Catholic TV and radio presenter Adrian Chiles has revealed that he once attended Mass where two of football’s fiercest rivals were also in attendance: former Manchester United captain Roy Keane and his on-field arch-nemesis, ex-Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira.
Chiles, 52, who has presented a number of sports programmes on BBC and ITV throughout his career, said the unlikely trio, who are all Catholics, attended the service while in Warsaw for the Euro championships back in 2012.
“The three of us went. It was a nice Mass. We knelt, stood and sat together and wished each other peace at the given time,” he told The Daily Mail, noting that the atmosphere was far from the intense scenes Keane and Vieira used to engage in during heated showdowns between rival clubs Man- chester United and Arsenal.
“It was a long way from that ding-dong in the tunnel at Highbury. What’s not to love?” Chiles added, citing the pair’s infamous bust up prior to The Gunners hosting their game against The Red Devils back in 2005, when the quick-tempered Corkonian confronted the Senegal-born, French international after accusing him of picking on his teammate Gary Neville.
Chiles, a convert to Catholicism who had previously battled both depression and alcohol dependence, also revealed that he often turns down the pub in order to attend Mass after cheering on his team West Bromwich Albion and is even sometimes joined by fellow Catholic and celebrity West Brom fan, comedian Frank Skinner.
“I suppose it might sound strange to some people but going to Mass with a friend like Frank is as normal as going to see West Brom with him,” said Chiles, who has known Skinner for around 15 years.
“Occasionally we’ve gone straight from one to the other. Going to Mass with a mate is no different really to going to a pub with them, or the cinema, or whatever. It’s just kind of nice. For me, it’s certainly less stressful than watching football,” he added.
Chiles is currently taking part in BBC Two’s Pilgrimage: The Road To Istanbul, with the second episode airing tonight, Friday 3rd April, and the concluding episode on Good Friday,
Picture: No love lost: Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira come to blows during an FA Premiership football match at Arsenal’s Highbury ground in 1999. (Sean Dempsey/PA).