Zero tolerance? – The Arsenal fan who attacked Roy Keane at the Man United game should be jailed

Long term Just Arsenal readers will know every season I preach about a long-held issue in football about some grown adults feeling, in the confines of the sport, they enter this secret bubble where they can say and act however they wish.

I feel I have an obligation to use my platform to educate a younger generation, who have grown up thinking the measure of a supporter is how loud you can shout and how many swear words you use.

The latest example is a video emerging on social media of a man trying to headbutt Roy Keane at the Emirates on Sunday.

Whatever your opinion of Keane the player or the pundit, he doesn’t deserve to go to work and be attacked.

In 2023 people should feel safe in the confines of a stadium.

Arsenal are cooperating with the police, and it’s believed a 42-year-old male has been arrested. (ADMIN note – In fact he has now been accused in the Sun)

Given where he interacted with the Sky crew, these would not have been cheap tickets. (ADMIN again – he is a £2,500 hospitality season ticket holder)

Yet that’s the sad thing is, he’s most likely in a decent job with a family. He probably would never act like this in a supermarket or at the post office, yet thinks that a match day gives him licence to act like a thug.

If found guilty, Arsenal should post his details online. Let it cost him employment, let it take food off the table, let his loved ones read how he spends his weekends.

Both the club and the law will offer some sort of banning order but that’s not enough.

Have zero tolerance. Teach children that this behaviour warrants time in jail, because in what world is it okay to hurt someone based on you either not liking who they used to be employed by, and/or their opinions?

I never understood tribalism and believe it leads people on a dangerous path – as this proves.

You can love something but not have to say everything is perfect.

You can be emotionally invested, but still have a point of view that might not be positive.

I have been to Highbury, as well as our current home, I have had the honour of meeting Mr Wenger and ex Gunners. Yet it never enters my head that I have to act like a yob.

I don’t feel the need to throw a brick at the away coach, verbally abuse players or spout racial abuse online. But I also have an education. I can separate football from reality. Football is a comfort, an escape….

It shouldn’t impact your mind so much that you feel the need to be violent. How pathetic is that?

Imagine having to tell a judge, the reason I headbutted essentially a stranger is because he played for Man United. That might not be the reasoning but whatever it is, the motive will make little sense.

We keep pretending we don’t have issues in the UK but are quick to put our nose up to other countries.

How many players for example have to be racially abused before we force changes?

If that were Barcelona and Real Madrid and media personalities were being attacked, we would judge the Spanish game.

It’s a sad reflection on England’s national sport, as well as Arsenal, that a game broadcast around the world should have this happen.

Last year Arsenal players were criticised for not stopping to interact with mascots. The Lionesses were condemned for not greeting fans waiting at the airport.

Yet this will only make those opportunities rarer. Who’s going to want to communicate with the public if it’s dangerous?

Keane would never ask for this, but I bet his security is increased, and that even Sky abandon the idea of their coverage taking part pitch side.

Fans often stay on the side waiting for the interviews to finish so they can converse with players or pundits. Could you blame anyone from any TV station if they now refuse to be in that position?

If Arsenal now order stewards to keep fans apart from broadcasters, that would be understandable.

Football is a beautiful game but it’s just that …. a game.


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Tags Arsenal v Man United headbut Roy Keane


  1. Same should apply to Kean & other pundits. He provoked the fans & got the response he didn’t expect. This should be a learning lesson for all those unproffessional behaviour of pundits.

    If you come into my house and mock me or my family well then you should bear the brunt of actions.

      1. Daily mail reports has it that Kean was throwing tantrums and infuriating the fans with his words. We all know Kean on his day is anti Arsenal. He didn’t expect what he got. I don’t encourage huliganism but Pundits should do their jobs and avoid sentimental comments. The guy was jailed but after review of the situation he has been released on bail .Michael Recahrds a co Pundit on the day has refused to comment, which means a lot happened on the day. I also watched the brief video on Dailymail.

        1. Thanks. The attacker shouldn’t have taken the comments seriously, although both Keane and the attacker have to learn how to behave in public

    1. But arsenal not your house or your family
      Someone having banter about football isn’t the same as insulting your family nor does it warrant violence

      1. Insulting someone’s family *or anything else* doesn’t warrant violence. We might find it understandable, but at the end of the day, if someone decides to take an interaction from words to physical violence, they are in the wrong.
        Agree with your article, Dan. It’s worth making the point.

  2. Well said, enjoy.. cheer… boo….at the end of the game shake hands and leave it where it is.. it’s a game.. win, lose or draw.. it is a game

  3. Look at any local newspaper in this country and you will find that people commit far worse crimes than this and do not go to jail.

  4. Eric Cantona did a simular thing, when he jumped into the crowd and with his athletic legs and studded boots, kung fu kicked a fan, who was sitting down in the front stands.. He only got a 10 match ban or something, but was not jailed. We dont just jail poor people, everyone should be judged equally. I think he should receive the same sentence as Manu’s Eric Cantona did, all those years ago. We should find out the true facts first.

    1. Practice what you preach, the Crystal Fan ran down about ten rows to insult Cantona for being French and insulted his mother, the fan provoked him and the rest is history, so don’t make out he was merely sitting down.

  5. Don’t like Keane who makes too many cheap shots but I cannot condone some idiot headbutting him and he’s a Gooner. Banned for life!!

  6. So Dan, as an educated man, you are a judge and a jury as well. The video, does it show the alleged headbutt and what led to it ? The video I’ve seen just shows Micah Richards standing in front of the alleged headbutter.

      1. I’ll wait until the court decides before passing judgement, like any logical thinking person would do.

  7. “KICK OUT VIOLENCE, should be the message. Strangely enough that same message can be applied to Eric Cantona’s police charge title.!

    1. Kick out violence. Exactly why Keane who admitted trying to deliberately break an opponent’s leg should be banned from every football ground in the country not spewing his bile on national Tv

  8. sir i am not supporting the man for his action but what u are prescribing is too extreme it might have come from a rush of blood or anxiety he was unfortunately unable to control his emotions, if u have watched and studied the life of the man roy keane it is violence written over it and may attract such action and the premier league shud take their blame for not providing security for someone like keane but i dont pity keane at all if i remember what he did to this former man city skipper, ending his career that kind of man shuold not just be left freely rooming a stadium like emirate without security considering how many fans viewed him. am sorry if my statement is a bit harsh

  9. Controversy littered everywhere!!! I’d fully come to a conclusion when things been sussed out, could’nt care less given who the accuser is

  10. If Roy Keane hasn’t been jailed up to now I don’t see why his alleged attacker should be for less.

    Carragher spat on a baby girl and still roams free on this earth.

    These ex Man utd and Liverpool pundits should be jailed or banned just for their bias.

  11. Disgraceful article! The level of high-handed hubris that emanates from this utter trash is nauseating. Have you never made a big mistake before or acted massively out of character?

    You talk about public shaming, loss of career and taking food off his children’s plates. Have some compassion. If proved to be guilty, which is a big if, and you know absolutely nothing about the circumstances, he has clearly made a mistake but punishments should be proportionate. Your draconian mindset is completely out of touch.

      1. I didn’t ask if you had ever headbutted someone. I asked if you have ever in your life done something really stupid or out of character. I like to think I’m a good person but I have done some really dumb before.

        Absolutely crucifying someone for their mistakes isn’t what a tolerant society does, particularly when way worse happens every day and goes unpunished. When you allude to public shaming, loss of career and his children suffering that is utterly excessive and shows your lack of compassion.

        Also, you positioning yourself as some sort of social arbiter shows how deluded and conceited you are.

        1. No I have never broken the law
          Especially at something as trivial as a football match
          I pay for a ticket and manage to control my emotions

          1. Dan, you seem to be very good at answering questions that I haven’t asked. Across the span of your life, if you’re telling me you’ve never done something terrible before then you’re clearly a deluded narcissist. If you have done something terrible, isn’t it better to face a proportionate punishment and then try and atone or learn from it.

            When Ramsdale was kicked last season by a Tottenham fan, that fan received community service. Criminally speaking, you’re asking for a disproportionate sentence that isn’t usually given for a situation of this nature. Also, you’re asking for major social repercussions like loss of career and for his children to suffer.

            Why do you honestly think you are fit to be this man’s judge? He that is without sin and all of that…

            1. Yes mate I can honestly tell you In my life I have never broken the law
              The fact you find that to believe says more about you not me
              A mistake is , dropping someone’s very cup or being late for work
              Headbutting someone is not a mistake

              Love how you turned this man into a victim

          2. Dan
            I understand your views on the head but but I also understand the views of Chess
            I found your opinions slightly disturbing in places

              1. He wasn’t. He just said, more than once, that your proposed sanctions for his actions are completely over the top. They are. They also serve as a reminder as to why we have, eroded as it has been by the current govt, a trial by jury justice system based on evidence, guided by the law, and not by peoples emotions and prejudices. It’s not infallible by a long shot, but its better than the ‘string ‘im up by ‘is goolies for embarrassing my Arsenal’ that you want.

                1. Nothing to do with Arsenal
                  In 2023 you should be able to go to a stadium and not he attacked
                  If you don’t do the crime it doesn’t matter what the punishment is does it ?

                  1. Again, all you’re doing is deflecting. By your logic anyone who commits any crime should have their lives destroyed. You got carried away, made an ott comment, just man up and admit it. Oh, and quite right, no-one should be attacked anywhere, never mind at Arsenal. That does not mean that if someone does do something stupid they should be slapped down in a manner that is as bad as, or worse, than their alleged crime. That’s revenge, not justice.

                    1. Yes whoever attacks another human should go to jail?
                      Think that should be a deterrent
                      What am I deflecting from ?

    1. Chess you are right.
      The writer has also inwritting gone overboard just like the alleged fan misbehaviour. The Fan went too far to try headbud Roy.
      What was Roys contribution in all these. He should also be summoned.

      I liked what the pundists on Teli did during the game, Wrighty was asked to analyse Man U game while Peter Boleslaw did Arsernal. This brought in sober analysis which was so refreshing.

  12. Good news that he failed with the headbutt and actually hit Keane in the shoulder and breaking his own nose in the incident. I agree he needs jailing.

  13. Funny because what Keane did on the field to other players was WAY worse than a failed headbutt.

    I agree the fan should face potential jail time but then so should Keane for acts of violence far worse.

  14. It seems that people can attack who they when whether Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock being attacked, now this I am no fan of Keane as I recalled when he was playing for Forest, we were in a nightclub in Nottingham when my mate’s girlfriend bumped into him, his reaction was to draw his fist back to hit her, when Stuart Pearce stepped i and dragged him away, he is a thug, showed the same when sent home from the WC. Why risk getting banned for life and losing your season ticket over a twat like him. People are entitled to their views, if you don’t like it, move on. Too many people getting offended over nothing .I imagine he is already regretting it unlike the thug who kicked Ramsdale and got off lightly

  15. Have a fight on a Friday or Saturday night in town, get a slap on the wrist. Headbutt at football and people calling for imprisonment. In the words of Chris Kamara, unbelievable Jeff.

      1. Not ok is not the same as imprisonment.

        Listening to a YouTube video on a bus is not ok.

        Throwing litter on the street is not ok.

        Raping and torturing are not ok.

        These things are not in the same category.

  16. Without condoning any manner of violence, I personally would like to see the law applied equally and fairly. If an attack that does not result in any harm is punishable by imprisonment, then let it be.
    Roy Keane, of all people should know better than throwing provocative comments at anyone in a tense environment, being an extremely volatile character himself.

  17. Dan, once again you are prejudging and sentencing someone before the facts are known my friend.

    Look what happened when you accused Liverpool fans of being the guilty party at the CL final!!

    Now, if he IS found guilty, then he should be sentenced in line with the law on such behaviour.

    It doesn’t matter that he might be an Arsenal fan, ticket holder, white, black, young or old….the law should be the same for everyone.

    Who knows what provoked this action?
    We don’t need policing on JA, we need facts.
    Until they become clear, I’m not going to make any judgement, why don’t you?

    1. The only provocation that would excuse or warrant that kind of reaction is if Keane assaulted him first – who knows, maybe you are right and he did that, but if it was just some kind of celebration or banter, as seems likely, tbh then it’s no excuse.
      You are right though, this article should be seen in the context of “if we think what happened did actually happen” until we know more

      1. Davi, I remember Zidane, in a world cup final, being incensed about what was said regarding his mother – he headbutted the “man” who said this and got sent off.
        Now, if the ultimate professional could react in this way over words used, let’s agree that it could happen to anyone in the spur of the moment… no excuse, but an understanding of the power of words perhaps?

        1. Like I said above in a different response – it might be somewhat understandable, but the second a person raises the situation from words to violence, they are in the wrong. Zidane was absolutely in the wrong and very *stupid* to allow such obvious goding to cause him to be sent off in the world cup final and his last game.
          I reject the idea that violence is ever acceptable among adults except in self defence. The fact that Zidane was shown sympathy by so many is really sad to me – who cares what matterrazi said? Zidane showed poor character by rising to it in that way, and set a very bad example. Also ruined the final game of his incredible career.
          I don’t believe *anyone* would act the same if the right combination of words were said, aside from a direct and realistic threat of course. I honestly don’t think I’d ever act like that, frankly.

          1. Davi, even the most law abiding, sane and sensible people have reacted in situations that, on reflection, doesn’t fit in with their normal behaviour.
            Road rage? Someone threatening your nearest and dearest? Jealousy? Partners infidelity?
            Just a few examples for you (and Dan) to ponder on.

            I qualify for the first and second and admit I didn’t like myself afterwards, but it happens.

            If you say you can control your anger in these type of situations, then I applaud you.

            Until we know what occurred, it’s silly to condemn either party, but headbutting is a criminal offence – having watched the video, I can’t make out any kind of contact by the way.

            1. Ken, do you really not think I’d have considered events that can cause one to become emotional? If you can’t control your emotions to the point you need to start throwing fists or whatever, then you have a problem, and we shouldn’t make excuses for it. It’s part of being human, but we should all be able to control it – it’s called being civilised.

              1. As I said, I applaud you, but who said I was throwing fists?
                At the age of nearly 78, I can barely lift my arms up anyway!!!

                But I’m sure there will come a time when your remarkable self control will challenge your noble approach to being civilised.

                For me, it was some a******e cutting me up, while my three grandchildren were in the car and then braking so that we both stopped.
                This arrogant little s**t came out swinging, so I kicked him in the crutch and showed him my three crying grandchildren, kicked him up the a**e and drove away.
                Not very civilised you might say, but I got great satisfaction out of it at the time and I hope the twit will never cut anyone up in his car again.

                Of course I wouldn’t / couldn’t do it today, as I’d fall over!!

                1. Sounds you were in the right there, Ken – if someone comes out swinging, you have the right to use violence in response. Wouldn’t fault anyone for that!
                  If it turns out Keane did something aggressive (which could be as much as swinging a fist or as little as threatening to do so) towards the bloke who allegedly headbutted him, then I’ll say the headbutt was a reasonable response – I don’t think it’s very likely, but Keane has shown aggressive tenancies in the past, so it’s not outside the realms of possibility.
                  I wasn’t accusing you of throwing fists btw – just a turn of phrase that wasn’t aimed at you.

    2. Because I don’t believe Roy Keane , M Richards , cameras , youtube Footage is lying
      I never said who he supported
      That’s irrelevant
      You don’t headbutt someone

    3. Ken I have not seen the supposed video recording of this apparent incident .

      But as a decent citizen who believes in the rule of law and that any person is innocent UNTIL and UNLESS proven guilty, I have no intention to take sides in this debate. I hope to see the man given a fair trial and his guilt either decided, or not, as the case may be.

      I will gladly await legal justice and will NOT make my opinion known, as I DO NOT KNOW THE FACTS. .


  18. By the way Dan, following The Arsenal is a “tribal thing” just as it is for every fan who supports any team.
    That’s why the Emirates is becoming such a fortress, MA has instigated the fans to become one voice and the atmosphere is electric – long may it continue!!

      1. But you mentioned tribalism in your article, as if it was part of the problem didn’t you and said it proved it?
        I didn’t say it was a reason to attack someone did I?

        You also included the “fact” that he was a £2500 hospitality season ticket holder… are you suggesting that he’s a manure £2500 hospitality season ticket holder then?

        1. I never said he how much he paid
          I would assume he was an Arsenal fan though ?
          If you agree hes wrong to attack someone what’s the argument your trying to make

          1. You inserted the £2500 given by admin statement, as you also inserted the word tribal, as part of your article.

            I read it carefully Dan and I disagree with you, because you are, once again, being judge and jury without the facts.

          2. Simple really Dan, innocent until proven guilty – just as those Liverpool fans should have been, wouldn’t you agree?

  19. Really, we didn’t learn anything from the Paris incedent?
    Perhaps it would be better to wait for all the facts before jumping to conclusions and condemning someone?

        1. So ….just to clarify
          A witness and Sky Sports have lied about this headbutt because three decades ago the government and police were corrupt in covering up multiple deaths ?

          1. Dan, it took thirty odd years to get to the truth, despite the continued cover ups and lies.

            There were “witnesses” who said that fans were robbing the dead and dying mate and Sky is part of the group who own the Sun I believe…. so, once again, I urge you to wait until all the facts are known.
            Isn’t that the wise thing to do?

              1. Really! I think it’s disrespectful that you haven’t issued an apology to all those Liverpool fans you accused at the CL final.

                In all of the three examples, there was a “need” to apportion the blame, instead of waiting for the facts to appear.

                Let’s write an article once we know exactly what happened and what the punishment there will be, if any, shall we?

                1. Okay but if it turns out that he did attempt to head butt him then admit he’s wrong
                  If it turns out that Sky and witnesses have made this up , I will hold my hands up
                  Just doesn’t make sense why they would ?

                2. ‘Scott went to the concourse, saw him and headbutted him but he only hit his shoulder and did more damage to himself. He broke his nose and Keane didn’t seem to be hurt at all, just a bit shaken up.’

                  Friends of Law are said to have claimed that Keane had been hurling abuse at fans from the punditry studio, leaving Law fuming.

                  So that’s just made up ?

                  1. I don’t know, but I will wait and see – do you think this alleged headbutt is the same as the fan who kicked Ramsdale after the game at WHL?

                    1. Admin Pat, the fella who attacked Ramsdale was a 35 year old who was a manager of a pub. Hardly a youngster.

                    2. What has age got to do with it anyway?
                      If proven, both were acts of violence and it will be interesting to see what the sentences are in both cases.

                    3. For the record, he received a four year ban from all football grounds, ordered to pay £100 in compensation to Ramsdale and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid community work.
                      Let’s wait and see.

      1. People could be lying to protect their interests. As you suggested Man United have been doing regarding Mason Greenwood.

        I’m not talking about his guilt or innocence, simply saying that a rush to judgement can lead to disasterous consequences. Rather than automatically condemn someone, as you suggest that he should lose his job and not be able to feed his kids, perhaps it would be better to wait for all of the facts first.

        As Ken pointed out the French police tried to shift blame for the Paris final to the Liverpool fans, something that you also jumped on and embraced, which turned out to be completely unfounded. The fact that Sky is part of the News Corp group makes the Hillsborough/Sun comparison even more relevant.

        There is also no small amount of irony that Keane was the one attacked, given that he openly admitted to violently and intentionally injuring another professional. What was his punishment? A 5 match ban and fined a week’s wages. Now he’s allowed to work in football again as if nothing happened.

  20. According to reports,it happened just when Garnacho scored for UTD,they were all leaving early.if only he had waited(seen the goal disallowed and us win.)Ah well !!

  21. It’s all down to Keane and the Police. If the former presses charges the Police may consider threatening behaviour, and if so, the offender, if found guilty, could indeed face a prison sentence. The judge will then apply the reasonableness test, but also put the nature of the crime in context. In the latter case the judge may feel that a tough sentence is needed to deter such behaviour. I doubt many would disagree with them if they did. Pundits get on my proverbial with the absolute rubbish they talk every single week, every single year. That does not give me the right however, to threaten or actually assault one.

  22. As a final note, do we think the fan in question will recieve justice, or ‘Man Utd’ justice? According to Keanes own autobiography he’s been involved in two serious drunken altercations, one of which ended with him in the cells. In neither case does the book gloss over his own level of drunkenness, or his level of violence. Indeed in one case he proudly states ‘I gave as good as I got’ in a brawl in Dublin. But in neither case did he face charges after Sir Alex intervened. This is alongside Utd players walking away from serious driving offences, assault, alleged abuse of partners and so it goes on. Perhaps Utd could lend the Arsenal fan one of their legal team? Plus the fees? That way hes sure to walk, and Keane be made to apologise…

      1. See my previous post where I say exactly that. I was pointing out that Keane is hardly an exemplar, and that footballers get away with all bar murder. So, one rule for some…

  23. To be fair, this was a much younger man headbutting a sixty year old (even if it was Kean),
    so should be dealt with fairly in the courts , and in all probability will result in a fine at the most plus community service, unless of course this fellow has a violent history.
    Kean wasn’t hurt, although he could have been, and the headbutter reportably did more damage to himself. Doesn’t excuse him of course, and the likable Micah Richards saved the day.

    1. Facts, not rhetoric, tell us all the accused man was 42 and Keane was 52, not 60. Not that this changes anything, except incorrect rhetoric.

  24. I thought Kean looked good for his age. No surprises that the degree waving academic is on hand to correct me😜

    1. In all honesty, considering his violent youth (he comes from a rough area) his penchant for violence in his career, and his involvement in violence off the park, he looks very good indeed!

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