Roy Keane Interview with Tommie Gorman
of RTE Television
This Interview First Appeared on RTE
Television on 27 May 2002
Venue : Moat House Hotel, Manchester
Gorman: I want you to put in context the reasons for your
row. Was it bad blood between you and Mick
McCarthy, was it something deeper or was it because you were unhappy
with the preparations of the Irish team for the World Cup and you always
strive for perfection.
Keane: There were a lot of things. A lot's been said over
the last few days but I'm not
here to get anybody on my side. I think it's
important that people know the truth. The final straw was when I was accused
of being disloyal, faking injury and going against my team-mates, in front
of everybody, and I wouldn't accept it. I still don't accept that.
Gorman: That was the final straw but what happened before
that because the impression we have was of someone who had flown over
there, was looking to train hard and who was preparing for the World Cup,
was looking forward to doing well at the World Cup and just felt that
the training wasn't going well.
Is that the case?
Keane: Yeah, well, from day one when we got over there ...
Okay the travelling was long but you accept these things, don't get me
wrong. The first night we got there, there was an evening meal and Mick
got Martin, the doctor, to speak - about being careful of the sun, sunblock,
of course and what drinks to drink. And when he was talking about the
drinks to take he said: 'They're not here yet.' And he continued and I
was thinking, 'they're not here yet?' Then Mick came back in and said
the training kit hadn't arrived
and the training pitch wasn't as good as he had thought. And as soon Mick
said that I thought 'it must be bad'. There were no balls, of course and
he felt DHL had let him down; they should have been there on the Thursday
or the Friday and I think this was on the Saturday or the Sunday evening
when we got there and I couldn't believe it. That's not being a primadonna,
that's not being pig-headed, it's just being honest. We're preparing for
the World Cup finals and I was disappointed straight away with that. I
remember as I walked outside with a few of the players there was a bit
of a laugh and a joke about it but when I got to my room I couldn't understand
it, I couldn't.
So I went to Mick McCarthy's
room that night, about half an hour later that and I asked him. I said:
'Mick, what's going on, I can't believe it.' He said: 'Roy, you know,
the skips should have been here last Friday.' But I said: 'They should
have been here two weeks ago, so there wouldn't have been any doubt.'
And I said the training pitch must be bad if you say it's bad and he said:
'Oh well, somebody let me down, they said there was going to be a decent
training pitch.' And I asked him: 'You trusted someone to guarantee you
a decent training pitch and there's not even a football pitch on the island?'
I said: 'I'm disappointed with it,' and I left it at that. And he understood
my feelings because I had the same problems a few years ago after a couple
of years when Mick was the manager and I was disappointed with certain
things. I arranged to meet Mick and he came to my house and we discussed
these things and he agreed with me that we needed to improve in all aspects;
whether they be travelling arrangements, the training pitch, everything.
And this was the first day we got there and I thought if this is the way
things are going to go then what chance have we got?
The next day we were ready
to go training but there was no point in bringing any boots because there
were no footballs. There was no training kit, we had to wear the casual
gear we were wearing around the hotel. I went off for a stretch in the
physio's room and even some of the medical gear wasn't there. Some of
the lads couldn't have strappings. And again a lot of it was a laugh and
a joke; it's quite funny sometimes. The lads had no strappings and Jason
McAteer was saying they could use toilet roll. And I was laughing as well
but deep down I thought: 'This is not right.' I was fuming to be honest.
And of course when we went training and we got to the training pitch and
the pitch was a disgrace, an absolute disgrace. And if anybody who's been
there and says any different they're just not in the real world. And even
after training I was talking to one of the liaison officers who was looking
after the team and I said to him: 'Will they be able, maybe, to water
the pitch for tomorrow?' And he said: 'Oh probably but to be fair we weren't
expecting you today.' I said: 'You must have known we were coming.' And
he said: 'Oh no, nobody told us you were coming down.' That was the start
of it and I thought: 'Here we go.'
Gorman: But did you have support for that kind of approach
from the other players, because they're also professional footballers
looking to do well in the World Cup.
Keane: They were all saying the same thing, all the players.
You're captain for a reason. I made a point to Mick the first night and
I said: 'It's not good enough, Mick.' The players were - it's a bit of
a laugh and a joke and I accept that. But when we got there it was so
dangerous and I said when we got there 'there's going to be injuries'
and of course, three days later there were three injuries and it didn't
surprise me one bit.
Gorman: You threatened to leave, you wanted to come home,
that was sorted out. And then you had this bust-up. And you were obviously
very angry that you had this bust-up, in public as it were, in front of
the other squad members.
Keane: Without a doubt. On the Tuesday after I told Mick I
was leaving for personal reasons because I didn't really want to tell
him I'd had enough of playing for him. I really had. Because when we trained
on the Tuesday again - anyway, that's the tip of the iceberg - I said
I needed to go home. Again that was supposed to have been a private conversation.
We spoke to Eddie Coughlan who was going to organise the flights and they
promised it wouldn't go beyond the three of us. But an hour or two later
I met Alan Kelly and he said: 'You're going home.' But to be fair during
the night things were sorted out on that front. Mick was disappointed
because he felt I'd put him in an awkward position and to be fair he had
rang Colin Healy. I said to him I was sorry about that. I felt bad for
Colin and I said to Mick 'look, I'll go home'. And those were my last
words to Mick. I said 'leave it, don't ring him back'.
Then the first thing in
the morning Mick Byrne came to see me and he said 'you've got three minutes
to make up your mind'. So I said I would stay. I think Mick was put under
pressure from the FAI. I was speaking to my solicitor and I spoke to Alex
Ferguson during the night and they told me to stick it out. So from there
on I felt Mick was disappointed. I felt entitled to change my mind and
I did an hour later to try and give Mick the chance but he said he'd already
spoken to Colin Healy on his mobile at 8.30 in the morning. I said to
him: 'By your body language you don't really want me here.' And he said:
'You've put me in an awkward position here, I wish you'd have thought
it all out.' And I went: 'I feel quite embarrassed by it all anyway and
I've decided to stick it out.' He left my room and I followed him down
and knocked on the door and Mick Byrne answered the door. And I said to
Mick: 'Leave it, I'm going home.' And that was when the next morning Mick
Byrne came and said I had three minutes to make my mind up. So that was
On the Monday we got over
there I had promised Tom Humphries and Paul Kimmage - two reporters who
I would have some sort of respect for - that I would speak to them on
the Wednesday. I wasn't due to do a press conference with all the other
press until the Friday but I told these two I would do it. Of course,
on the Wednesday I told them all my disappointments and then Thursday
morning Tom Humphries rang me at about 6.30, 7.00 in the morning. But
I was awake anyway, we were all waking up quite early. He said he would
like to go through the piece with me because it was going to print in
a few hours. So I said 'okay' and I met him downstairs at about 8am and
I said it was fine, no problems, and it went to print in the (Irish) Times
on Thursday morning. Then Thursday afternoon, the storm clouds were gathering,
I just knew it. No-one had spoken to me. Even Mick Byrne, who I've been
very close to in the Irish squad, had it in his body language. And I said
'look Mick I understand, you have to be loyal to Mick (McCarthy)'. He
said: 'I've known you a long time - but I said you need stick with Mick.'
I went for my meal at 6.30 and I was told there was a meeting at 7.30
and I knew what it was all about, I knew."
Gorman: But do you see from Mick McCarthy's point of view
that this was a challenge to him. You were the team captain, he was the
manager and here was this article in the paper - okay maybe he made a
mistake by bringing it into public but.
Keane: The article in the paper was fine. If anybody reads
it, it's fine.
Gorman: You don't think it might have undermined the morale
of the other players?
Keane: It was fine, it's fine, anybody who read the piece ...
I questioned the training facilities, which I'd said to Mick. And that
was about it.
Gorman: That was your view and you had your discussion with
him, you had this angry exchange.
Keane: It was more than an angry exchange. There was the meeting
at 7.30 and I knew what it was about. He had a piece of paper in his hand
and I knew it was the interview. He went on to say some people are disappointed
and I'm sitting there thinking 'Roy, just stay calm' because I'd said
I'd stick it out and I knew the next day we were going to a different
place and better training facilities. Players had spoken to me, all the
players, I'd spoken to Steve Finnan before that and I said to him during
the meal 'how's your ankle' and he said: 'Lucky I was walking, if I was
running I would have broken it, no doubts about it.' And the other players
had said to me they'd not done enough training, because a few of them
play in the First Division, which finished four or five weeks ago, and
two players off the top of my head said to me 'we've not done enough in
I know we went over there
for a relaxing trip, I appreciate that. I've had more nights out than
anybody and that's great. A few of the lads were telling me some of the
stories. I don't mind that, players need to let off a bit of steam, I
accept that. But on other hand if you're going over to work then let's
work for that one hour a day. That's not asking too much. There's all
sorts going on saying I gave people hell. I don't give people hell, I
tell the truth and they think it's hell. It's as straightforward as that.
At the meeting Mick started on about how some people weren't happy with
certain things. 'I picked this land', he was talking about, 'I picked
the training pitch' and I interrupted him and said 'Mick, we should have
done this in private like we did the other night, just get to the point'.
He said 'okay, you're not happy with certain things and I said I told
you that I'm not happy with certain things'.
© RTE Television 2002
Soccer-Ireland.Com thanks RTE
Television for permission to reproduce this interview here
Roy Keane / Tommy Gorman Interview
Roy Keane RTE Interview 3
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