Roy Keane has revealed how he told Sir Alex Ferguson he was causing embarrassment to Manchester United over the Rock of Gibraltar affair and that he was not delivering enough as manager, in the weeks leading up to his departure from the club.
He told Ferguson to up his game after a training ground bust-up with assistant manager Carlos Queiroz, in which he came close to punching the Portuguese coach. Ferguson stepped in, saying: “‘That’s enough. I’ve had enough of all this’”, prompting the midfielder to launch into the Glaswegian. “You as well, gaffer. We need fucking more from you. We need a bit more, gaffer. We’re slipping behind other teams,” he says he told him.
Keane reveals in his new book, The Second Half, that it was this bust-up, rather than the famous rant in an interview for Manchester United’s in-house TV station – “propaganda for the club” as he described it, which led to his departure.
Keane, who also details an incident where he head-butted Peter Schmeichel, leaving the goalkeeper with a black eye, reveals that a friend in Ireland urged him to tackle Ferguson over his legal battle with the Irish racehorse owner John Magnier and JP McManus over Rock of Gibraltar. He told him it would damage the club. “Somebody I met in Ireland had told me to tell him [Ferguson]: ‘You are not going to win this,’ Keane writes. “I mentioned it to him. And I told him that I didn’t think it was good for the club, the manager in a legal dispute with shareholders. I felt I was entitled to say that. He was just a mascot for them. Walking around with this Rock of Gibraltar – ‘Look at me, how big I am,’ – and he didn’t even own the bloody thing.”
Keane explains why he gave up his role as an ITV pundit, declaring that he was uncomfortable about such an “easy gig.” He writes: “I don’t like easy gigs. When I heard: ‘I liked your commentary last night’. I knew I was only talking bullshit like the rest of them. Hopefully my bullshit was a bit better. I wanted to do something that excited me. TV work didn’t excite me.”
But it is the poisoned relationship with Queiroz, resulting in his departure which is most revealing. A fierce row on a pre-season training camp on the Algarve let to the Ferguson intervention. “[Queiroz] was just on my right shoulder; how I didn’t fucking hit him again – I was thinking, ‘The villa in Portugal, not treating me well in training – and he just used the word “loyalty” to me,’” Keane writes. “I said, ‘Don’t you f*****g talk to me about loyalty, Carlos. You left this club after 12 months a few years ago for the Real Madrid job. Don’t you dare question my loyalty. I had opportunities to go to Juventus and Bayern Munich.
’When the MUTV episode left Ferguson resolved to sell him, a written statement confirming his departure was drawn up by chief executive David Gill in which his length of his service at Old Trafford wrong, irritating him. Keane writes: “I said to Ferguson, ‘Can I play for somebody else?’ And he said, ‘Yeah you can, cos we’re tearing up your contract’. So I thought, ‘All right – I’ll get fixed up.’ I knew there’d be clubs in for me when the news got out. I said, ‘Yeah – I think we have come to the end.’ I just thought, ‘Fucking prick’ – and I stood up and went ‘Yeah. I’m off.’”
He apologised to Ferguson and Queiroz a few days later. “Now I kind of wish I hadn’t. Afterwards I was thinking, ‘I’m not sure why I fucking apologised.’ I just wanted to do the right thing. I was apologising for what had happened – that it had happened. But I wasn’t apologising for my behaviour or stance. There’s a difference – I had nothing to apologise for.”
Keane writes that the players David Moyes inherited constituted “a weak dressing room.” Not liking a manager “can never be an excuse for not going out and doing your best,” he says. “Looking at what happened to David Moyes, I can only conclude that he didn’t have a strong dressing room. He had a weak dressing room.
“Keane ranks Brian Clough above Ferguson – because he was the first manager to sign him – and says he possessed a “genuine” quality Ferguson lack . “I think Clough’s warmth was genuine,” he writes. “I think with Sir Alex Ferguson it was pure business – everything is business. If he was being nice I would think: ‘This is business, this.’ He was driven and ruthless. That lack of warmth was his strength. United was a much bigger club than Forest but his coldness made him successful.”Reuse content