Early Doors

Sympathy the Keano way

Early Doors

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When news broke that a huge match-fixing ring had tried to
influence 200 matches around Europe -
including three Champions League games - it was clear what everyone would be
talking about this afternoon.

Thierry Henry, obviously.

After a solid two-day diet of moralistic platitudes, Early
Doors needed a good blast of Roy Keane shake it out of its guff-induced coma.

Asked for his view on Wednesday's
World Cup robbery, Keane showed all the bonhomie that made him a favourite in
the Irish dressing room during his playing days.

In between bouts of haranguing a reporter whose mobile kept
ringing, he launched a staggeringly blunt tirade.

"They can complain all they want but France are going to the World Cup.
Get over it," he said.

"If I'd been there in the
dressing room after the game, I wouldn't
be talking about the handball. I'd
focus on why the defenders didn't
clear it. They should've cleared it.

"I'd be more annoyed with my
defenders and my goalkeeper than Thierry Henry. How can you let the ball bounce
in your six-yard box? How can you let Thierry Henry get goal-side of you? If
the ball goes into the six-yard box, where the hell is my goalkeeper? These are
skills and lessons you learn as a schoolboy.

had their chances in the two games and they never took them but it's the usual FAI reaction - 'we've been robbed, the honesty of the game...' It's

Thing is, he's right - in fact,
he was merely echoing sentiments voiced by Early Doors this morning. ED had no
idea he was such an avid reader.

Keano's old mucker Niall Quinn
was in no mood for realism, sobbing: "People talk about Maradona's
Hand of God goal but I'd say that
was the biggest injustice I've ever
seen in sport."

Although he did
have the good grace to add: "Maybe I feel it more because I'm Irish."

And Henry
himself has broken his near-silence, preposterously claiming his handball was
not deliberate.

He said: "I have said at the time and I will say again that yes I
handled the ball. I am not a cheat and never have been.

"It was an instinctive reaction to a ball that was coming extremely
fast in a crowded penalty area.

"As a footballer you do not have the luxury of the television to slow
the pace of the ball down 100 times to be able to make a conscious decision.

"People are viewing a slow motion version of what happened and not what
I or any other footballer faces in the game.

"If people look at it in full speed you will see that it was an
instinctive reaction."

He didn't mention whether instinct also made him celebrate
wildly and not let the ref know what he had done.

- - -

Wikipedia entry had a few obscenities added by a disgruntled Frenchman. It has since
been returned to its previous form and locked, but here's
a heavily-censored extract:

"Le ****" Henry (French pronunciation: [tjɛʁi ɑ̃ˈʁi]; born 17 August 1977) is a French **** footballer who plays for Spanish La Liga club Barcelona
and the ****ing French national team, predominantly
as a ****. Henry was born a **** and remains a ****.

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