A salvo of expletives signaled Roy Keane's latest retreat into his own caricature. "You're a f***ing p***k, you're a c**t". As if confronting the twilight of his own influence, this was Keane raging against the dying of the light. Face to face with his own sporting mortality, he, as if desperate to recapture relevance, succumbed to regressive bullying instincts.
Harry Arter and Jonathan Walters, both injured, were chastised for having the temerity to follow medical advice and refrain from training. Obviously, Keane must share Jose Mourinho's medical code of ethics, as he deemed this an unacceptable breach worthy of vituperative condemnation. "I’m sick of people pulling out with injuries, what the f*** is wrong with ya?" thundered Keane as he excoriated the pair. Walters, an irascible figure himself, didn't take kindly to having his integrity questioned and squared up to his coach; the pair eventually having to be physically separated.
Tensions continued to simmer, again reaching boiling point when, some time later, Arter picked up a knock during a training session, which called for a return to the treatment table. Keane's response was again indignant, ‘When are you going to train you f****** p****?’, he chided Arter. "You’re a f****** p****, you’re a c*** you’ve been all your life" Keane continued, now so consumed by self ordained righteousness, that Arter's attempts to assuage the situation were treated with dismissive hauteur.
Keane's disposition lends itself to toxic masculinity, he is the hard man with the brittle ego, always seeking to reassert his dominance so as to mask his insecurities. Keane's response to his vindictive assault of Alf Inge Haaland in 2001 exemplifies an almost childlike morality of, as he describes it, "an eye for an eye". Haaland had "f***ed me over" so Keane "f***ing hit him hard". For a supposedly complex character, there is no subtlety of thought here; reasoned reconciliation is eschewed in favour of cowardly physical reprisal.
Even when reflecting on the past, his words are those of a self-mythologist, a fraud in his own skin who, so consumed by a public identity, in forgetting what he is angry about, remembers only that he should be angry. So used to bending others to his own will, Keane has now bent the laws of physics and reshaped them in his own image - the universe is now post-causal, effect is all there is.