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Tug of an ungovernable temper lands Roy back in media glare he despises

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Roy Keane cuts a formidable figure and several Ireland players have revealed their wariness of the assistant manager

Roy Keane cuts a formidable figure and several Ireland players have revealed their wariness of the assistant manager

Roy Keane cuts a formidable figure and several Ireland players have revealed their wariness of the assistant manager

The wonder is it's taken this long for the words Roy Keane and 'road rage' to find one another.

Roy has never backwards in coming forwards in the face of any perceived slight. He has a temper that, in media terms at least, exists as some kind of multi-national treasure.

However, in the past his difficulties have usually centred on red cards or red mists rather than red lights.

We are being facetious of course, given that the exact detail of what unfolded in Altrincham yesterday is, as yet, unconfirmed. All we do know is that something moved Keane to climb out of his Range Rover at traffic lights and that police were subsequently called because "a man had behaved aggressively towards another man".

People will draw their own conclusions, naturally. Roy's track record licenses them to do so.

And coming, as the incident does, in the slipstream of reports alleging an attempt to confront Aston Villa player, Tom Cleverley, at his home ... not to mention the confrontation with an Irish supporter in Malahide last November that resulted in an ambulance being called to the team hotel … it doesn't paint the picture of an especially rational man.

Keane also delivered that extraordinarily angry outburst to journalists questioning him about the Malahide incident, adding fresh colour to a picture painted in his own book, 'The Second Half', of a man often powerless to the tug of his ungovernable temper. Keane talks in that book about the importance of staying "under the radar". Privacy palpably matters to him. He bristles at the more vacuous public expectations of a modern celebrity and remains naturally reticent with people.

Those who try to navigate the spiral staircase into his mind invariably fail because he has the intelligence to always read their intentions.

There is no doubting he has long been steeled against every gobby smartarse who will see in someone like Roy Keane the kind of bull worth goading with a cape. When your public persona is so faithful to tabloid caricature, it stands to reason you are a sitting duck for baiting.

Still, we don't yet know the circumstance of yesterday's incident.

Some reports speak of "shocked onlookers", a breed that - in the modern world - tends to morph effortlessly into that of citizen journalist with one jab of an iPhone button.

So maybe by the time you read this, Roy will be a YouTube sensation.

There was speculation that Keane and the other party, a taxi driver, were continuing an argument that had found its initial spark further up the street. Who knows?

All we can say with certainty is that this story adds to the cartoon world of Keane, a world which Martin O'Neill will - no doubt - be invited to wearily re-enter when meeting Irish media tomorrow.

Brace yourself too for speculation of Roy perhaps bringing the family home to Cork, fed up as he is with a gated life in Cheshire.

The more things change with him, the more they stay the same.

Irish Independent