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Roy Keane & Patrick Vieira – Best of Enemies

There has been mixed reaction to the recent documentary produced on ITV4 which brilliantly portrayed the intense rivalry between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira and analysed their respective glittering careers. It highlighted the vicious rivalry between the two veterans, yet mutual respect was evident throughout.

During the late 90’s and the beginning of the 21st century, arguably the two greatest leaders the English Premiership has ever produced were at the peak of their powers. Roy Keane was the leader of the glamorous Manchester United, a club steeped in tradition and success and few represented this culture better than the Cobh man. Public opinion is very much divided when it comes to ‘Keano’, but one cannot deny the impact of his no nonsense leadership abilities and outstanding footballing talents.

In the opposite side of the ring we had the elegant, yet athletic, Patrick Vieira. He achieved it all as a footballer, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, a terrific talent. His enormous ability, matched with his relentless desire to win and heart of a lion, Vieira was a true ambassador to the North London giants.

Manchester United were the Kings sitting on the throne, while the mighty Arsenal represented the Prince, ready to seize power at the first opportunity. Both men were managed by the two greats of the game; Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. However, their contrasting views on their tutors was incredible.

While Vieira oozed class and spoke of his fellow French man in the highest of regard, Keane failed to hide any of his emotions and spoke of the strained relationship between himself and Ferguson. In my opinion falling out with the greatest manager in the game doesn’t reflect well on Keane, but it is difficult not to have admiration for his brutal honesty. He is stern in his beliefs and had somewhat of a siege mentality but this is arguably what made Keane the success he was.

While Vieira was relatively more assured and exuded calmness. There was a sense of hurt to his conclusion with his beloved club but it was covered up in kind compliments to his colleagues throughout.

The most intriguing part of the documentary was that, even to this day, both men refused to give an inch in terms of stubbornness. They spoke with passion which was enthralling and absorbing. They reflected on memorable times like it was yesterday, they shared laughs but the fiery nature of both characters always prevailed. Without doubt there was no winner or loser to this documentary. Both men are similar in their ambitions but that is what made it an outstanding mix. I will let you make up your own mind on both men, as I certainly am still struggling to decide who my heart lies with.

Pundit Arena, Brian Doyle.

Featured Image By julien haler (originally posted to Flickr as _MG_4078) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Author: The PA Team

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