Man Utd: Roy Keane's brilliant response after trying to hit Alan Shearer in 2001

  • Kat Lucas

Roy Keane's role as a Sky Sports pundit has done little to dim his fierce reputation. 

The Irishman now lays down his wrath with his words rather than with his fists and studs. 

And while Micah Richards seems to be inexplicably unafraid of the Manchester United legend, that wasn't the case for many of his Premier League contemporaries. 

Alan Shearer was on the receiving end of Keane's infamous temper in 2001 when Newcastle beat the Red Devils 4-3 at St James' Park. 

As recalled by talkSPORT, Keane had first been booked for hitting Shearer's head with the ball while pretending to take a throw-in. When the England international didn't react, it irked Keane further. 

The midfielder ended up pushing the striker and even appeared to swing for him, leaving Steve Bennett with no choice but to send him off. 

Keane vs Shearer 

“I lost my temper, we were losing 4-3, I think, in the last minute,” he said looking back on the moment of madness.

“If you’re going to get sent off, the worst thing is, I pushed him. If you’re going to get sent off you might as well punch him properly because you’re going to get the same punishment.

"You might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. That’s what I was thinking afterwards. It was just a push. It was ridiculous.”

"He didn’t actually cut his head off,” was Sir Alex Ferguson's only real defence. 

In the following days, Ferguson had to talk Keane out of retirement. 

“I was fed up and annoyed with myself. Especially after the match," Keane added. "The gaffer never really had a go at me. I knew from his body language – ‘how much more, Roy?’

“I saw him the next day and I said ‘I’ve had enough’ – and I meant it."

Shearer's response 

Shearer later told the Match of the Day podcast of the incident. “Yeah, I didn’t like him," Shearer said. "I had loads of rucks with him and I wasn’t the only one... 

"I can’t remember exactly what I said, I called him some sort of name.

“He got the red card and I remember having a little smile and thought: ‘I’ve done you [like] a kipper here. I can’t believe you’ve fallen into that little trap.’"

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