Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira and Gary Neville have all given their accounts of what happened in the Highbury tunnel 16 years ago.
The trio of Keane, Vieira and Neville are currently on punditry duty for ITV Sport for Euro 2020, and were asked by host Mark Pougatch about what really happened before Manchester United’s game against Arsenal in 2005.
Former Arsenal man Vieira was the first to be called upon to recall his version of events, explaining that as Gunners’ captain he felt it was his responsibility to lay down a marker with Neville.
Patrick Vieira’s version of events.
“I think it all started with Roy losing his temper,” Vieira began.
“Before that, it was the rivalry between the two clubs. I think as an Arsenal player you always wanted to play against the best. At that time, United were the best team.
“It was challenging, it was tough, it was difficult. Obviously Gary… one of his strengths was intimidating players. At that time I was getting really frustrated about the number of challenges and the aggression he was giving to Arsenal players.
“So as a captain and as a leader I wanted to put him under pressure a little bit.”
Gary Neville: ‘He is chasing me up the tunnel screaming at me.’
Next it was Neville’s turn to tell the viewers what had led to the events in the Highbury tunnel.
“Before we got into the tunnel to go out for the game, coming in from the warm up [Vieira] is chasing me up the tunnel screaming at me,” Neville explained.
“So I go into the changing room and sit down next to Denis Irwin and said, ‘Vieira’s a bit annoyed. He’s just basically chase me up the tunnel.’
“Obviously I sat next to Denis and Roy was next to Denis so Roy heard that.”
Roy Keane on getting ‘a little bit irritated’ in the Highbury tunnel.
Last but certainly not least, Keane explained what he was trying to do at the time.
“To be honest, I was trying to mind my own business. Honestly I was just focused on the game, quite calm and getting in the zone,” Keane said.
“Gary was a little bit upset and he seemed a bit worried. I think I said to Gary, ‘Just forget it about it. Obviously we need to focus on the game.
“Then of course Patrick wouldn’t let it go – typical Arsenal bully. Then he started again in the tunnel just before the game started. That’s where I kind of got a little bit irritated.”
You can see Keane getting “a little bit irritated” in Sky Sports’ video of the incident in the Highbury tunnel below.