Roy Keane’s departure from Manchester United has always been well-documented.
Considered the Red Devils’ greatest captain, the Irishman helped the club win seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League during his 12 years at Old Trafford.
And his exit in 2005 raised a fair few eyebrows.
Make no mistake, the tenacious midfielder hadn’t been as influential on the pitch in his final season or two – but given his character and influence in the dressing room, Keane’s exit sent shockwaves around the footballing world.
Back then, it was reported that his much-maligned departure came about because he criticised the performance of some of the younger players in the squad during an appearance on MUTV in 2005.
Speaking about Rio Ferdinand, Keane said: “Just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar.
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“The younger players have been let down by some of the more experienced players. They are just not leading. There is a shortage of characters in this team. It seems to be in this club that you have to play badly to be rewarded. Maybe that is what I should do when I come back. Play badly.”
Ferguson later revealed just how explosive Keane was in his criticism of his teammates in his autobiography.
“It was unbelievable. He slaughtered everyone. Darren Fletcher got it, Alan Smith. Van der Sar. Roy was taking them all down,” he wrote. “I told him ‘What you did in that interview was a disgrace, a joke. Criticising your teammates and wanting that to go out’…
“What I noticed about him that day as I was arguing with him was that his eyes started to narrow, almost to wee black beads. It was frightening to watch. And I’m from Glasgow.”
But Keane hit back at Ferguson in his own autobiography, saying he exaggerated many aspects of the their falling out – though he conceded he had asked his boss to ‘give more’ for the team.
“You as well gaffer. We need f***ing more from you. We need a bit more, gaffer. We’re slipping behind other teams,” Keane said.
But the former Nottingham Forest star defiantly insisted the ‘only reason’ he left United was because he appealed a fine imposed for his comments on MUTV.
“The only reason I ended up leaving Man United was I appealed a £5,000 fine. If I hadn’t appealed the fine I wouldn’t have left Man United – don’t be brainwashed by the propaganda and lies,” Keane said at an event in Limerick in 2017.
“It is peanuts, you get fined that for being late for training at United. I appealed because I felt I shouldn’t have been fined for speaking about a match on the club station.”
“Have I stepped out of line? Damn right I have. Man United fined me about half a million pounds over my career but that is because I was sent off and I always held my hands up. Ironically when I appealed a £5,000 fine that’s when I left the club.
“I wished they played this video, it is propaganda, ‘we had to destroy it’. How do you even destroy a video? I left with my head held up high, I was fine with my actions, I always felt my intentions were to do the best for Man United.”
Keane reopened old wounds last September by claiming he would never forgive Sir Alex Ferguson and blasted him for helping his son, Darren, get a Premier League medal back in 1993.
“I wouldn’t forgive Ferguson,” Keane told OffTheBall.com. “The media spin, how I apparently upset everybody, it was all nonsense.”
“Ferguson came out afterwards and said he always did what was best by Manchester United. Nonsense.
“People said [Ferguson] always had the best interests of Manchester United at heart. Darren Ferguson [his son] won a medal. He was very lucky.
“[Alex Ferguson’s] brother was the chief scout for Manchester United for a long time. I’m surprised his wife wasn’t involved in the staff somewhere.”
Sir Alex’s son, Darren, collected a Premier League winners medal in 1993 after making 15 appearances under his father.
His playing career fizzled out in the lower leagues and in Europe with Sparta Rotterdam, before he became manager of Preston.
Keane added: “Darren was [the manager] at Preston North End and lost his job.
“He had a couple of young players on loan from Manchester United, [but] guess what happens the next day?
“They’re pulled out of Preston. Is that doing the best for Manchester United? Do me a favour.”