Roy Keane was a fiery, intense player. He’s known for things like ending Alf-Inge Haaland’s career because he was mad at him, the fight with Patrick Vieira in the tunnel at Highbury, and numerous other on-field incidents. Off the field, he’s had his share of moments as well; he is the one who came up with the “prawn sandwich brigade” comment, about his own team’s fans who show up for a bit of a day out rather than going to the stadium to sing and shout and root on the team.
Keane also took on the FAI in Saipan, as the Republic was preparing for the 2002 World Cup, blasting them for having inferior facilities, travel arrangements, and squad preparations, and the resulting argument between Keane and then-manager Mick McCarthy resulted in Keane’s being sent home.
The thing about that incident, though, is that...Keane wasn’t wrong. Ireland was preparing for the World Cup on a shoestring budget, while senior FAI officials were traveling first class; Keane probably could have been more diplomatic about his complaints, but he’s Roy Keane, so no he couldn’t.
Which sorta brings us to today. Keane was asked by ITV the other day about Wilshere, who is in a sort of low-key contract standoff with Arsenal at the moment. Keane, as he is wont to do, held nothing back:
The guy’s career is drifting, I don’t like to see it, but as bad as Arsenal were he was really bad. Has he been offered a contract? If I was him I would sign it, because if he thinks he’s getting big offers in the summer he’ll be surprised.
I mean, again, Keane may be impolitic saying so in a public forum, but a) honesty is rare in TV sports punditry these days and b) as with the Saipan stuff, he’s 100% not wrong.
I think a lot of Arsenal fans feel the same as I do about Wilsh; it’s been fun, but it’s time for him to go - or at least if he stays, let him stay at a realistic salary number that reflects his contributions to the club thus far, and his probably permanently lower ceiling than the last time he signed a contract. If he really wants a big fat payday, let someone else be dumb enough to pay it.