IAN HERBERT: Cerebral Roy Keane deserves better than to fall foul of football's lunatic fringe

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2023-09-05 17:00:26  • 7 mins

Everyone engaged in the public discussion of football is now vulnerable to the lunatic fringe.

The internet drives much of the madness, as an academic, William Hughes, observed in a recent review of a book about fandom.

'The internet isn't just a space where fans debate with one another,' he wrote in the London Review of Books. 'But also where tribes build up a distorted and hateful picture of our enemies.'

Which brings us to the top of the West Stand at the Emirates at around 6.30pm on Sunday and Roy Keane's encounter with an individual who, judging by the grainy footage, was not there to discuss the respective merits of Rasmus Hojlund and Eddie Nketiah.

Keane's own involvement in some titanic Arsenal clashes from butting heads with Patrick Vieira to the red card half an hour before Ryan Giggs' winner for the ages in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final might lead those intellectually challenged tragics on the fringe to feel that he belongs to this maelstrom of their own imagining.He does not.

You would not always describe Keane as television's still, small voice of calm his two-minute uninterrupted invective against Harry Maguire and David de Gea a few years back was pure theatre - yet he has emerged as the wise, dispassionate, non-partisan studio presence, from whom you will not get a soliloquy when a sentence will do.

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