After his return to the Republic of Ireland fold as Martin O’Neill’s number two, we catalogue some of Roy Maurice Keane’s more colourful and outspoken moments.
Take that you c***
Hindsight is a great thing, but it was probably advisable for Alf Inge Haaland not to stand over Keane and accuse him of feigning injury in 1997. Keane waited four years to dish out his retribution. Keane felt he had “waited long enough. I f****** hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c***. And don't ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries.”
You’re a w**ker and you can stick it up your b**locks
Compared to the professionalism of Manchester United, Ireland’s set-up had become a source of frustration to the captain and things boiled over at their World Cup training camp in Saipan in 2002. A combination of strategy, diet and McCarthy's competence came to a head at a team meeting where Keane opened both barrels on McCarthy.
"Mick, you're a liar… you're a f**king w**ker. I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person. You're a f**king w**ker and you can stick your World Cup up your ar*e. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your b**locks."
MUTV attack on United colleagues
Tapes of “Roy Keane Plays The Pundit” were destroyed on the club’s insistence after he launched a withering attack on half the club’s players in a tirade that was even too much for Sir Alex Ferguson.
Some of the titbits include:
Rio Ferdinand: “Just because you are paid £120,000 a week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham you think you are a superstar.”
Alan Smith: “He is wandering around as if he is lost. He doesn’t know what he is doing.”
Demolition of Southgate’s chest
The Manchester United stalwart’s first red card for United came in typically robust Keane fashion. Having been the recipient of a rather rash challenge from Gareth Southgate, who is currently a co-worker at ITV, the fiery Corkman, rather than wait for the referee to dole out the required retribution, took matters into his own hands and stamped on Southgate’s chest. Not once but twice.
The responsibility of Irish captaincy
Keane’s travails with Mick McCarthy are well publicised but when did they begin? Having been handed the responsibility of captaining his country in McCarthy's first game in charge, Keane didn’t exactly lead by example. In his own words, he reacted to the responsibility by getting sent off for "kicking a Russian."
The prawn sandwich brigade
Keane coined this phrase in response to the lack of atmosphere at some United home games. It is now become a reference point for corporate or otherwise emotionally detached football fans around the world. The comments came after United’s 1-0 win against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.
"Our fans away from home are as good as any, but some of them come here and you have to wonder do they understand the game of football? At home they have a few drinks and probably the prawn sandwiches, and they don't realise what's going on out on the pitch. I don't think some of the people who come to Old Trafford can spell football, never mind understand it.”
Still waiting for an apology from United
After handing Keane a new £52,000-a-week contract in 2000, United had the temerity to write to the Old Trafford faithful blaming that fact on the season ticket price hike. Of the incident Keane said:
"I'm still waiting for my apology but I could be waiting a long time. The board have tried to explain what they meant, that it was part of a wider picture of trying to keep the fans informed, telling them the club wanted to rebuild and strengthen, which is why prices were going up. The fact is nobody should be singled out in a letter. It wasn't right. I felt everything was being laid at my door."
Patrick Vieira tunnel tirade
Keane to the rescue. The story goes that before Manchester United's 4-2 win at Highbury in February 2005, Vieira was bullying poor Gary Neville in the tunnel… until Keane caught wind of it, at which point he intervened. The referee that day, Graham Poll, made an attempt to diffuse the situation but Keane was in full flow telling the French international, “I’ll see you on the pitch” - along with some other choice words.
Thierry Henry handball rant
Being a proud Irishman, one would expect that the rant would have come at the expense of Henry but, alas, the Ireland team, their mentality and the FAI were well within his sights.