Raging Roy’s stinging response to Fergie book

Roy Keane last night issued a damning response to Alex Ferguson’s stinging criticism of him by declaring his former manager “doesn’t know the meaning of loyalty.”

Along with David Beckham, Keane was the biggest target of Ferguson’s ire in his new book, which was launched yesterday.

The Irishman was accused of crossing a line by lashing out at his teammates during an MUTV analysis of their defeat to Middlesbrough in October 2005. Ferguson ensured the broadcast was pulled and a subsequent meeting of players and staff led to the manager opting to show his captain the door.

Speaking on ITV last night, Keane has his say on the day’s events.

“I remember having conversations with the manager when I was at the club about loyalty,” he said before pointedly adding: “In my opinion I don’t think he knows the meaning of the word.

“It doesn’t bother me what he says about me but to constantly criticise other players at the club who brought him success, I find very strange. But I won’t be losing any sleep over it.”

He added: “I don’t think he needs to do that (criticise players).

“I am not sure how many books he’s written at this stage but he has to draw the line eventually.

“A lot of these players helped him win a lot of trophies. You can only imagine what he would have said if we never had of won a trophy for the club.

“We brought success to the club. We gave it everything we had. It is just part of modern life now — people like to do books and criticise their ex-players.”

Ferguson had earlier said he expected a response from Keane about the “strong views” regarding the former Corkman in the autobiography, in which the harshest chapter is undeniably that concerning his old captain.

Ferguson devotes 16 pages of ‘My Autobiography’ to the issue, in which he writes about the “venomous” dressing-room exchange that led to Keane’s departure from Old Trafford in 2005 and the breakdown of their relationship, but also threatens to cause new problems by questioning his former player’s ability to be a manager.

Describing his former protege as an “immense driving force”, Ferguson says that the “long-term context” to the player’s departure was the realisation he was “not the Keane of old” as age and injury began to catch up with him from around 2004 on.

The midfielder, however, struggled to accept this.

“He thought he was Peter Pan,” Ferguson writes. “No one is.”

Their relationship truly started to unravel during preseason in the summer of 2005, when the Corkman criticised United’s preparations in a flashpoint similar to Saipan from 2002. “It was all criticism,” Ferguson said, and “placed a strain” on the relationship.

The crux came with the notorious incident when the club’s official television station, MUTV, had to pull a programme in which Keane deeply criticised his teammate’s performances in the 4-1 defeat to Middlesbrough on 29 October 2005.

“Jesus. It was unbelievable,” Ferguson writes. “He slaughtered everyone... Roy was taking them all down.”

The manager had expected the player to apologise only to find the next morning Gary Neville led a squad complaint about training.

Realising Keane’s “major influence on the dressing room,” the Scot confronted the matter, and told the player the interview was a “disgrace and a “joke”.

It was decided that the tape would be shown to the squad, after Keane got involved in a heated confrontation with Edwin van der Sar and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

“But he saved the best for me,” Ferguson writes. “’You brought your private life into the club with your argument with (John) Magnier,” he said. “At that point, players started walking out. (Paul) Scholes, Van Nistelrooy, (Quinton) Fortune. The hardest part of Roy’s body is his tongue. He has the most savage tongue you can imagine. He can debilitate the most confident person in the world in seconds with that tongue.”

Carlos Quieroz subsequently described it as “the worst imaginable spectacle”, after which Ferguson resolved to sell Keane, stating that he was “finished with him”.

The 71-year-old says his captain had started “to think he was the manager” at Old Trafford, but then goes on to question that very aspect of his career.

Ferguson says Keane does not have the requisite “patience” and needs to “spend money” to get results.

“He spent at Sunderland and failed. He spent a lot at Ipswich and came up short.”

Ferguson also reveals he decided not to pursue a legal action against Keane for later accusing United of insulting him and lying to him, feeling he “was looking for a day in court to impress the fans”.

When such criticisms were put to Ferguson in his press conference launching the book yesterday, he acknowledged there would likely be a response, and explained his reasoning for going in so hard on Keane above others.

“The nature of the man, you can expect that, and that is the type of personality Roy is. The reason I had to explain it was because it happened so quickly, but his actions were so quick.

“For one reason or another he decided to go and criticise his own teammates. You haven’t seen that video but you couldn’t release it, you couldn’t release it. Ended up with two of our young players being booed before the game (against Lille in the Champions League). We decided we had to do something. The meeting in that room, it was horrendous. I couldn’t lose my control in this particular situation. If I had have let it pass, I think the players would have viewed me differently, differently than I would have liked to have been judged. I think, throughout my career I’ve been strong enough to deal with issues like that. Roy overstepped his mark, absolutely overstepped his mark and there was no other thing we could do. We did well by him, paid up his whole contract, gave him a testimonial in front of 75,000. We did everything we could to honour the fact he was a great player for us.”

Ferguson meanwhile rejected the idea that he would be interested in the vacant Irish international job — or any other.

“I would definitely not, I’ve said that many times. Once I left United that was me finished in terms of management and I’ve seen over the last few weeks, certain positions in football, some had me at 80/1 to become a manager. That would be a good price. But, no, I wouldn’t be interested in any job.”

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