According to his own best-selling, Â£1m autobiography Roy Keane set out to “hurt” his sworn enemy Alf-Inge Haaland and, having achieved his objective with a proficiency which would have satisfied a professional thug, walked off the field with the uplifting sense of a job well done.
Of course, had he not been a celebrated footballer and had performed his assault on the street or in a night-club rather than on a football pitch in full view of the nation he might now be liable to imprisonment. Keane given 14 days to respond.17 September: Keane given 48-hour extension to the deadline to respond to FA charges.20 September: Keane confirms he is to contest both charges.15 October: FA committee finds him guilty of both charges.. Keane claims he would have played in the World Cup had McCarthy not accused him of feigning injury.16 August: Manchester City and Haaland announce they will jointly sue Keane over the tackle.1 September: Keane sent off for elbowing Jason McAteer during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw at Sunderland.2 September: Linfield FC claim they are considering whether to sue Keane over allegations in his book.3 September: The Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, announces Keane will be out for three months after undergoing a hip operation.4 September: Keane charged by the Football Association with two counts of bringing the game into disrepute – both relating to the Haaland incident. The saga runs on with Keane encouraged to apologise publicly, something he refuses to do.August: Keane’s autobiography is serialised in The Times and the News of the World in which he reveals details of his red-card tackle on Alf Inge Haaland, suggesting it was premeditated revenge. His team-mates are critical of his attitude and his approach to the tournament.
Keane criticises McCarthy’s credentials and the facilities arranged by the Football Association of Ireland. Keane had also sent a series of audio tapes to the FA in advance to try to prove the issue was embellished by Dunphy’s “artistic licence”.The 31-year-old Irishman’s brutal description of his row with his international coach Mick McCarthy, which eventually saw him walk out of the World Cup, his withering condemnation of Jack Charlton’s managerial approach, the sectarian accusations levelled at the Northern Irish outfit Linfield which brought the threat of legal action and the claim that his own team-mates had become too fond of their Rolex watches and mansions to care about winning trophies had already made the book front and back-page news. Keane’s lawyers are understood to have claimed that the comments in the player’s book were paraphrased by his ghost writer Eamon Dunphy, who also appeared as a witness for Keane. Take that.” The FA brought its charge because it claimed the book gave new evidence that the tackle was “improperly motivated”.The second charge was that Keane had made money through the tackle by writing about it in his book Keane is estimated to have made around Â£2m from the book. In his book, Keane indicated the tackle was an act of revenge for Haaland accusing him of feigning injury three years earlier when he had actually ruptured his cruciate knee ligament.”I’d waited almost 180 minutes for Alfie, three years if you looked at it another way,” he wrote “I’d waited long enough I hit him hard The ball was there (I think).
The first charge related to the tackle itself, which earned Keane a red card and a three-match ban at the time. Arsenal’s Paul Davis was handed a nine-match ban for punching an opponent in 1988; Chelsea’s Frank Sinclair, when on loan at West Bromwich Albion, was also banned for nine matches for assaulting a referee and Paolo Di Canio was given a 12-match ban for pushing a referee to the ground after being sent off in a match in 1998.The FA did not provide any immediate breakdown last night of how the punishment was divided across the two charges. Keane’s former team-mate, Eric Cantona, was given an eight-month ban for attacking a spectator in 1995. The case was heard by the FA’s three most experienced members of its disciplinary panel, consisting of chairman Barry Bright, vice-chairman Colin Taylor and Maurice Armstrong.Although the fine is the largest ever handed out by the FA, the ban is by no means unparalleled. Ferguson, who flew in from South Africa early yesterday morning, arrived shortly after noon to act as a character witness.The FA was represented by the barrister Jim Sturman as it put its case to the three-man committee who made the judgement. The entire “conference” lasted about 30 seconds and was presumably intended to be a sign of solidarity Â between player, manager and club Â as much as anything.Keane arrived at the hearing with Watkins and his own solicitor Michael Kennedy shortly after 11am. “After such a long day, now is not the time to make quick decisions so we will be reviewing the question of appeal over the next few days.”Neither Keane nor Ferguson said a word and the three then rose and left the room.