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Micah Richards branded ‘Roy Keane’s puppy’ in court during ‘headbutt’ trial

Micah Richards presenting for Sky Sports ahead of the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United
Micah Richards claimed both he and Roy Keane were in shock after the incident - Robbie Jay Barratt/Getty Images

Micah Richards was branded Roy Keane’ “puppy” in the trial of the man accused of headbutting his Sky Sports colleague at the Emirates Stadium.

Richards staunchly defended Keane at Highbury Corner Crown Court, insisting his fellow pundit’s actions towards Arsenal fan Scott Law, 43, would not warrant a red card in a football match.

Law, of Waltham Abbey in Essex, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault against Keane, with the ex-United captain allegedly headbutted through doors last September. Law’s defence team have claimed Keane was the aggressor “as the red mist descended”.

Richards described how he grappled with Law during the live broadcast of the Premier League fixture against Manchester United as the two pundits made their way pitchside.

Giving evidence, Richards was in “disbelief” about the incident, adding that he “felt sorry for Roy” who he described as a friend. He also denied that he claimed to see the headbutt because he was friends with Keane and had become his “stooge” and “puppy”.

“I felt sorry for Roy,” said Richards, wearing a dark navy double-breasted suit with a black shirt and tie. “Just because of the fact you’ve come to work, to do your job and you’ve been assaulted. I could see he was physically shaken up. You do what any friend would do, or any colleague, step in and try to help the situation.

“It was a surreal moment. We weren’t going to a UFC match. We were at work.”

Micah Richard and Scott Law on September 3
Richards called the moment 'surreal'

Richards and Keane were covering Arsenal’s fixture against Manchester United during the incident. The day after the Arsenal victory, footage was widely shared on social media of the former Manchester City and Aston Villa defender stepping in to calm an apparent confrontation.

“I grappled with the gentleman for a while,” said Richards. “I believe I was saying to him: ‘What have you done that for?’ I sort of grabbed him and pushed him towards further out of the corridor. I was basically trying to restrain him until security could deal with the matter.”

Richards also described his relationship with Keane, who work regularly together as pundits. After playing for City, Fiorentina and Villa, Richards retired in 2019 and pursued a career in broadcasting.

“I know he (Keane) has got this persona of being the hardman but my relationship with Roy - we get on so well because he’s such a great guy,” he said. “He was cool, he was calm in this situation.

“I felt a little bit sorry for him because we’ve had incidents at stadiums where fans might give you a little shove or use words. But after the incident, I was in shock and so was Roy. I was in disbelief, like had that really happened?”

When discussing the moments before the alleged incident, Richards said he “saw a gentleman running towards Roy”.

Scott Law, 43, arrives at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court, north London
Scott Law is accused of headbutting football pundit and former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane - Lucy North/PA Wire

“I heard shouting and then as he came closer to Roy, I see him arch his head back and just try to headbutt him,” he added, saying Keane was hit “more on his jaw” than his face.

When being called Keane’s puppy, Richards said: “Strongly disagree. You tried to mix my words a lot today, but I know what I saw.”

Law’s defence team alleged that CCTV footage from inside the stadium, shown in court, displayed Keane elbowing the defendant in the face and delivering an “upper cut elbow to the nose”.

Richards denied this and said his colleague was “trying to defend himself”. He added: “You wouldn’t get sent off for that - standing your ground.”

It was revealed that Richards is an Arsenal fan, with the incident occurring as Arsenal were on their way to defeating United. He added: “Obviously I’m an Arsenal fan, so I always want them to do well.”

The trial continues.

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