Roy Keane on leaving United, Mick and management.

Roy Keane on leaving United, Mick and management.
By Paul Ring
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“Well, I felt frustrated” Roy Keane held court in front of a rapt audience of around seven hundred at the Sliversprings Moran hotel in Cork on Saturday night. Keane flew over along with former Manchester United team-mate Nicky Butt for a fundraiser for his boyhood team Rockmount. Frustration seemed to be the key word.

It is something of a strange format. The old classics are out; Turin, Maine Road and the treble but for a lot of the night Roy will watch clips of his more infamous moments and then be asked to explain them. The first such clip is him stamping on now ITV colleague Gareth Southgate. The clip continues with Eamon Dunphy explaining the supposed warrior attitude that encompassed Keane. Roy makes a point of shaking his head and rolling his eyes as Dunphy speaks.

His long standing duel with Alf Haaland is pored over with slow-motion footage of that tackle greeted with violent applause. Him slapping Alan Shearer is met with hearty laughter, his running row with Jason McAteer garners the default “G’wan Keano” yet he looks uncomfortable playing to the gallery.

He is typically straight talking. Asked to compare Jack Charlton and Brian Clough he can’t hide his distain “Listen you can’t compare Jack Charlton and Brian Clough, let’s not kid ourselves”. He did soften his stance somewhat on the now tiresome Saipan saga. He still has no regrets but there is some pity “Looking back on it, I’d feel a bit sorry for Mick now. Too much probably fell on his shoulders. You look at the Irish rugby team now; they have tour managers and everything. All to help the manager and Mick didn’t have that.”


Nothing has softened with Keane and Manchester United though. His acrimonious departure from the club was given ample time and some detail. The famous MUTV video incident where Keane supposedly ripped into his teammates was set straight “They should have played it, it was no big deal. I was injured; I broke my foot at Liverpool and was out in Dubai because the club gave me a few days off. Part of the deal with players was we had to do certain games for MUTV so when I came back it was my turn which didn’t help. They got beaten 4-1; a lot of headlines came out because United pulled the programme. But there had been a build up before that.”

Carlos Querioz the then United assistant manager is attributed most of the blame from Keane for a row between the two in pre-season “That pre-season Carlos Querioz was very disrespectful to me on a number of occasions; any player that was there would back me up on that one. I always had respect for people I worked with and for. The Middlesbrough game, obviously they lost 4-1, what did they expect me to say? Fortunately I watched the video with the players and the manager and Carlos because it was really getting carried away, I asked the lads what they thought and they said they were fine, it wasn’t an issue. People shouldn’t be sidetracked by this MUTV video; it’s just way over the top. I think they should have played it because I was critical of the defending. I would never be critical of players and their wages, people thought I was having a go at Rio and Fletcher; it couldn’t be further from the truth.”


The end was nigh, it came swiftly and brutally. There are a few stories about the day Keane left United. One involves Alex Ferguson telling the Manchester press pack there was nothing to report while a statement about the captain leaving was being distributed. Another is Ferguson flush with emotion announcing to no-one in particular in the United canteen that this was a sad day for Manchester United. Keane’s version tells of the cold and calculating nature of top level football.

“The damage was done in pre-season, I was injured again, I was 34 and basically surplus to requirements, and it came to a head in the manager’s office. It’s a business; I was called to a meeting on the Friday morning. They asked me to bring my lawyer which is never a good sign; I went to the meeting with the manager and David Gill, which I thought was strange because I could have sorted it out with the manager. They had a statement ready. The manager and David Gill said we think it has come to an end, I said yeah I think it has. They said they had already done a statement and they slid that across to me. My lawyer nearly fell off the chair at this stage.”

“They said we’d like to thank you for your eleven and a half years. I said it’s actually twelve and a half, it might seem funny but I thought listen you should get your facts right about when I signed for the club. They both looked at each other and said “Well what year did you come?” I said the first year we won the double. That was that then, I thought they had insulted me again. I checked with club if I could sign for someone and they said yes. Of course I found out I couldn’t sign for anyone until January. So not only did they not get the date wrong when I signed, they lied about when I could join another club. David Gill had the cheek to say “Well we’ll probably move you on because you’re injured Roy” I said yeah, I got injured playing for Man United. I felt badly treated".


Keane brushed off an old quote about never becoming a T.V pundit. The role isn’t something he sees as a long term option though “I don’t think there is a long term future for me on T.V, if I don’t get back into management this summer then I’ll take a step back from the public stuff and try and find something else in my life”.

You sense if he doesn’t get back into management, frustration may remain the key word.

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