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Sunday Independent Saipan Interview - Roy KeaneContinued from Roy Keane Interview 2
This Interview in Saipan First Appeared in the Sunday Independent on 26 May 2002
Paul Kimmage: And then we get to the training session and Stan (Stephen Staunton) makes a joke about Packie (Bonner) justifying his job and you have a laugh about it. And you run out to begin the session with a smile on your face and everything appears to be normal until the five-a-side when suddenly it is announced that the goalkeepers have finished for the day. What happens next?
Roy Keane: Well you ask any footballer in the world, whether they are playing Sunday league or right at the top . . . when you finish training with a five-a-side you need 'keepers. Ask any player. Ask any of the Irish lads. We all felt the same. But they (Packie) felt the 'keepers had worked hard enough. But we've done just under three hours training since we've come here and I think we've come to work. It's not our fault that Packie started (the training session with the three keepers) a half an hour earlier. We had done our shooting earlier for their benefit and that's where the team comes into it even if you are f**ked you just stand in the goal. And that did piss me off.
Paul Kimmage: And so you had a word with Taff (Ian Evans, the assistant manager) about it?
Roy Keane: Yeah, I mentioned it to Taff and he's gone 'Oh well they're knackered' as if we all felt great. We were all tired.
Paul Kimmage: So the game starts with Niall Quinn and Richard Dunne improvising in goal but not allowed to use their hands. And what was interesting watching it was the intensity with which you played? As if winning that five-a-side was life or death?
Roy Keane: Ehh . . . I wouldn't go that far. It was probably more important than that. (laughs) No, I suppose there was an element of 'let's just get on with it' but inside I was fuming.
Paul Kimmage: Because there was no goalkeepers?
Roy Keane: Yeah. But also because of the whole combination of things . . . Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. From day one it has been negative. And that's my opinion. And I'm entitled to my opinion. And people are saying 'It's Keane as usual' but all the players are feeling the same but some show it in different ways.
Paul Kimmage: With the game tied at 4-4 you lose to a penalty and you walk off and have a go at Packie.
Roy Keane: Not really no.
Paul Kimmage: Okay, you have a lively discussion with Packie?
Roy Keane: A lively discussion, but I'd have hundreds of thousands of them with the lads at United.
Paul Kimmage: Except that you can get in the car and drive home afterwards?
Roy Keane: Probably yeah.
Paul Kimmage: And then you have a go at Alan Kelly?
Roy Keane: I didn't have a go at Alan Kelly. Alan Kelly had a go at me.
Paul Kimmage: What did he say?
Roy Keane: Well, I'm not going to get into the gory details but obviously I felt the 'keepers should have been there. And Alan said 'Well, we've worked really hard.' And I said 'Well what are you here for? And will you be working as hard tomorrow on the golf course.' We've (only) done three hours work since we got here! And I know it's a relaxing break and the sun is going to do you good and that you can't train too hard but you've got to step into it. Alan felt we had done enough work and I felt we hadn't.
Paul Kimmage: And the argument was heated.
Roy Keane: Yeah, the one between me and Kells (Alan Kelly) was . . . but again, I'd had hundreds of thousands of them with team-mates at United.
Paul Kimmage: And what about when he shook his head and told you to shut up and you said 'Are you going to make me?' What if he had said 'Yeah I f**king will'? Would you have hit him?
Roy Keane: (Smiles) You never know, he might have hit me . . . Naah, he told me to calm down.
Paul Kimmage: He told you to calm down?
Roy Keane: Yeah. And I said 'Are you going to make me calm down?' As if that was possible, I was pretty angry.
Paul Kimmage: But why were you so angry?
Roy Keane: It was a combination of the training kit and no footballs the first day and the pitch. I think it would be softer training on the car park! I genuinely believe that. And there's got to be people responsible for that! Is it asking too much to travel 20 hours on a flight for a training pitch that hasn't even been watered! It's not right. And by nature I can't accept it. I am what I am, warts and all.
I have no problem with Kells. Kells is a good lad. He is probably one of the lads I would speak to a lot on the trips (laughs) so I've ruined that one. I'm going to have to speak to Jason again . . . f**k's sake.
Paul Kimmage: But that wasn't the time or place to discuss it, was it?
Roy Keane: No, of course not. But everything is great in hindsight. You don't pick these moments.
Paul Kimmage: But what about the control Roy? That it would almost come to blows? And that you would be prepared for it to come to blows. That isn't rational behaviour from a man of your stature?
Roy Keane: Yeah, but I was giving my opinion and I felt he was wrong. And he has the right to be wrong, I'll have to remember that. But when he starts going 'Ahh we've worked hard' I'm thinking 'Well what did you come over here for? You're supposed to work hard?' You've got to make sacrifices for your team-mates. Do you think when you're tired you can just walk off? And that's when you wonder: do these people want the same as me? And that's when the doubts set in and I honestly don't think they do. Whether it's the players or the staff . . . it makes me wonder.
Paul Kimmage: But the goalkeepers work is particularly physical?
Roy Keane: They're not going to die. They looked all right at the barbecue the other night. They won't be too f**ked on the golf course today.
Paul Kimmage: Okay take me through the process of what happened next. You returned to the hotel and had a meeting with Mick. Was that your call or his call?
Roy Keane: My call.
Paul Kimmage: You told him you wanted to see him?
Roy Keane: Yeah.
Paul Kimmage: And what happened?
Roy Keane: I told him I'd had enough.
Paul Kimmage: And how did he respond?
Roy Keane: Are you sure blah, blah, blah. And I said yeah.
Paul Kimmage: Now that meeting took place almost as soon as you had returned from training so you hadn't thought about if for very long?
Roy Keane: Yeah, well . . . I did have a cold shower before I met him but I'd had enough. And it's not just been this trip it's been a combination of things over the years. International football if anything has been a nuisance to me. I love the 90 minutes but it's the rest of the crap. The negative stuff I've had off people over the years regarding rooming on my own and hanging about with the lads and all that and I just thought 'Naah, I don't need it.' And I wouldn't be here now basically only for other people. If it was down to me I'd be gone.
Paul Kimmage: And is that it now for international football after the World Cup?
Roy Keane: Yeah.
Paul Kimmage: Definitely?
Roy Keane: Yeah.
Paul Kimmage: Okay, so you tell Mick you're gone and go back to your room.
Roy Keane: Yeah.
Paul Kimmage: You didn't speak to anyone before you spoke to Mick?
Roy Keane: No, because I'm convinced they would have said I was doing wrong.
Paul Kimmage: Who did you call first?
Roy Keane: My wife.
Paul Kimmage: What did she say to you?
Roy Keane: She said do whatever you think is right. She told me that Michael (his solicitor Michael Kennedy) wanted to speak to me because the press had got hold of certain things . . . which amazed me because only one or two people knew about the conversation (with Mick). So I spoke to Michael and he said the manager (Alex Ferguson) had been ringing and wanted to speak to me. So I rang him and I'm glad I did. Because he is somebody I would listen to and trust.
Paul Kimmage: You also went for a walk last night on the beach?
Roy Keane: Yeah.
Paul Kimmage: And did anything on that walk change your mind in any way?
Roy Keane: It was a long night. There was a lot going on. I felt the same this morning but after I spoke to the manager and he gave his opinion on what I should do, I decided to stick it out.I'm not sure what he said to you but I would imagine it was something along the lines of "For f**k's sake don't do this. You will be destroyed?" (He looks puzzled) How would it destroy me?
Paul Kimmage: You were prepared to walk out on your country and on your team-mates on the eve of a World Cup?
Roy Keane: Naah . . . I think you're reading it wrong. I'm sure they would have thought 'Well he must have a damn good reason.' And I think if I did walk away people would, well, maybe not agree with me but say, 'F**king hell, that must have been bad.' But I wouldn't have worried what they thought of me in Ireland but I've got my mam and dad and family over there and it would have been a lot harder for them so.
Paul Kimmage: There are a lot of guys on the technical staff who have enormous affection for you: Mick Byrne and Johnny Fallon stand out. Would nothing they have said have changed your mind at all?
Roy Keane: No.
Paul Kimmage: When you decided you were staying how did you notify Mick and the rest of the team?
Roy Keane: I don't really want to go into that.
Paul Kimmage: Did you feel awkward, having announced you were going home, facing your team-mates at training this morning?
Roy Keane: Em . . . I hadn't announced it. I had spoken to Mick. I hadn't announced it to anybody else.
Paul Kimmage: Eamon Dunphy announced it on Today FM.
Roy Keane: Well, you know Eamon . . . but they would have had to book flights so it could have been a combination of anything.
Paul Kimmage: You didn't speak to Eamon?
Roy Keane: No. But they were trying to book flights so . . . Did I feel awkward? No, I just decided to put my head down and get on with it.
Paul Kimmage: Did you make it up with Alan Kelly?
Roy Keane: We spoke yesterday.
Paul Kimmage: So has there been nothing positive about this week? The fact that you can float around the hotel without getting hassle isn't a plus?
Roy Keane: Yeah, yeah, I had two walks yesterday and it's great but there's only so much walking you can do. It's different if you have a dog with you or somebody . . . I could spend an hour on the beach but I get bored after half an hour. And I've got books but there's only so many books you can read. I've got my three brothers and my cousin coming out next week so that will give me a bit of breathing space I suppose. People I can talk to. And feel relaxed with. People I can trust.
Paul Kimmage: Is Theresa (wife) coming out?
Roy Keane: No, with four kids it's too far.
Paul Kimmage: Okay where does it go from here? We play Cameroon next week? What's your take on this World Cup?
Roy Keane: Well, a lot of people think we should qualify but I think it's going to be very hard. We have an important week and a half . . . and no matter what happens, and no matter what I think is not going right, I'll make sure I'm right. Cameroon next Saturday at three o'clock will be bloody hard physically, because the conditions will play a factor. We need a positive result but I'll try and enjoy it and make my mark.
Paul Kimmage: In the World Cup?
Roy Keane: Yeah.
Paul Kimmage: And is it going to be hard for you to stay within the team?
Roy Keane: I don't really care. I'll just get through it and we'll see what happens.
© Independent.ie 2002
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