Mark Clattenburg has described his first run-in with Roy Keane and it’s what you might expect of the former Man United captain, writes Stephen Barry.
The Durham referee was elevated to the English top-tier by the age of 29 but admits he had needed extra time in the lower leagues to prevent himself being “bullied and manipulated”.
However, his first time crossing Keane on the field went in favour of the United hardman.
“Even in the Premier League, I still smile at the first time I ever came across Roy Keane,” said Clattenburg.
“He screamed at us for a corner and I’m sure it was a goal kick but because he screamed at us so loudly, I gave a corner. I was that petrified of him.”
Clattenburg has also admitted he allowed Tottenham to “self-destruct” to avoid negative headlines as Spurs lost their last shot at the 2016 title in a bad-tempered 2-2 draw with Chelsea.
Clattenburg, who left the Premier League in February to become Saudi Arabia’s head of referees, spoke about his development in the lower league too.
“When I was in the Football League, I was not ready at 24 or 25. I was about to be elevated to the Premier League at 28 and knew I wasn’t ready and needed that one more season to gain more experience.
“When I got to the Premier League, players liked my style, I liked to talk. I was a typical northern person who would prefer to speak [rather] than dish out cards. The players loved us.
“When I got into the Premier League, it was like breath of fresh air – the clubs, the media, I was their darling. It was like, ‘Woah, this is something different.’
“This is something that they wanted a referee to be like, they wanted someone to manage to game rather than just give out yellow cards.”