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Sunderland manager Roy Keane has warned that football has lost its soul and accused overpaid players of not even being in love with the game.
The former Manchester United captain, who takes his side to Premier League leaders Arsenal tomorrow lunchtime, reeled off a whole list of issues which he says are threatening the game in this country and alienating ordinary fans.
"I believe that there are lots of players in the game these days who do not love football. You're going to say: 'That's amazing', but it's true. There are people playing football and it's not that important to them.
"Maybe they've had it easy and the clubs have been too quick giving out contracts. Nobody begrudges the top players getting a few bob but it's when average players are getting a fortune and driving a big car without having done anything that people start asking questions. Everybody has to take responsibility for that.
"I was at Nottingham Forest for three years before I would even have dreamed of asking Brian Clough for a pay rise. And he would have knocked me out. He would have said: 'Who do you think you are?' Now a player plays for six games and their agent is straight on the phone."
Keane said higher wages, the dominance of the Premier League's top four, variable kick-off times, the invasion of foreign players, gamesmanship and diving were driving a wedge between fans and clubs.
The Sunderland boss was reiterating the warning from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger last week after he blamed foreign owners and investors for ruining the game.
Sunderland have attracted new owners from Ireland in the last year but Keane said he, chairman Niall Quinn, his Irish backers and the Sunderland squad have all worked hard to rebuild and maintain links with the local community.
But he is worried for the future.
"The game is changing and it's a lot colder," he said. "You see a lot of the clubs being sold and football is not the game I knew 10 years ago. It's sad to see. Maybe it's up to the managers to do something about that and keep the identities of their clubs intact. Football has lost its soul and it's definitely for the worse.
"Clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool do as much for their local communities and charities as anyone but sometimes, though, clubs lose what they're all about. The club I signed for was different from the club I left. That's why I don't really miss playing."
It takes quite something to get Keane all misty-eyed about his playing days, but reflecting last night on his sparring days with former Gunners captain Patrick Vieira, the Irishman admitted he misses the clashes with United's old title rivals the most.
"They were brilliant," he said, smiling as he recalled the infamous tunnel spat with Vieira at Highbury.
"We've talked about Liverpool, Leeds and City but United against Arsenal was always the game for me.
"They were fantastic games, the best. United against Arsenal... if I could go back for one game, that would be it. It was a brilliant rivalry, between the fans, the players and the managers. You would give anything to be playing in one of those games again. But those rivalries have gone even now. They still want to beat each other, but there's not the real intensity."
Keane, on his first visit to the Emirates, also bemoans the top four's grip on the Premiership and the cash riches from League and Champions League success.
He said: "There is possibly too much money around. It's sad, isn't it? But the big four will get bigger and they'll only go away from the other teams. That's the vicious circle we're in. They will continue to get into Europe and that will give them big money.
"That's where the game has lost its soul. I don't think the strength in depth in the Premier League is as good as it was four or five years ago.
"It's a tough league, but I still think it was more competitive three or four years ago. A lot of it is down to the players, they're different characters now.
"I'm not being critical of foreigners, but players' behaviour is different. I know people will say that's something coming from me, but every time they're touched they seem to go down.
"You see players rolling around and players trying to get other players booked. Managers and coaches are even trying to get other players booked.
"I don't begrudge any player a penny because it is a short career, but if you're getting that much and you're not in the team, you can take things for granted and that's when you lose it. That's where you lose the love of the game."