Roy Keane has reopened his war of words with Sir Alex Ferguson by giving a typically forthright version of the events that led to the Irishman leaving the club in 2005.
In his new biography, The Second Half, Keane claims that he felt stitched up by Fergie and Gill, who simply wanted to force him out of the club in the wake of an interviewed he had given to MUTV, in which he had criticised some younger players. Keane insists that Ferguson and Queiroz simply needed an excuse to get rid of him and the decision had been made before he showed up for a meeting with the former United manager and Gill.
“The manager was there, in his office,” said Keane in his book. “David Gill was there too.
“I went ‘So, what’s up?’ And the manager said ‘Look, Roy, I think we’ve come to the end’. As simple as that.
“Then David Gill said ‘And while we’re at it, we’ve prepared a statement.’
“They had it all ready. It was another little hand grenade they threw at me. Not an hour later, or two hours after the severance negotiations – it was already written.
“I suppose the thinking was ‘Let’s try to get him out as quick as we can. Let’s not drag this out till next week’.
“I said [to agent Michael Kennedy] ‘Come on Michael, I’ve had enough of them – f*** ’em. We’ve lost respect for each other’.”
Keane added that he believes his exit from United was a positive for the club.
“My leaving the club, the way I look at it now, it was definitely for the benefit of Manchester United,” he said.
“If the manager and Carlos felt that I was up to whatever they thought I was up to, if there was that awkwardness, then it was best for everybody that I go. And let me suffer the consequences. Let me cry in my car for two minutes. If it benefited Manchester United, so be it.”
Keane insisted that while the way he left the club wasn’t a good way nor the way he’d have wanted to finish his career at United, Fergie’s track record suggests that not all the players that have left United can be blamed for choosing to leave the club.
“There probably isn’t a good way to leave a club,” said Keane. “But is it always the player’s fault? It can’t be.
“A lot of people left United on bad terms. Good players – [David] Beckham, [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, plenty of other names.
“Deep down, I might not have accepted that it was not going to end well. Whether it was the [MUTV] video, or if we didn’t have any trophies at the end of the season, or if my contract wasn’t renewed – it was coming to an end.”
Keane later apologised to Ferguson and Queiroz, a decision he admits regretting.
“I went to see the manager and Carlos, and I apologised,” said Keane. “Sometimes you feel a justified anger; sometimes you feel you’ve done something wrong.
“I apologised. But afterwards I was thinking ‘I’m not sure why I f****** 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.
“I think the best way the manager could have dealt with it, given his experience and man-management skills, would have been to take me aside and go ‘Listen, Roy, we’re having issues with you. But keep your head down, play a few games and, come the end of the season, we’ll say it was best for you to go.’
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