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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."



 

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Maybe because all his players are shit doesnt mean all players have "lost soul" in football. Neville, Rio, Rooney, Ronaldo all play with there heart on there sleave, and I can only think of a few who are just out to get money *cough*ADRIANO*cough*
 

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The man has a point. Gives me goosebumps every time I see that clip in he tunnel. Keane was taking no shit that day. You could say we won the game in the tunnel that day.
 

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Justice said:
Maybe because all his players are shit doesnt mean all players have "lost soul" in football. Neville, Rio, Rooney, Ronaldo all play with there heart on there sleave
There will always be exceptions, but "as a whole" I agree with Keane. The game isn't what it used to be
 

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keano makes a lot of good points (as always) but i think FIFA are to blame for the way football as changed by almost making the game a none contact sport.

when keane and viera are grabbing each other by the throat at library you would get sent off for that now, total bull s...
 

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Good point.

A battle between 2 people without physical contact isn't fun at all. I think they call this "Marriage" :D
 

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The English Premiership star rivals, Keane and Vieira. I mean those two could be just as entertaining as any two great boxers in the ring. Never mind pizzas or bowls of soup, who needs food when you have those two.

I don't think the Premiership could have ever been the same if Keane and Vieira hadn't popped in and joined rival clubs. Even if the match was not great those two could make up for it any day.

When Vieira left for pastures new, it was strange. What would the Premiership and most of all Arsenal and Manchester United fans do without them have there physical battles or words of war. Then Keane and as you would expect retired from football in style! The whole Arsenal and Man Utd rivalry lost a bit of its touch for me.

I just hope one day they will meet again on rival sides and kick off just for old times sake! A Keano, an absolute legend, witha fighting spirit that will never die.
 

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I agree AG. The Keane-Vieira rivalry was so good for football. I actually went out and bought Vieira's book because there is a whole chapter on United and he goes on about Keane quite a bit. It was an interesting read. The amount of respect he has for Keane is unreal. Despite their many battles and fights they still really respected eachother hugely. He hates RVN though, with a passion I might add.
 

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The topic of the game losing its soul is one near and dear to me. Keano along with the enemy Arsene Wenger is right. The game is losing its soul and we must retain our Football values particularly in England where it seems to be more and more a HUGE cash grab theres not as much passion as there used to be. Old Trafford being a perfect example of a passionless ground. Look at the last CL match against Roma. Couldn't have been a more prawn sandwich crowd if they tried. Sitting on their hands "waiting to be entertained" its killing the beautiful game more importantly its killing the soul that is "UNITED"
 

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Jazz 16 said:
I agree AG. The Keane-Vieira rivalry was so good for football. I actually went out and bought Vieira's book because there is a whole chapter on United and he goes on about Keane quite a bit. It was an interesting read. The amount of respect he has for Keane is unreal. Despite their many battles and fights they still really respected eachother hugely. He hates RVN though, with a passion I might add.



Why does he have such hatred for RVN?
 

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Anderson's God said:
[/B]


Why does he have such hatred for RVN?
he called him a cheat and a diving cnut, which was rich coming from a team mate of the world freestyle diving champ mr robert pires
 
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