The Premier League’s record goalscorer has opened up on an infamous clash with a Red Devils legend which made headlines 19 years ago
Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer has revisited a fierce encounter with Manchester United during which he came to blows with Roy Keane, insisting he did the midfielder like a “kipper” as tempers boiled over.
Back in September 2001, United were very much the dominant force in English football having won three titles on the bounce with Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm.
However, their pursuit of an unprecedented fourth successive top-flight crown hit a snag when they visited St James’ Park, as they came up against a well-drilled Newcastle side vying for Champions League qualification under the late Bobby Robson.
The Magpies earned a hard-fought 4-3 win over the Red Devils, who saw club captain Keane sent off in the closing stages of the match for throwing a punch at Shearer.
It appeared that the Newcastle legend was attempting to get a rise out of the Irishman, who was already visibly frustrated that the game was slipping away from United.
Shearer admitted as much while speaking on the Match of the Day podcast over the weekend, recalling how he lured Keane into his “little trap”.
“Yeah, I didn’t like him. I had loads of rucks with him and I wasn’t the only one,” Shearer began. “It was a throw-in in the far corner where I stopped him taking an early throw.
“We were beating them at St. James’ and he wanted to take a quick throw-in and he’d been at me all game as he normally was. It was about three or four minutes before the end of the game. I can’t remember exactly what I said, I called him some sort of name.
“He got the red card and I remember having a little smile and thought: ‘I’ve done you [like] a kipper here. I can’t believe you’ve fallen into that little trap.’ “
Tensions between the two teams erupted after the final whistle, with players and staff squaring up to each other as they entered the tunnel, and Shearer remembers preparing himself to resume hostilities with Keane away from the pitch.
“And I can see him [in the tunnel],” Shearer continued. “The steam was coming out of his ears, and then the final whistle goes and I’m thinking: ‘Do I run straight off? Do I try and get up there?’
“Because I knew for a fact that Roy would be waiting at the top of the tunnel. So I don’t know, I say thanks and shake hands and what have you and there’s this big commotion going on and I look up and there’s Roy, he’s waiting for me at the top of the tunnel.”
The two men were ultimately kept apart, but when asked if he fancied his chances in any potential confrontation, Shearer responded: “Yeah, I’d have been alright.”
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