Keane commits to Old Trafford future

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Roy Keane yesterday followed Sir Alex Ferguson's lead by signing a new contract to keep him at Manchester United.

On Thursday Ferguson, who had gone into this season claiming it would be his last, signed a new three-year deal. Now the inspirational skipper Keane has agreed terms for a new four-year contract which will keep him at Old Trafford until June 2006.

Keane said in a statement released by the club: "I am delighted to be staying at United and I am looking forward to enjoying even more success with the team over the next few years." The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland captain added: "I would like to thank the club and my solicitor, Michael Kennedy, for making the whole process of negotiating my new contract go so smoothly."

Ferguson was naturally delighted that Keane had also pledged his future to the club. He said: "This is great news. Roy is an unbelievable player whose leadership, passion and drive epitomise the best qualities of Manchester United. I am really pleased to have Roy on board for another four years." The Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon said: "We are absolutely delighted to be signing Roy to a new contract. He is a fantastic player and we never doubted he wanted to stay at United. With our inspirational captain now signed up until 2006 the continuity and stability which is so important is guaranteed."

Now the only big-name player yet to commit his future to the club is England skipper David Beckham. The midfielder is in the middle of negotiations with the issue of image rights still to be resolved.

United are understandably delighted to have tied Keane up on a long-term deal, particularly as he had previously hinted that he would like to finish his career with Celtic. Keane, who joined United from Nottingham Forest in 1983 for a then British record transfer fee of £3.75million, has made 349 appearances for the champions, scoring 49 goals.

It was also revealed, significantly, that two of United's promising youngsters have also agreed new deals. Centre-half John O'Shea, capped once by the Republic of Ireland, and Scottish midfielder Michael Stewart have penned four-year deals. Ferguson said that one of the most exciting aspects of his prolonged reign at Old Trafford was that the club still had a "vibrant youth policy" with the likes of O'Shea and Stewart the latest rising stars to emerge.

The future seems more troubled, though, for another talented young player. Chelsea's John Terry, already charged with assaulting a nightclub doorman in central London, was reported in a newspaper yesterday to have been involved in another incident during late night revelling last week.

Terry, 21, was reported to have relieved himself against a bar after urinating into an empty beer glass at the Envy club in Romford, Essex, in the early hours of Thursday morning. The incident was caught on CCTV cameras and Terry was escorted from the club by bouncers. Terry has refused to commenton the incident.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced on Friday that Terry will face additional and more serious charges at his next court appearance. Terry, 21, is now accused of two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and having a wine bottle as an offensive weapon. Terry, along with team-mate Jody Morris, 23, and Wimbledon defender Desmond Byrne, 20, has already been charged with causing actual bodily harm and affray.

The charges followed an alleged incident at the private members' Wellington Club on 4 January. At an earlier hearing all three denied the original charges. A CPS spokesman said the three footballers were due to appear at Horseferry Road Magistrates' Court later this month.