ITV pundit Roy Keane on 'brink of going feral' at Euro 2012
Volatile Irishman keeps viewers talking as he lays into team after Spain defeat
ITV football pundit Roy Keane was in typically controversial form last night as he saw Ireland's chances of making the quarter finals of Euro 2012 evaporate against Spain. The former Manchester United midfielder, who won 67 caps for Ireland, was withering in his assessment of his national team after they lost 4-0, accusing them of only turning up for a "sing-song".
The volatile Keane reacted after seeing an interview with Irish player Keith Andrews after the match. The midfielder paid tribute to the fans, who had sung throughout the game even though Ireland were being outplayed.
Keane, though, was unimpressed. First he criticised the Irish defence and said thanking the fans was "nonsense". He added: "To praise the supporters for sake of it? Let's change that attitude towards Irish supporters. They want to see the team winning. Let's not kid ourselves, we're a small country, we're up against it, but let's not just go along for the sing-song every now and again."
His comments did not go down well with fans in Poland, according to the Irish Independent. One fan asked: "What did he want, no-one to sing, boo the players off the pitch?" Veteran Irish sports journalist Eamon Dunphy even claimed that Keane had "lost the plot".
Keane may have annoyed some of his countrymen, but his astonishingly forthright views and apparent ability to turn a room to ice with a single look have made him the pundit to watch so far during the Euro 2012 tournament.
Earlier this week he brought a jocular conversation about England players messing around in a swimming pool to a car-crash ending by angrily cutting short the banter and slamming the FA for releasing the video.
And bloggers and commenters on internet forums have been eagerly debating his merits ever since the tournament began. Howard Hockin wrote on Football Fancast: "ITV's coverage is always worth watching for the constant possibility that at any moment Roy Keane may 'go rogue' and turn into Michael Douglas in Falling Down."
Writing for the Mirror, Andy Dawson said Keane already appeared to have cabin fever and was "on the brink of going feral". He warned: "We can fully expect to see the 'insanity beard' that he sported in his final few weeks as Sunderland manager over the next few days."
Guardian TV blogger Martin Kelner felt sympathy for ITV anchorman Adrian Chiles who sits next to Keane. "[He] is trying just a little too hard to be Keane's best friend, and Keano is not having any."
But football website Who Ate All The Pies has a different view and accused Keane of trying to shock for the sake of it. "Blandness is unacceptable, or should be, in TV football punditry. But bitter, mock-honesty is little better," it noted.