What the hell am I talking about? I am talking about a young man. A young man who left Ireland some 15 years ago or more. No it's not me, I am only out of there 2.5 years,(god is that all???).
This is a young man who grew up in an area steeped in Irish political history. He would have grown up with anti-british establishment sentiment. Pro IRA sentiment? Undoubtedly, but the type of which is not often spoken about.
This young man went to England like many before him to ply his trade and his skills, which were discovered in his native home. Perhaps he struggled with thoughts of Irish history and the fact he was now in England making a living. Surely this must have cost him some conflict at an emotional level. Like many others, his skills became honed around the streets and fields of England, the Empire, the mainland, or in other political colours , the oppressor, the colonial power, the cause of all our suffering and pain, and the unfair and racist.
What? The good ol UK racist? Ol Blighty unfair?
True, by the 1980's they had gotten rid of the signs that read 'No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish' but unfortunately not the mentality.
I am sure the aforementioned IRA did not help rid the English minds of their preconceptions, but perhaps they(the English) could have asked more questions, before it got to the stage where people felt the need to use bombs to get a vote. It's not like an Irish man got out of bed one day and thought 'what will I do today? hmmn 10 pounds of semtex seems like a good idea, hmmm, now if only I had somewhere to plant it. Pity my neigbours are so nice. I'll just get rid of it' I am digressing and being facetious, sorry.
Into this world of hidden and un publicised prejudice the young Man entered and he was soon rated at the top of his game, first in his league, and perhaps, the best value for money in his sector. However, given that he was Irish, well, it worked against him a little.
Those sort of taunts that many people use in a semi affectionate way with their familiars, would not have been understood as a joke by our young footballer. In fact they probably spurred him on to do better than he would have normally done, in order to show his contemporaries that he was as good as they, he had as many bones in his backside, he could do just as well, and his being had just as much right to be there as theirs did. After all he was only a teenager and very alone in a very big town.
To be the employee of two of the most vocal, hardnosed, and generally old school, tough, no time for fools, managers in the business, might also have helped to contribute to the player that this young man became.
Perhaps the taunting made him ashamed of what his country had failed to achieve on the world stage and spurred him on to do more. Either way the boy had a self belief and rightousness in him that is rare. Yet it is something I and many Irish people identify with. He also had a very bad temper and was given to fits of what was perceived as petulance. I also understand that too. It in fact comes from a deep frustration at the percieved shortcomings of those around you. The realisation that perhaps the goals you set yourself will not be achieved as long as you're dependent on others.
We get to a stage where Roy Keane is considered as one of the best footballers of his time in his position, bar er, well bar who? However this is not what he is remembered for. He is remembered for trying to hurt someone who previously tried to hurt him, only, Roy admitted it. He was honest and apparently was the first person to try to hurt another human being in history. He is remembered for being outspoken, like both his manangers, he is remembered for rowing and fighting with those around him because they didn't believe they could be the best and so they didn't really try.
Finally he even walks out on a team that really didn't need him (love him?) any more. It was as one football pundit a divorce that came from the marriage made in heaven.
Through out his career there were those who took him to court, who accused him of beating them up, of rape, of assault. Not one of these accusations stood up in a court of law. Not one. Now I wonder why that happened? It couldn't be just because he was Irish and brilliant could it?
Finally, the man who had as many, if not more column inches written about his personality as he did his skill, hangs up his boots.
Those enlightened minds who write on message boards all over the UK think to give him a tribute. 'Inbread Irish Scum'was one such comment. This was censored, however the policers of the bbc.co.uk message boards didn't see fit to get rid of 'potato eating scum'. Now if the guy was black and it was banana's I am sure the message wouldn't have seen the light of day. Many messages were posted about his character and many of them, the same messages refered to him being Irish. Sorry guys but Boyzone and Miss World before last were Irish too. So too was the last James Bond, Daniel Day Lewis, and Oscar Wilde. As are U2 and Rory Gallagher when he was alive. Yes so is Sinead O Connor and she spoke out against the influence of both Church and British State in way that perhaps Roy Keane wanted to but couldn't.
See whatever you think of Roy Keane, well I don't care what you think of him, I never met him and I don't know him. However, when you reference what you think of him because of his race or national identity, then you become part of the monster that stalks not just Old Trafford, but many other football grounds and places of employment. It is currently stalking the deserts of the middle east and the streets of the U.S. in relation to Islam and Muslims.
As an adendem, an addition and a P.S., next time you tell me I am English and I tell you that I am not, and you tell me that it's all the same, I will force you at gunpoint (yes your eyes are seeing it ) to read history from an Irish point of view. Because honestly, I am sick and tired of explaining it nicely. And they guy who was in my house the other night at my girlfriends party and said 'Oh dear' when an Irish girl said she was Irish, well I am sorry I was so nice to you and didn't throw you over the balcony, you upper class twat.
Cromwell was a bastard. There was no famine in Ireland, the brits just starved a million people and forced a million others to emigrate, and did their best to keep the rest in ignorance. In the small portion of Ireland that they refuse to give back they installed an apartheid regieme until sometime in the 1980's. Now that we know it we can do something about it. We don't have to cry out and say oi! anti-celtic or anti Irish or whatever at the slightest reference. We do however have a huge responsibility to accept what happened in the past instead of closing our eyes like a family that is psychologically ill. We must accept our pain and abuse and not be like the child that refuses to accpet is has been treated like shit by it's parents.
Much and all as I appreciate his contribution to his sport, it is nuts to be driven to greatness because people don't accept you as their equal.
We cannot either close our eyes to what still happens,once again it needs to be accepted by both Irish and English alike. Acknowledged as having happened, happening and being wrong. Then and only then will Irish people will be free, and the Monster of Old Trafford will be dead and truly buried.
The real P.S. Roy Keane thanks for all your skill and commitment. It's been a blast.
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