingers was bent backwards.
“The manager had a go at us as we were getting on the bus, and people were going on about a fight in the hotel the night before. It started coming back to me – the fight between me and Peter.
“In the meantime Nicky Butt had been filling me in on what had happened the night before. Butty had refereed the fight. Anyway, Peter had grabbed me, I’d head-butted him – we’d been fighting for ages. At the press conference, Peter took his sunglasses off. He had a black eye. The questions came at him: ‘Peter, what happened to your eye?’”
Beware of the beard!
Extract from Roy Keane: The Second Half, is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, orionbooks.co.uk