NICK JACKSON: Keane in minority of one over Nani red card
11:00pm Friday 8th March 2013 in Sport
IT has been an appalling week for Manchester United. More to the point, it’s been a week in which any right-thinking football fan should be appalled.
To say the red card Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir gave to Red Devils’ Portuguese winger Nani on Tuesday night was controversial is putting it rather mildly.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Manchester United fan. But when an English club are playing in the Champions League against opposition from Europe, I automatically support them, be it Manchester United, Manchester, City, Arsenal, Chelsea, or, I will wager next season, Tottenham.
And I’m no fan of the way the United boss Sir Alex Ferguson generally conducts himself with match officials or the media.
For once, however, I found myself internally applauding his decision to boycott the obligatory post-match press conference after Mr Cakir had single-handedly turned the tie on its head with what proved to be the pivotal sending off following Nani’s collision (I won’t even call it a tackle) with Alvaro Arbeloa.
This, even though UEFA have started disciplinary proceedings against United for the after-match no show.
Like almost everyone in the stadium and watching on TV, I was stunned by the decision which was, in my view, I say again, appalling.
I say almost everyone, because there was, of course, on the ITV pundits’ panel, the brooding Roy Keane – the only one for miles around who thought Mr Cakir got it right.
If anything good comes out of this it is that Keane has been discredited for his stance and his days as a pundit may be numbered, although that is unlikely.
Former Manchester United great Paddy Crerand, who, unlike Keane, actually played for the Old Trafford club in a (then) European Cup final, summed it up perfectly when interviewed by BBC Radio Five Live claiming Keane “was in a minority of one”.
“Does he want to be noticed or is he envious, or got the needle with Manchester United?” asked Crerand.
Former Red Devils midfielder Bryan Robson also had his say: “I’m glad Keane didn’t take up refereeing as a profession.”
A colleague of mine commented that if such decisions are made when players try to connect to high balls with their feet, attempting an overhead shot at goal could be deemed a sending off offence.
How stupid would that be?