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Roy Keane
"You have to wonder if they understand the game of football"
 real 14k

Andy Walsh, Man Utd Independent supporters
"Roy has a point. Ordinary supporters have been priced out"
 real 14k

BBC Five Live's Richard Hannaford
speaks to Man Utd fans
 real 14k

Thursday, 9 November, 2000, 12:30 GMT
Should Keane criticise the fans?

Manchester United captain Roy Keane has launched a bitter attack on some of the home crowd at Old Trafford.

Is Keane right to criticise unhappy fans who knock the teams performance? Do the paying fans have a right to voice their frustration at the team - even when they win? HAVE YOUR SAY


Manchester United's 1-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League was not good enough for some fans.

Keane accused them of not living in the real world and knowing little about football.

The United skipper aimed his broadside at Old Trafford's corporate hospitality area where vocal support often diminishes after, what he called, "a few drinks and some prawn sandwiches".

Old Trafford prides itself on being known as the Theatre of Dreams - but after almost a decade of success, would the House of Complacency be a more fitting title?

Does Keane have a point? Or do the fans have a right to knock their team whether their seats are in the Stretford End or the glass panelled corporate hospitality suites? HAVE YOUR SAY



Football should be inclusive (it is a world-wide culture after all) but it has become increasingly annoying to listen to the opinions of people who know nothing about the game
  Ben Stafford, England
I can guarantee that this will never happen at any other club. As another devout Manchester United fan, I am a firm believer in loyalty. Roy Keane is not exactly leading the way in that regard at the moment. The prawn sandwich saga is stretching the limits of immaturity, for a man who leads the best club side in the world, and gets paid enough for it. Although I love Man U and Roy Keane I think some counselling in maturity wouldn't do any harm! Come on Roy!!!
James Vaughan, South Wales

Roy Keane and others should listen to the views of spectators. It doesn`t matter whether they belong to the prawn sandwich and Chardonnay or meat pie and tea categories! If they`ve paid their money, watched a game and thought it was awful so be it! A dose of constructive criticism about a player, or team performance, is no bad thing, from whichever quarter it comes! The `House of Complacency` is a very apt description of Manchester United!
Stephen Blazynski, England

Keano had a point with what he said but it's not fair to criticise the majority of the passionate Man Utd fans who turned out to the game. He'll feel quite bitter towards the fans jeered but that's only because he's the most determined player in the Premiership, he doesn't take criticism of the team likely so I think he had a right to attack the fans up to a point.
Kapil Morjaria, England

Roy is right. People think he only plays at Man.United for the money, but now they are proven to be wrong. It works both ways; Footballers play for supporters, but then supporters have to do what they usually do; support their team.
Heidi Kooistra, Netherlands

Man Utd are one of the best clubs in the world and should be backed by the supporters. They've just got through the first round of the Champions League. What more do you want?
Luke, England

The conduct of fans at a football match has a bearing on the team's performance. Hence the importance for fans to get behind their team. Kean was right.
Job, Zimbabwe

Roy Kean should keep is mouth shut he earns 50, 000 a week and should think more about playing the game, not having a go at the fans
Barry, Devon

Man Utd have done it to themselves. They may be the richest club in the world - but they are also one of the most shallow. They don't care about their fans - only about their money - the more money you have the more welcome you will be - until Keane's outburst. It would be fascinating to find out how many people at Old Trafford had supported the team for more than 3 years. Very few I suspect.
Ford, England

In business you cannot pick and choose your customers. Football demanded to be treated like a business, to get the money in - it can't now complain when business principles are then foisted on them. If Keane only wants true fans in the ground then I suggest United return to amateur status.
Julian Hayward, UK

I was at the game last night, and Keane has every right to take a swipe. I couldn't believe the amount of people who didn't appear to show a passion for the game ? Perhaps they're too used to watching football on the telly ? They may as well of been sitting there in their slippers with the remote.
Owen, UK


If Keane only wants true fans in the ground then I suggest United return to amateur status
  Julian Hayward, UK
I agree wholeheartedly with Keano's comments. Old Trafford, in recent years, has been taken away from us "hardcore" supporters by what we refer to as "muppets". These individuals are hardly match-going Reds. They show no signs of wanting to sing or even to learn the songs that are such an integral part of the historical tapestry of OUR club. The PLC has not helped this cause in that they cater to these know-nothing glory hunters (only because they spend hundreds of pounds at the Megastore buying the latest kit and other assorted crap). Any sense of atmosphere is often drained out of the ground, and when these pampered spectators fail to realise that we cannot win every game 5-0, they get impatient and begin to let the players know about it. Where were these fans in 1986 when Fergie took over and we were buried near the foot of the table? Have they no respect for how far we have come? Speak on, Keano...your words are appreciated by those who care the most.
Curtis, Manchester

Keane is right in criticising the swathe of overnight football fans that emerged on the scene sometime during Euro 96. Football should be inclusive (it is a world-wide culture after all) but it has become increasingly annoying to listen to the opinions of people who know nothing about the game. Keane deserves credit for criticising them.
Ben Stafford, England


He's bang out of order. How can a bloke earning 50 grand a week accuse others of not being in the real world.
  Chris Taylor, UK
What Roy Keane fails to appreciate is that many Manchester Utd fans are a bit tired and grizzly for mid-week games. Evening kick-offs are way past their normal bedtime. They are bound to get a bit short tempered, especially when they have to get all the way back to London in time for school the next day.
James Crosby, England

I agree with Keane's comments. There are many people who watch football but have never played. The pressure on players in such a high profile match is immense. From my own experiences it is difficult to play at a high standard for the whole ninety minutes when your nerves are jingling. The best remedy for nerves is support and that's where the United fans seemed to fail against Kiev. If we, the fans, get nervous just imagine what the players are feeling? In the future lets sing our hearts out and try to encourage because that's the best way to lift players' morale.
RAJ, England

I don't think Keane has a point at all. He and his colleagues are paid vast amounts of money to be creative and entertaining. When people are forking out a weeks wages they expect quality and entertainment. Mr Keane and his colleagues are responsible for the way they play. If he can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen.
Robert Perry, Netherlands

It does seem that some fans just turn up and expect to see a walkover for every match. As a Watford fan I've been amazed at the turnaround in our supporters this season, a good number have overnight become arrogant and ignorant of the opposition and heckled and booed when we recently lost to Sheffield Wednesday, our first defeat of the season. Some people need to realise that no club is superhuman and that the opposition deserve respect. Oh, and Man Utd's travelling support at our place, were superb.
Joe Bannister, England

He's bang out of order. How can a bloke earning 50 grand a week accuse others of not being in the real world. And how does he think United can afford his wages (through lucrative corporate hospitality deals amongst other things).
Chris Taylor, UK

Keane has a cheek. I am not a Man Utd fan (Arsenal fan), but I feel for those fans that turn out to watch Man Utd play week in, week out, just to be slated by an overpaid, inconsiderate player with limited intelligence.
Jason Sanderson, UK


Why not. Fans dish out enough stick themselves. Just ask Andy Cole. Now is that justified??
  Ramana, UK
Roy Keane is, of course, correct. It's about time someone stood up against all these corporate freeloaders who turn up to any event where there is the prospect of a few free prawn sarnies, with no allegiance or idea of traditions and ideals that the long term hardcore fans hold dear to their heart. I'm a Millwall fan I doubt that Roy would be daft enough to criticise us if he played for Millwall!
Roger Clunn, England

Footballers are just young men working in the entertainment industry, who are fortunately paid very well, due to demand exceeding supply. If Roy Keane wishes to only let appreciative, well informed football fans through the turnstiles, I suggest he comes up with a means of vetting his potential audience on a match by match basis. Perhaps we can stop these people watching on TV, buying football kits, advertising at grounds etc. He could, of course, insist on playing away games only.
Peter, Cardiff, Wales.

No matter how much players are abused by fans they should not criticise them. Professional football itself exists because of supporters in the first place. Supporters pay to watch football. They have a right to criticise or boo when they are not happy. I understand that football players are human after all but they also have to realise that they are role models to many young people. Therefore I think the reaction of Keane towards supporters was inappropriate.
Hang Q Lee, Korea,

Why not. Fans dish out enough stick themselves. Just ask Andy Cole. Now is that justified?? Keane also has a point about corporate hospitality boxes, which are full of people who know nothing about the game (inc. Rugby, Cricket etc) and keep the real fans out. Ramana, UK

Keane is right. Fans who do not like wins are not fans. And if they do not want to watch games then they can go to the opera, or some concert. Or do not go anywhere. Do something useful. Soccer is for spectators, not for fans. Also I do not think that fans are people who pay his wages.
Ian Smith, USA


Roy Keane has never said a truer word in his post-match interview. United fans over 18 should have to pass a test on United's history, tradition and terrace songs to be allowed a ticket to watch a game
  Austin Law, England
The problem is not so much toffs scoffing caviar, but the all-seater nature of the grounds. The main singers at The Dell are behind the Archers Road end, but when we move to the new stadium which part of the ground will be for singers? The club has given few hints as to where to apply to get the singers together. At Derby, good supporters seem to be distributed all round the ground and they have to get some atmosphere by having a man with drum run all around the perimeter. The new Saints ground is modelled on the Derby ground so we are worried. Clubs need to give a lead as to where singing areas are and to be prepared to reallocate seats. There should be a limited area for safe terracing now.
Nick Gaskell, UK

Why not? If fans can criticise players, then why can't players criticise fans?
Saj, England

It's Man Utd PLC's fault for pricing the true fans out of the ground. Now all you have are businessmen taking their children to see their first football match.
SJW, UK

I was at Old Trafford for the match and have been a Season Ticket holder since 1960. By and large, the fans gave the team great support and, unlike many sets of fans, are not known for criticising players. I think that Keane should reflect on how many of them were chanting his name week in week out for months until he signed his huge contract. His undiplomatic and unreasonable comments only give ammunition to the "anyone but United" brigade.
Ian Jones, England

I was at the United game on Wednesday and I thought the performance of the players was steady in the first half but just seamed to go down hill in the second half. They appear to have been told to sit on their lead and then lost their concentration in the last ten minutes. This appears to be developing into something of a habit this season.
Chris Mcloughlin, England

I travel home and away with United. We have some fans of whom we are ashamed, like any other Premier league team . The players left the pitch to chorus of "We love United" and the only criticism (completely unwarranted) by some fans was directed at Silvestre, 10 minutes from the end. Roy was obviously upset at this and I think this is what his comments relate to. Roy is entitled to say what he thinks. In defence of United fans it is very, very rare for the fans to turn on any players .
Fiona, UK


It makes me so angry when players, most of whom are multi-millionaires, cannot put up with a few unruly fans.
  John Owen, England
I think Keano is dead right to slam United fans they way he has done. The atmosphere at Old Trafford sometimes is appalling. The hardcore fans are being driven away to make way for the thousands of kids we get at Old Trafford these days. The club would rather see 3,000 kids there who visit the megastore before the game than 3,000 rowdy fans drinking alcohol. Give the game back to the real fans of United, the ones who live in Manchester but can't get tickets!
Steve Mc, England

Roy Keane is right to criticise Utd fans. Most Utd fans haven't a clue about football. They're just glory hunters from London and Devon. I wonder if the so-called die hard Utd fans would be so die hard if they were in Man City's position two years ago. I doubt they would make the 200 hundred mile journey from London then. That's why Roy Keane has a right to voice his opinion.
Jordan Milsom, England

Roy Keane has never said a truer word in his post-match interview. United fans over 18 should have to pass a test on United's history, tradition and terrace songs to be allowed a ticket to watch a game. This would then rid the support of all the glory hunters and corporate big-wigs who know nothing about United and would then hopefully see the return of the atmosphere we once had.
Austin Law, England

Roy Keane is correct. What he should have said is that Man Utd fans need to respect the opposition more. Kiev were a good side on the night. The United performance was great considering injuries and pressure. This is what he meant by fans not knowing anything about football.
Vyv, UK

To take Keane's comments at face value would be to miss the real issue here. I suspect his real concern is that football is becoming a sideline issue and the ever growing corporation that is Manchester United. The real supporters, those people that appreciate football are being frozen out of the club. In the long term, this can only serve to damage them.
David Page, England


I think Keano is dead right to slam United fans they way he has done. The atmosphere at Old Trafford sometimes is appalling. The hardcore fans are being driven away
  Steve Mc, England
What fans? Only about 30% of people at Man U games are actual supporters the rest are there just because it's Man U. However, Keane is out of order. Their attitude to most competitions including this years Champions League is a disgrace. The fans have every right to criticise a team that act as if they're untouchable. It's about time that Man U Plc gave something back to the fans.
Bob Halley, Ireland

Roy Keane's comments are absolutely right. However, the problem is more complex than to simply say it's the fans being lazy. You have to look at the game in general. Too many games , the cost to attend a match, unsociable kick-off times, all-seater stadia, to name but a few ,have all have contributed to the lack of atmosphere. All big clubs are suffering this now. Just visit Anfield or Highbury. It is also fair to say that United do attract a large corporate football follower and the 'arm chair curious fan' who's not a regular live football visitor. In addition, the large capacity at Old Trafford and the ballot system make it easier for fans around the country to attend. Therefore many fans are non-season ticket holders.
Tony Papparides, UK

Keano's spot on. The modern day, ignorant football fan, a la Fast Show, is all too prevalent in today's game. Utd's away support is second to nobody as any other fan will tell you after we've visited their ground.
Shaun Ryder, Manchester, England

I think he should be aware of how lucky he is. He is captain of England's and one of the world's top clubs. He earns a fortune. Who does he think pays his wages? The supporters.
Duncan Ferguson, England

It upsets me when people get on players' backs, and booing them at half time and full time is even worse. I have never understood groups of fans that do this, but generally Utd has a pretty sound set of fans that know how much effort the team are putting in. There will always be "fans" who are too harsh on players, and I don't think it is something exclusive to Utd. Fans have every right to express themselves about a team. While players are trying to win an important match is not the time. As an aside I think that no-marks such as James Crosby should keep his bitterness to himself and concentrate on his own team and fans.
Robert Haines, England

How much does Roy Keane earn ? It makes me so angry when players, most of whom are multi-millionaires, cannot put up with a few unruly fans. To finance football nowadays, corporate hospitality is ever increasing, that will bring people who have less of an understanding about the game, but you cannot have it all. If Man Utd had more true fans the noise would have been so loud that Mr Keane would never have heard the jeers. Utd, by increasing their capacity with more hospitality boxes etc are making it impossible for genuine fans to afford. This is happening throughout the game and will soon result in the bubble bursting, with painful consequences.
John Owen, England

Keane's right to have a go at these so-called fans who are grumbling about winning 1-0. United did the job they had to do to get through. What would these fans prefer - totally annihilating their opponents, but still not progressing to the next round, like Barcelona did last night? These people are not the hardcore fans, but are fair weather supporters who would desert the club at the drop of a hat if United were to forget how to win so often. These so-called fans should go and support Chelsea where they'd feel more at home!!
Joe Rogers, UK

NO he is so very wrong in his comments
Simon, England

I was watching 'Parkinson' a couple of weeks ago where David Beckham was a guest. I think it is appauling what the fans shout at him and I think Roy Keane has every right to have said what he did.
Meg Sharpley, England

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See also:

09 Nov 00 |  Champions League
Angry Keane slates Man Utd fans
09 Nov 00 |  Champions League
United they stand in Europe
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