Alex Ferguson claims Roy Keane ‘overstepped the mark’
Former United boss scathing in his criticism of the former United captain
Roy Keane and Alex Ferguson in happier times.
The first cracks in Alex Ferguson’s relationship with Roy Keane occurred when the player made what the manager felt were unreasonable objections to the standard of things at a warm weather training camp, the former Manchester United manager reveals in his book, My Autobiography.
The echoes of Saipan are clear – there was even a barbecue – and Mick McCarthy might be forgiven for taking some small amount of satisfaction from the now 71-year-old’s astonishment at his captain’s reaction to a facility he himself believed was “out of this world”.
In the end, of course, McCarthy’s clash with Keane contributed hugely to the end of his time in charge of the Republic of Ireland team just over a decade ago, whereas Ferguson’s confidence that he was powerful enough to see off and survive the departure of his long-time lieutenant is abundantly clear as he tells his side of the story.
Asked yesterday at the press conference held to mark the official launch of the book whether he expected a reaction to his account of events now, he said: “With the nature of the man I think you can expect that, that’s the sort of personality that he is.” He did not, however, sound in the least bit concerned.
The 16-page chapter dealing with the Corkman is a remarkable read, with the former Manchester United boss delivering a damning verdict on the behaviour of a man he believes was struggling to come to grips with the decline in his powers on the pitch, and it is harder than ever to imagine that the pair could ever be reconciled after it hits the streets tomorrow.
Going to end badly
Ferguson initially praises Keane for helping to take the pressure off him at United by keeping other players in his squad on their toes but says the midfielder, struggling with the fact that injuries had rendered him incapable of living up to his own tremendously high standards of play at times, eventually began to act as though he actually was the manager. At that stage, it is clear, things were only going to end badly.
There are some slight inconsistencies in the version of events, with Ferguson making it clear at one point that Keane would take issue with anyone and everyone if he was in the mood, citing the example of the day he walked into the dressing room to find the Corkman and Ruud van Nistelrooy fighting, with other players struggling to separate them.