Talk like it’s not a cosy podcast

OPINION: For years, cuddly football commentary has been about not being too cruel to anybody – not Roy Keane

Thursday, 10th March — By Richard Osley


OF course, Roy Keane is a parody of himself, playing the part of the man who is pleased by nothing and colossally irritated by everything.

While the line is now surely blurred between his natural aggression and scene-stealing barbs, there’s no doubt he is a box office gem for Sky Sports.

Whether it’s real or fake, he mutters out some enjoyably choice zingers. And, for once, we have a man who isn’t afraid of not being invited back next week.

For years, commentary has been about not being too cruel to anybody; a very noble endeavour, players who make mistakes are gently cuddled with “he’ll feel he could have done better” or “he’ll be a bit disappointed by that, but he’s worked hard”.

As the players and pundits all know each other, the guys in the studio are worried whether the players will still come on their podcast next week if they say something too critical.

Not Keane, who genuinely sounds like he would ban all podcasts if he was made president for the day.

Incidentally, did you see the chippy exchanges last week involving Jake Humphrey, the BT Sport presenter who tweeted how brilliant he had been for being an apparent podcast pioneer all of two years ago?

As people queued up to see him in the small venue bit at the 02 (where Shakin Stevens plays at xmas cos he can’t fill the main hall), he took a snap and proudly declared: “2020 and people advised me against a podcast because they are a ‘bit niche’. 2022 and this was the queue for our sold out 02 show. I’m sure there somewhere.”

He was brutally reminded that everybody had a podcast by 2020 and his posturing was compared with a philosophising David Brent. I must remember to thank him.

A Roy Keane assessment of Jake Humphrey would be pay-per-view.

But his golden comments on Spurs and United have come for free in the last fortnight.

After Tottenham were shocked by Boro in the cup, he explained: “Spurs. Spursy. Whatever’s in that club’s DNA – the players – there’s a weakness there. It’s really pathetic. Going up to Middlesborough in midweek, probably a bit cold.”

Better still was his assesment of former club, Manchester United after defeat at City: “Egos come into it, you leave egos at the front door, these guys are all about ‘how am I looking? Are my boots nice? Is my hair looking good?’ Play the game!

Arsenal’s turn will come soon for the Keane treatment, but when the roasts are this perfected we’d still rather have him than Alan Shearer – the king borehole still telling you the good goal you have just seen is a good goal on the other side.

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