Roy Keane has expressed his shock at the Manchester bombing atrocity and also revealed his reservations about how much football can hope to achieve in the face of such horror, writes Liam Mackey.
The former Manchester United captain said: “When it happens on your doorstep it seems to hit home a bit more. Shocking. It’s the planet we live on. People go out to try and injure innocent people, children. Shocking.”
Keane, whose home is on the outskirts of Manchester, said of his first hearing news of the attack: “I knew where my family were. I knew they were at home. But you always know of people that might be there and thank God my family were not in that area at the time.”
Asked about how the city was coping in the aftermath, he said: “Manchester is a good city and obviously people will come together. I am not surprised by the reaction of the city in the last few days. Manchester has had its ups and downs like everything else. The reaction has been nice but it’s not going to bring the people back who have been killed or (help the) badly injured.”
Nor does Keane think that football can offer much in the way of solace at a time like this.
“I would not have thought so. When is a game of football going to benefit the people who died, people who lost people? No, I don’t get carried away that football can help in any situation like that.
“It kind of tells you how unimportant football is, in a sense. I know it has been quoted over the years that football is more important than life and death. That’s ridiculous, you know, when you see people being targeted like that. I’m the same as everyone else, it’s shocking.”
While some Manchester United players dedicated their victory in Wednesday’s Europa League final to the grieving city and its people, Keane has little faith in the sport’s ability to offer any kind of really meaningful succour in such brutal circumstances.
“When there is a game, unfortunately you do just have to get on with life, you have to get on with these things,” he said.
“Thinking that a sporting occasion or winning a trophy will at some stage help people who have been killed or lost people, that wouldn’t work for me, I know that.
“But you have to get on with normality, which is shocking really after the scenes. All you can do is to send your thoughts to the people who have been suffering.”
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.