Sport On TV: Keane sense of self-worth as important as money

GOAL CELEBRATIONS these days require the combined skills of Olga Korbut, Marcel Marceau and the Village People. But when Roy Keane thumped in Manchester United's first goal against those allegedly dangerous Valencians on Wednesday, all it needed was the suspicion of a smile. As one of the headlines put it the next day, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered".

The Republic of Ireland midfielder's face as he trotted away after his casual emphatic strike was almost expressionless, with just the faintest hint of pleasure. He clenched his fist - but gently - took a few more paces, then jumped up - but loosely - almost in slow motion. As his team- mates descended on him, finally Keane grinned.

You see, there's no need to perform a reverse pike with three-quarter turn when you've just signed a contract that means for the next four years you can buy a sports car a week and still have enough to spend 24 hours a day drowning in drink and drugs and high-class harlots (Sorry, journalists should keep their most private thoughts out of their work).

Modern footballers are generally perceived to be greedy and grasping, and money was obviously at the heart of Keane's negotiations. But I suspect that his sense of quiet satisfaction at knocking in the goal, rounding- off the day's business with a token of his value to the team, had something to do with his sense of self-esteem as well as the money in his pocket. His expression revealed the idea that the contract saga has been partly about what money means.

In a previous incarnation I worked in the Health Service, which even back then was somewhat optimistically named, though we did our best. Journalism came as a relatively lucrative escape, but it wasn't just about bank balances. It was the sense of being valued by society, rather than slaving away in some subterranean chamber for a few groats.

On The Big Match: Champions' League Live (ITV), Ron Atkinson remarked: "If that turns out to be the winner he should put in for a pay rise." For Keane the torrents of cash signify not just that the legendarily tight- fisted United want him to stay, but also that they love him very, very deeply. They love him so much they're prepared to do to their beloved pay structure what the hammer used to do to the peach in that old road safety advert.

Not only that, though there may be prettier, flashier, trickier players at Old Trafford, there is now none so well endowed in the wallet department. Keane is up there now within distance of the Vieris and - if you'll pardon the comparison - the McManamans. We were reminded this week that the inconsistent Liverpudlian earns pounds 68,000 a week at Real Madrid - surely a symptom of a decadent society, incontrovertible evidence that the human race has still got a lot of evolving to do.

For much of his career, the same might have been said - though not to his face - of Vinnie Jones, a player with some of Keane's hardness and precious little of his skill. As an actor he's probably making even more money than Keane, even if he's not yet the "Hollywood megastar" that the irritating Jeremy Clarkson described him as on his chat show (BBC2, Sunday).

To his credit, the ever-ebullient shock-haired host did ask a couple of questions that fainter souls might have shied away from. The former Wimbledon and Wales player has been acting with the likes of Nicolas Cage and Brad Pitt, and Clarkson was wondering about the United States' aversion of incomers who have criminal records. "How did you get in?" he ventured diplomatically.

Jones took it in his stride and launched into a slightly confusing explanation of that particular aspect of the American legal system. He was provoked, so that's okay. Whereas, "If you're Gary Glitter or something like that they won't let you in - that's immoral."

Clarkson pushed it. "So if I just went out and hit my neighbour for no good reason..." Jones stopped him. "I never did it for no good reason," he said. And fixed the camera with a brief stare. The night before, I'd finally got round to seeing the much-lauded horror-thriller The Blair Witch Project, but that little look from Jones was the scariest thing I saw all week.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there