‘Patrick Vieira: Clash with Man United Stars’

‘Patrick Vieira: Clash with Man United Stars’

Patrick Vieira has revealed the truth behind his famous bust-up with Manchester United’s player ahead of their Premier League showdown with Arsenal at Highbury in 2005.

Arsenal and United dominated the opening years of the Premier League following its inception in 1992, winning 11 of the first 12 titles between them, making every game between the clubs a must-watch event.

But there was added spice when they met in February 2005 after United had ended Arsenal’s 49-match unbeaten run in the league earlier in the season, with the Gunners unhappy at some of the treatment of their players at Old Trafford.

Vieira took it upon himself to make his feelings clear prior to the return match at Highbury, as he famously clashed with Roy Keane in the tunnel before kick-off. He recently reunited with Keane and Gary Neville to speak about exactly what happened that night.

Speaking on The Overlap, brought to you by Sky Bet, Neville explained: ‘The context of this is that we’re warming up before the game and I run down the tunnel at Highbury, and I can hear thuds behind me all of a sudden, and Patrick shouting my name, “Oi you”, or something like that. 

Patrick Vieira (left) and Roy Keane (right) famously clashed in the Highbury tunnel in 2005

Vieira admitted he had earlier confronted Gary Neville (right) and that he could not stand him

Vieira admitted he had earlier confronted Gary Neville (right) and that he could not stand him

‘He ran up behind me in the tunnel and said, “You won’t kick our f*cking players today”, or something like that.’

Vieira responded: ‘That was planned by me. Because of the 9 years I spent at Arsenal, I didn’t like you at all. It is true, I couldn’t stand you at all [Gary Neville] because you were kicking everybody, and especially Robert [Pires] when he was there. 

‘In that game I was like I must make you aware that today you are not going to touch Robert – I knew that was the plan for you because you struggled against Robert.

‘That day I had to tell you to leave him alone. I felt that you were over the top against him. Robert was nice, he was too nice to complain, and I felt at that time you went over the top, it was too much, and it was too obvious. 

‘Obviously, because of Manchester United controlling all the referees, you had so much power you were allowed to do what you really wanted to do, so I had it planned in my mind. 

‘In the warm-up, if I saw you going into the tunnel, I would run after you. I saw you running, and I just ran behind you and wanted to make you aware that today would be different and something that wasn’t going to happen.’

Neville then revealed that he returned to the dressing room to prepare for the match and told some of his team-mates what Vieira had said to him, which led to Keane becoming ‘agitated’, giving Vieira a piece of his mind and pointing his finger at the Gunners captain in the tunnel as he told him ‘see you out there’.

‘I came out and I knew there were noises,’ Keane said. I forgot my armband so that’s why I had to go back up the tunnel. 

‘When I came back out the second time, I knew that something had gone on, and I remember what you [Gary] told me previously.

‘I was agitated. My annoyance was that he went after Gary – you go after one, you go after all of us.’

Tempers flared in the tunnel, and that spilt out on to the pitch in a high-octane match that produced six goals and saw United reduced to 10 men.

Vieira put the incident behind him to give Arsenal the lead after just eight minutes, but United hit back 10 minutes later through Ryan Giggs.

Arsene Wenger’s men went back in front before half time thanks to Dennis Bergkamp, but United turned the game on its head after the break with two goals in four minutes from Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Red Devils has Mikael Silvestre sent off with just over 20 minutes to go, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s side held on and then sealed a 4-2 win with a late strike from John O’Shea.

The damaging defeat ended Arsenal’s hopes of defending their title as Chelsea went on to win the league by 12 points under Jose Mourinho, but the Gunners did finish second, six points clear of United. 


Gary Neville, Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane were speaking on The Overlap, brought to you by Sky Bet


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *