Vieira’s brutal admission to Neville as he discusses infamous tunnel bust-up

    Patrick Vieira admitted he ‘couldn’t stand’ Gary Neville as he revealed the cause for his famous tunnel clash with Roy Keane.

    Premier League heavyweights Arsenal and Manchester United were bitter rivals since the league’s inception and tensions peaked in 2005.


    Keane and Vieira were involved in a feisty pre-match encounterCredit: Sky Sports Retro YouTube

    United beat the Gunners at Old Trafford earlier in the season to end their 49-match unbeaten run, with the latter unhappy over tackles and fouling during the match.

    Vieira made his feelings clear to Neville in the tunnel at Highbury in the reverse fixture and sparked a reaction from Keane, who shouted ‘See you out there!’ and said he should ‘keep his f****** mouth shut.’

    And 19 years after their spat, the pair reunited on the Stick to Football podcast to recall the incident and the former Arsenal captain made an honest admission.

    “The context of this is… we’re warming up before the game, this didn’t start here in the tunnel, I’m practising my headers, Patrick’s doing what he’s doing over there,” Neville said.


    “So I run down the tunnel at Highbury, tight tunnel, and I can hear like these thuds behind me and him [Vieira] shouting my name, ‘Oi you!’ or something like that.

    “He ran up behind me in the tunnel and he went. ‘You won’t kick our f****** players today,’ or something, do you remember that Patrick?”

    Vieira replied: “That was planned by me. Because of the nine years I spent there, I didn’t like you at all.

    “It’s true, honestly, I couldn’t stand you because you were just kicking everybody and especially Robert [Pires]. No [it wasn’t Phil Neville] it was him, I’m 100 per cent sure, and at that game I was just like, ‘I have to make you aware that today, you’re not going to touch Robert.’

    Tensions between the two club captains were clear to see before their crunch match


    Tensions between the two club captains were clear to see before their crunch matchCredit: Sky Sports Retro YouTube
    Neville was also involved and recalled the story on Stick to Football


    Neville was also involved and recalled the story on Stick to FootballCredit: The Overlap YouTube
    Vieira then admitted that he didn't like Neville at the time due to the rivalry


    Vieira then admitted that he didn’t like Neville at the time due to the rivalryCredit: The Overlap YouTube

    “Because I knew that was the plan for you because you struggled against Robert and it was like, ‘No, today I will have to tell you, leave him alone.'”

    He added: “I felt that you were over the top against him. Robert was really nice, he just stepped up but he’s too nice to complain. And I think at the time you went over the top and it was too much and it was too obvious.”

    Roy Keane recalls being chucked through a pub window, but still kept hold of his bottle of wine after just moving to Manchester United from Nottingham Forest

    Vieira then joked: “Obviously because of United controlling all the referees and all the stuff… so you had so much power that you were allowed to do what you really wanted to do.

    “So for me, I had it planned in my mind, it was like the warmup, I see you go into the tunnel, I will run after you. I saw you running, going into the tunnel, and I just ran behind you and I just wanted to make you aware that today will be different.”

    Keane also weighed in on the story when he said: “I came down and there was something going on, there was noises but I forgot the armband.

    “So that’s why I went back up the tunnel… but when I came back up the second time, I knew something had gone on, obviously what you said previously. I was quite relaxed with it actually, I was, because I never used to get involved in stuff in the tunnel.”

    He added: “I was agitated. My annoyance would be that you’ve gone after Nev, you’ve gone after Gary… but if you go after one, you go after all of us.”

    United went on to beat Arsenal 4-2 in a match that will live long in the history of the clubs’ iconic rivalry.

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