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Monday, 14 August, 2000, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Keane's haul of shame
Keane's tackle on Poyet that brought his red card
Keane's tackle on Poyet that brought his red card
Roy Keane vowed to turn over a new leaf when the FA announced a disciplinary crackdown - making it almost inevitable fate would take a hand and make him its first high profile victim.

Keane is undoubtedly a more mature and rounded character than the hot-headed midfield enforcer of his early days at Manchester United.

And Sir Alex Ferguson would never want Keane to sacrifice the ruthless streak of a born winner that makes him such an inspiration to Manchester United and his Old Trafford team-mates.

Ferguson appears to accept that the occasional moment of madness is the price on the ticket for having a player coveted by every club in Europe.

But it now seems Keane will never stop the occasional descent of the red mist that result in the incident that scarred the Charity Shield at Wembley, and brought the seventh red card of his United career.

Keane is rarely out of the headlines and, for all his dark moments, he arguably ranks even ahead of David Beckham as the player Manchester United can never afford to be without.

Dejected Sir Alex Ferguson at Wembley
Dejected Sir Alex Ferguson at Wembley
He was awarded a new contract worth around 52,000-a-week last season, with his manager Ferguson more than happy to see the player rewarded, despite talk of a rigid Old Trafford wage structure.

Keane was then angry when United's hierarchy mentioned his new deal when notifying season ticket holders of price rises.

The player was furious, and instantly produced a fiery performance at Middlesbrough that claimed more headlines.

Sadly for Ferguson, they will be without him early in the Premiership campaign after his ill-judged lunge at Gustavo Poyet at Wembley.

Keane and controversy are no strangers. and a swift glance at his record suggests they will continue to accompany each other until the end of his career.

He has paid a heavy personal price for his competitive attitude, missing the greatest day in United's recent history.

Beckham and Keane with Wembley referee Mike Riley
Beckham and Keane with Wembley referee Mike Riley
Keane sat out the Champions' League win against Bayern Munich in Barcelona in 1999 because he was suspended following the semi-final win against Juventus.

He has also been sent off in two FA Cup semi-finals, first against Crystal Palace in April 1995, and then in the epic against Arsenal, also at Villa Park, four years later.

Keane was heavily criticised last season when, as United captain of course, he led the unsightly charge on referee Andy D'Urso after he awarded Middlesbrough a penalty at Old Trafford.

He is a cult figure as OId Trafford's merchant of menace, and respected by opposition players and fans.

It is highly unlikely that will change as a result of Sunday's incident - and it is highly unlikely Roy Keane will change either.

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See also:

13 Aug 00 |  Man Utd
United gunning for more glory
08 Aug 00 |  Man Utd
Sven keen on Man Utd
08 Aug 00 |  Man Utd
Ferguson fear over new laws
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