Roy Keane has reopened the wounds surrounding his departure from Manchester United in November 2005 saying he felt ‘‘insulted’’, ‘‘badly treated’’ and ‘‘lied to’’ by the club he served with distinction for 12 and a half years.
Keane was shown the door after criticising the team on MUTV, United’s in-house television station, following a 4-1 Premier League defeat to Middlesbrough, a game the Corkman missed through injury.
The interview was pulled by the club and Keane left the club a month later after an early morning showdown meeting with manager Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill.
Keane feels the controversy over the interview was blown out of proportion and feels United had simply decided he was “surplus to requirements”.
The former Ipswich and Sunderland manager was speaking in the Silversprings Moran Hotel in Cork where he and former United team-mate Nicky Butt took part in a question and answer session to raise funds for Rockmount, Keane’s first club.
The large crowd was testament to Keane’s enduring appeal in his native city and, in a wide-ranging discussion, he was asked about everything from his early days at Rockmount to his time in charge of Ipswich and his plans for the future.
But it was his recollection of his departure from United that was most revealing.
Keane recalled: ‘‘As players we’d have to do certain games for MUTV. Every player had to do it. I was actually in Dubai, watching the game in a bar because I was coming back from a broken foot — the club gave me a few days off and when I got back, it was my turn to do the game. They got beaten 4-1 in the game. The problem was a lot of headlines came out that United pulled the programme. But there’d been a build-up of things before that.
‘‘That pre-season (then assistant manager) Carlos Quiroz was really disrespectful to me on a number of occasions, any player who was there would back me up on that one. I always respected the people I was working with.
“The damage was probably done pre-season, the fact I was injured again, I was 34, basically I was surplus to requirements and it came to a head in the manager’s office, particularly in front of all the players. I had to defend myself and I’d do it all over again.’’
Explaining in detail the brutal nature of how his time at the club came to an end, Keane said: ‘‘It’s a business. I was called for a meeting on the Friday morning and they asked my lawyer to come, which is never a good sign. I meet Michael (Kennedy) that morning before we met the manager and Michael said ‘What’s your thoughts on it?’ And I said, ‘They’ll be trying to move me on’.
“He said that legally they’d no reason to because I’d done nothing wrong and we went into the meeting with obviously the manager and David Gill which I felt was strange because I could quite easily have sorted it out with the manager.
‘‘They had a statement ready and they said, ‘Roy, we think we’ve come to the end’ and I said, ‘You’re right, we have’. They slid a statement across the table to me. My lawyer nearly fell off the chair at this stage because he thought it was just going to be a chat and a fine.’’
Keane said neither Ferguson nor Gill were aware of how long he had been at the club.
‘‘They said, ‘We’d like to thank you for your 11 and a half years’ and I said, ‘Well I’ve been here for 12 and a half.’ I thought if you’re going to get your facts right, at least remember when I signed for the club but they both looked at each other and said, ‘What year did you come?’ I said, ‘The first year we won the double [the 1993-94 season]’ and that was it.
‘‘They’d obviously insulted me once again and I said, ‘Am I okay to sign for another club?’ They said, ‘You can’ and of course the following Monday I found out I couldn’t sign for anyone else until January so despite the fact they didn’t get the dates that I signed for the club right they also lied to me about when I could sign for a club because otherwise I would have just stayed at United until January.
‘‘I was out with a broken foot and David Gill had the cheek to say, ‘We’ll probably move you out Roy because you are injured’. And I did say, ‘I did get injured playing for Man United’ so I felt they insulted me.
“I left that morning and really, that morning, looking back, I should have stopped playing then because they really got on my nerves, they frustrated me. I felt badly treated. I had done nothing wrong. I was injured. I couldn’t sign for anybody. I should have done my own homework. I should have said, ‘I’ll take the weekend, I’ll ring the PFA, get the legal side of it’.
“My lawyer was shocked but even the statement they slid across the table, they knew what they were doing, they wanted me out that morning.’’
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