Ferguson lifts the lid on his feud with Keane in his soon-to-be-published book My Autobiography, with the Scot claiming his authority at Old Trafford would have been undermined had he not sold the increasingly volatile player in 2005.
Alex Ferguson also revealed he warned Roy Keane life would be “horrendous” for his family if he didn’t patch up his differences with then Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy in Saipan 11 years ago.
In the book, Ferguson explains how he broke off from his 60th birthday celebrations abroad to deal with the “eruption” his Manchester United captain was having in the lead-up to the 2002 World Cup.
But the Scot has also turned fire on more of his former players, including David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, and Keane said he is out of order.
“I do remember having conversations with the manager when I was at the club about loyalty and, in my opinion, I don’t think he knows the meaning of the word,” he told ITV1.
“It doesn’t bother me too much what he has to say about me but to constantly criticise other players at the club who brought him a lot of success, I find very, very strange.
“But I won’t be losing any sleep over it. I don’t know how many books he’s written now but he has to draw the line eventually to say ‘listen, these players have been all top servants to Man Utd’.”
Keane and Ferguson were a united force when Keane moved from Nottingham Forest in 1993, but their relationship soured 12 years later. Ferguson reveals that Keane was livid at the club over their pre-season training camp in Portugal. The Irish midfielder said the accommodation was not up to scratch.
Then Keane tore into his team-mates in an interview with the club’s in-house TV station MUTV.
Ferguson says in the interview, which was pulled, Keane “slaughtered” several of the club’s senior players.
Keane then suggested the squad watch the interview and a furious row ensued. Ruud van Nistelrooy, Edwin van der Sar and Carlos Queiroz all argued and Keane then accused Ferguson of bringing his own dispute with shareholder John Magnier over the Rock of Gibraltar racehorse into the football club.
At a press conference to launch the autobiography, Ferguson said he expected a swift backlash from the Corkman.
“The nature of the man you can expect that. That is the type of personality Roy is. The reason I had to explain it: it happened so quick, his actions were so quick.
“Roy overstepped his mark and there was no other thing we could do.”