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When Roy Keane And Vinnie Jones Met On The Pitch In Ultimate Battle Of Football's Hardmen

When Roy Keane And Vinnie Jones Met On The Pitch In Ultimate Battle Of Football's Hardmen

Forget King Kong vs Godzilla or Batman vs Superman, the ultimate battle between behemoths happened in 1994 when Vinnie Jones and Roy Keane locked horns.

Jones was in his second spell with Wimbledon, while a young Keane was in the middle of his first season at Manchester United after arriving from Nottingham Forest.

They met in a tasty FA Cup fifth round tie on a mucky pitch at Selhurst Park 27 years ago and as expected, Jones and Keane had quite the midfield battle.

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Some of the tackles flying in were just absolutely insane. Jones did Keane early doors and the Irishman simply got back up and took the free-kick he had just won.

Welsh international Jones then tried to headbutt Keane down below seconds after a two-footed lunge from John Fashanu on Paul Parker and was once again unpunished.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Still in the first half, he produced a horror tackle to hack down talisman Eric Cantona, who displayed a remarkable level of calmness to not retaliate - especially when he reacted by kung-fu kicking a fan at the same ground a year later.

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On this occasion, however, the charismatic Frenchman was cool as a cucumber scored a glorious volley to open the deadlock in a 3-0 win.

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The uber dependable Denis Irwin also scored a fine goal, following up another second half strike from Paul Ince nine minutes prior.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side went on to win the Premier League and FA Cup double that season, blitzing Chelsea 4-0 with all goals coming in the second half at Wembley.

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Years later, Jones said Keane wasn't at the top of the tree when it came to ranking the hardest players he'd shared a pitch with.

"To the honest Roy didn't make a lot of noise when I played him - I don't really remember a tackle," he wrote in an EasyOdds column.

"A fantastic footballer, yes, and a man I like and respect, but I'd have him well below Billy [Whitehurst] in the pecking order, and below Steve McMahon and Bryan Robson too."

Being honest, we're still wondering how Jones wasn't sent off in that fixture. He'd be dismissed every week if he was playing in today's game, with VAR in effect.

Topics: Football, Manchester United, Wimbledon, Roy Keane

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Josh Lawless

Josh is a sports journalist who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.