Anorak News | Roy Who?

Roy Who?

by | 3rd, September 2002

”’ROY WHO?” That was the headline on the front page of one sports supplement yesterday, accompanying a characteristically scary-looking mug shot of hardman-turned-actor Vinnie Jones, football’s answer to gangster-turned-actor John Bindon.

Roy Race – aka Psycho

The gist of Jones’s interview was that Roy Keane isn’t half as hard as he and everyone else seems to think.

But this isn’t just an opportunity to remind the world of his own status as the top boy of the modern era. On the contrary, Jones is happy to give credit where it’s due: Jimmmy Case and Graeme Souness would also ”sort you out”, no problem.

It’s easy to mock today’s tough guys, of course. In an age when you can be cautioned for hurting someone’s feelings, let alone his cruciate ligament, the red card has inevitably been devalued as a badge of shame.

All the same, Keane has done his best to keep up standards. Although his first red didn’t come until 1995, it was worth waiting for: a vicious and wholly unprovoked stamp on Gareth Southgate in a 1995 FA Cup semi-final replay against Crystal Palace.

This was made still more impressive by the circumstances in which the game took place – in a half-empty stadium boycotted by Palace fans after one of their number was killed in fighting on the day of the first match.

This in turn had been a consequence of the bad blood between the clubs following the Cantona incident. Not only that, but both managers had appealed for calm in a public appearance on the pitch before the game.

So Keane’s wild behaviour set a high standard right from the start, and since then he has raised the bar still higher with the Haaland ”tackle”.

Yet although Keane’s total of 11 reds is impressive, there is another Roy who still leads the field.

”Roy who?” Roy McDonough, aka Red-Card Roy, that’s who. Roy (who uses phrases such as ”the so-called hard man Tommy Smith”) set a record of 13 dismissals during his spells with Walsall (one red), Exeter (two), Colchester (three) and Southend (seven).

It will no doubt be beaten soon, but it is unlikely to be bettered in these softly-softly days.

”I’m not the sort who’ll hurt people on purpose,” says Roy, in traditional fashion. But he admits that ”if it gets a bit naughty, it brings out the best in me”.

Roy didn’t let retirement stop him causing mayhem either. While watching his brother play a Sunday league match that was getting ”naughtier and naughtier”, he ran on to the pitch to avenge an attack on his sibling by a tasty centre-half – at which point, all hell broke loose, leading to a 22-man punch-up. Or rather, 23. The match was abandoned.

”After that there was deadly silence,” recalls Ray. ”I was so embarrassed. My mate Ian Atkins was shaking his head and my girlfriend was just standing there. ‘Look,’ I say, ‘I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened’.

”Ian went to see the referee in his room and said, ‘I’m ever so sorry, ref, he comes to watch us every so often.’

”The referee looked at him and said: ‘Bollocks, I know who he is – that’s Roy McDonough. He’s a raving lunatic.”’

Posted: 3rd, September 2002 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink