Monday 17 June 2019

'He was scary' - Former referee Graham Poll opens up on how he tried to control Roy Keane

Graham Poll and Roy Keane
Graham Poll and Roy Keane
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former Premier League referee Graham Poll has revealed he used to try and make Roy Keane laugh in a bid to control him during his days as Manchester United's talisman and leader.

Poll was famously in charge as Keane clashed with Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira in the runnel ahead of a game at Highbury back in 2005, as he admitted the Irishman was one of the most challenging players he came up against during his time as one of the world’s highest profile match official.

"Roy Keane was a strong, strong player," Poll told BT Sport. "He would dominate his own team as well as the opposition and therefore the referee as well, by his sheer will.

"I don't think he would ever try to con you or cheat you, but there was just something about him, an almost immovable force about Roy that you just thought, bloody hell. And he was scary."

Poll went on to confirm his tactics controlling high profile players was to try to develop a rapport with them, as he suggested Keane responded positively when he was engaged by a referee.

"I tried to get on his wavelength, and I tried to make Roy smile when I could see some anger rising in him," added Poll.

"I refereed Manchester United 57 times, so you've got the chance to establish some kind of rapport and relationship and that is what I tried to achieve."

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