Roy Keane came to the defence of both Arsène Wenger and Tony Adams yesterday and in doing so Keane launched a scathing analysis of the culture of short-termism he sees as being propagated by the media in general and by Sky television in particular.
"The media side of it," Keane began when discussing the immediate pressure Adams is under at Portsmouth after just two games, "particularly Sky Sports. A lot of people out there, punters, are getting brain-washed by what's real and what's not real. That gets to the players sometimes. We're on about league tables after a week; teams losing two games, it's 'a crisis'.
"There was a debate yesterday about Arsène Wenger on Sky. How crazy is that if you step back from it? People on Sky actually getting interviewed about Arsène Wenger, saying he shouldn't be doing this...
"What that man's done for the game! And we're giving these people air-time. I wouldn't listen to these people in the pub, and yet they're on television constantly. What you've got to do is not to get sucked into any of that nonsense and try and focus on your job. But it's hard because people take notice of what's been said.
"Somebody said to me Tony Adams has had a tough start. He has had a tough start! He's played Liverpool away and a difficult game against Wigan at home. The average manager now, his lifespan is going down and down. I keep saying hopefully managers will be given an opportunity but the way punters are getting brain-washed every week, it's crazy."
Sunderland host Portsmouth today, which is why Keane was discussing Adams. Keane said he will not be doing so in a television studio soon. "I was asked last week by ITV to do the Celtic game," he said. "A couple of weeks before that I was asked to do the United game against Celtic at Old Trafford. I think I've done it once for Sky. Never again. I'd rather go to the dentist. You're sitting there with people like Richard Keys and they're trying to sell something that's not there.
"After the Newcastle game we had Keys on saying we've never seen anything like it, dressing things up that weren't really there, just because he was in a bad mood. If you're going to watch a game of football, just go and watch it. Anytime I watch a game on television I have to turn the commentators off. They say: 'He's playing really well' and I'm thinking: 'No, he's not'. My advice to anyone is don't listen to any of the experts. Will Arsène Wenger be remembered in 25, 50, 100 years' time? Bet your life he will. Will any of these people on the television yesterday be remembered? None whatsoever."
Keane, who was this week charged by the Football Association after being sent to the stands at Chelsea last Saturday, also criticised officialdom and the Respect agenda launched at the start of the season. "Maybe it's just a PR gimmick," he said.
There is not much confidence either that Keane will convince the FA of his case. "The last time the FA had a murder lawyer against me and he was absolutely brilliant – for some comments in my book about some Norwegian player at Man City. I bet he was expensive, just to make sure they won the bloody case. Not that you get a fair hearing."Reuse content