Roy Keane gestures to meet fan outside after banter turned aggressive – court

Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane gestured towards an Arsenal fan during a football match to “meet him outside” after “banter turned more aggressive”, a court has heard.

Scott Law, 43, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault against Mr Keane relating to an incident on September 3 last year following Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United.

The ex-Ireland international, who was working as a pundit for Sky Sports, was allegedly headbutted through doors at the Emirates Stadium by Law, of Waltham Abbey, Essex.

Law’s defense team alleged that CCTV footage from inside the stadium, shown in court, displayed Mr Keane elbowing the defendant in the face.

Under cross-examination, the police officer in charge of the case told Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Thursday that there may have been contact from Mr Keane, but it “does not look like a deliberate elbow to the face”.

Referring to the footage, defense barrister Charles Sherrard KC asked the officer: “What possible explanation can there be for raising your elbow at that speed to hold someone?”

Detective Constable Phil Dickinson, from the Metropolitan Police’s sporting investigations unit, replied: “In my opinion, he’s gone to record hold of him.”

He added: “There may have been contact, but it does not look like a deliberate elbow to the face in my opinion.”

Mr Sherrard said this was “absolute nonsense” and accused the officer of “lying”, alleging that police “had done nothing” to investigate evidence pointing away from Law, who was sat beneath the Sky Sports studio at Arsenal’s stadium during the game.

Law’s defense team alleged on Wednesday that Mr Keane was captured on camera using “gratuitous violence” against Law by “smashing his nose” with his elbow.

Mr Sherrard asked the former Ipswich Town manager: “How are you stopping someone getting away with an elbow to the face?”

Mr Keane replied: “That’s to stop him getting away. I’m trying to record him.

“I’ve got bags in my hands, I was trying to grab him to stop him from getting out.

“I must have said nine or 10 times: ‘Someone call the police’.”

Mr Sherrard alleged that “the red mist descended” on Mr Keane after a VAR decision went against Manchester United towards the end of the match and he was taunted by home supporters.

Addressing the former Nottingham Forest player, Mr Sherrard said: “You chose to confront him. When you saw him, you said: ‘Say it to my face you fat c***’.”

Mr Keane replied: “I said that when I was at work? “Disagree.”

Further CCTV footage shown in court on Thursday appeared to show Law exiting and running away from the Emirates Stadium on the day of the incident.

In a prepared statement given to police on the day following the incident, Law said: “Throughout the match there was what I would regard as banter between me and Mr Keane.

“The banter turned more aggressive with Mr Keane gesturing towards me to meet him outside.”

Law said in the statement that he was an “avid football fan” and had seen Mr Keane act violently before on the football pitch, adding that he was “scared” at the time of the incident.

He said during a “natural break in the game” he went to use the toilet and was approached by Mr Keane in a “very aggressive manner”, adding: “His face looked angry.”

Law said in the statement that he moved his head forward in a “pre-emptive strike” to defend himself against the former Sunderland manager.

The court was shown a custody photo of Law from September 4 2023 in which he appeared to have an injury to his nose.

Following the match last year, footage was widely shared on social media of ex-Manchester City footballer and Sky Sports pundit Micah Richards stepping in to calm an apparent confrontation.

Dc Dickinson said police were unable to trace who filmed the footage, which was shown in court, adding: “It had been retweeted so much.”

The trial continues.

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