Keane - the hardest of them all

IPSWICH Town boss Roy Keane has been voted the “hardest footballer of all time” - despite hanging up his boots almost three years ago.

IPSWICH Town boss Roy Keane has been voted the “hardest footballer of all time” - despite hanging up his boots almost three years ago.

Former Manchester United midfielder Keane beat ex-Chelsea hatchetman Ron 'Chopper' Harris to claim the title in the poll.

Only three current players made the top 20 - Chelsea captain John Terry, Birmingham's Lee Bowyer and Juventus midfielder Patrick Vieira.

Another former Stamford Bridge star Vinnie Jones, now a Hollywood actor, came third and Spurs stalwart Dave Mackay was fourth.


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Dennis Wise - the fourth Chelsea player to make the top 20 - completed the top five.

Nick McBoyle, managing director for www.sportingfix.com, said: “Roy Keane could safely be described as fiery, right from his inception with Nottingham Forest through to his immensely successful time at United.

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“I imagine that he is still just as fiery as a manager, I wouldn't like to be on the receiving end of his half-time tirade if Ipswich are losing!

“But 'Chopper' Harris definitely left his mark on many players too, so no surprise he was number two.''

Keane was a pivotal part of United's team during the 1990s and was famous for his non-nonsense to the game.

He sparked fury in 2002 when he admitted deliberately taking revenge on Alf Inge Haaland for an incident during the Manchester 'derby' in 1997.

Legendary Chelsea captain Harris, a Stamford Bridge favourite between 1961 and 1980, was notorious for his brutal tackles.

Ex-Wimbledon star Vinnie Jones boasted one of the worst disciplinary records before he retired. Other hardmen to make the top 20 included Julian Dicks, Billy Bremner, Kevin Muscat and Eric Cantona as well as David Batty, Alan Shearer and Eric Cantona. Cantona is infamous for his 'kung-fu' style kick against a Crystal Palace fan in 1995 after being red-carded.

The poll also found three-quarters of fans reckon today's players are 'nancy boys' compared to stars of the past. Eight out of 10 said players dived too much and three quarters said they were too soft and bottled out of challenges.

TOP HARD MEN

1 Roy Keane; 2 Ron 'Chopper' Harris; 3 Vinnie Jones; 4 Dave Mackay; 5 Dennis Wise; 6 Stuart Pearce; 7 David Batty; 8 John Terry; 9 Graeme Souness; 10 Patrick Vieira; 11 Lee Bowyer; 12 Julian Dicks; 13 Billy Bremner; 14 Kevin Muscat; 15 Eric Cantona; 16 Norman Hunter; 17 Neil Ruddock; 18 Tommy Smith; 19 Nobby Stiles; 20 Alan Shearer.

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