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Shay Given Reveals The Utterly Surreal Prelude To Keane's Saipan Rant

Gavin Cooney
By Gavin Cooney
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Okay, okay, it's another Saipan story. We're sorry. But we appreciate you coming here nonetheless, so here is a photo of Gary Kelly drinking from a giant bottle of Lucozade Sport as a kind of reward.

There's a reason we went with Gary Kelly.

Shay Given's autobiography is out, and having crowdsourced the title, he ultimately settled on Any Given Saturday. Naturally, it's essential reading for Irish fans, and Given will be doing a couple of book signings this week: he's in Eason's on O'Connell Street on Saturday, October 21st and in Eason's, Letterkenny on the following day.

Saipan, of course, gets a full chapter in the book. Given speaks well of Keane throughout and reveals it was he who convinced him to return to the Irish setup while both were sharing the bench at Aston Villa: Given as sub 'keeper, Keane as assistant manager.


Given's recollection of Saipan is pretty much consistent with what we've heard thus far, although he does dedicate some time to revealing the utterly surreal prelude to it erupting between an irate Keane and an Irish Times - brandishing McCarthy in a ballroom of the team hotel.

Here, we give the floor to Given:

It's 7.30pm on Thursday, May 23, 2002. In the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency on the tiny island of Saipan, Gary Kelly, being insane, is up for the craic.

He [Roy Keane] turns to Kev [Kilbane] and says, "It's going to go off tonight". Gary Kelly doesn't know what's going on through. "C'mon, get in here!"

The Hyatt Regency has an in-house band playing in the next room and Gary wants to have a bit of fun. "C'mon, get in here" he shouts again at the band, inviting them into the plush surroundings that have become our makeshift canteen. They march in with their grass skirts and ukeleles and start performing. Next thing, we're all up on the tables taking the piss, having a dance to this band who were loving it.

A moment or so later, Mick walks in the door, stands very respectfully while the band finishes Stand By Me, and then politely asks them to leave. They shuffle out the door. Mick asks for a bit of quiet, takes out a copy of The Irish Times, looks Roy Keane in the eye and says, "Roy, care to explain this?"

Of all the songs for that band to play ahead of the most infamous day in Irish sport, Stand By Me is an impressive feat of irony.

Any Given Saturday by Shay Given is published by Sport Media and is available now. For more details on the book signings, see below. 

See Also: Watch: Paul Scholes Struggles To Hide Glee At Steven Gerrard's Lack Of PL Medals



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