May 25, 2024

Saipan Incident : Roy Keane : Mick McCarthy : Introduction

Saipan Incident – An Introduction

This is my attempt to analyse the Saipan incident of 2002 and the events leading up to it. The events in Saipan convulsed the Irish nation. In my certain memory there has never been an incident quite like it that so polarised wide segments of the Irish people. I don’t know any Irish person that doesn’t have a strong view on the Saipan affair and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t firmly side with one or other of the two main protagonists in the drama that was played out in the Far East. The middle ground is very sparsely populated indeed. If you’re Irish you’ll get what I’m saying and if you’re not you’ll probably think that I’m exaggerating, or mad, or both.


When the Saipan incident unfolded a wondrous dichotomy was born that has cleaved the Irish psyche. Perhaps only the passage of time will bring relief. When I first heard the news that the Irish manager Mick McCarthy had sent the Irish captain, and our best player, Roy Keane home I was truly shocked. As the shock subsided and the different versions of events emerged I had no doubt as to whose side I was on. And like almost everyone else in Ireland I have stood steadfastly by my choice ever since. I never seriously questioned my decision – if it was actually a decision. To me it was the obvious conclusion and those on the other side, my polar opposites, were blinded by unthinking loyalty to their man.

In civil wars families can be divided and brother may be pitted against brother. In the period immediately after the news broke that Roy Keane had been sent home from Saipan I recall having many very heated debates with my brother. He is one of the most mild mannered and thinking individuals that one could meet. How was it that he was so blind? How could he be so irritating by holding on to a position that was so patently wrong? His man was clearly offside in the Saipan affair that even a SpecSavers ref could see it. Funny enough his views of me were probably just the same as mine of him.

It’s seven years since Ireland’s JFK moment. This is a seven year itch I couldn’t resist scratching at. However to bring real relief it had to be a serious scratch. I had to scratch deep beneath the surface to find out the real truth behind the eruption that occurred on that volcanic island in the Far East. To do this I had to try to be as dispassionate as possible and leave my deeply held views, nay prejudices, in the dressing room before I crossed the white line. It was difficult but I tried. Only others can determine if I succeeded but no-one should pass judgement on that unless they have read everything that I’ve written and understands the methodology that I used in arriving at my Saipan conclusions. It’s all here in the Saipan Table of Contents.


PS: Apologies for all those irritating soccer metaphors

The auothor is the owner / manager of, Ireland’s largest and fastest growing soccer directory. Born in Dublin, almost exactly 200 years after Arthur Guinness established his brewery at St James’s Gate, he has two teenage sons. Having spent over twenty years in banking he has since worked in a number of internet businesses. He launched at the beginning of 2009.

A right-footed footballer with two left feet he failed to make the grade at any level in the game. Thus confined to the role of spectator he has spent thousands of hours watching soccer. An avid fan of the Irish national team he watched in horror as the Saipan incident unfolded. Seven years later he committed himself to establishing the true facts of those traumatic events in the Pacific in May 2002.

Saipan Incident Methodology

Back to Saipan Affair Table of Contents – Irish Football

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Saipan Table of Contents Roy Keane & Eamon Dunphy
Saipan Introduction Roy Keane & Cork
Methodology Keane’s Aversion to Being Away From Home
Saipan Conclusions Roy Keane’s Relationship with Ireland
Roy Keane – Mick McCarthy Relationship Roy Keane – Zenith Data Systems Cup
Roy Keane Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Jack Charlton Relationship
Mick McCarthy Version of Saipan Incident 1 Roy Keane’s Flawed Character
Mick McCarthy Version of Saipan Incident 2 Roy Keane’s Good Character
Niall Quinn Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Footballer
Jason McAteer Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Team Captain
Matt Holland Version of Saipan Incident Roy Keane – Family Man
Roy Keane & Saipan – The Backdrop Roy Keane & Faking Injury
Roy Keane & Saipan – The Issues Roy Keane – Bad Boy
Keane / McCarthy Boston Row 1992 Roy Keane – Career Lows
Keane Misses Iran Playoff Game Roy Keane – Red Cards etc
Keane Misses Niall Quinn Testimonial Roy Keane – Cruciate Injury
Countdown to Saipan Incident Roy Keane & Alf-Inge Haaland
Roy Keane Saipan Tirade at Mick McCarthy Roy Keane & Gareth Southgate Red Card
Roy Keane / Tom Humphries Saipan Interview 1 Roy Keane & Alan Shearer Red Card
Keane / Humphries Saipan Interview 2 Roy Keane / Alex Ferguson Relationship 1
Roy Keane / Irish Times Saipan Interview 3 Roy Keane & Sir Alex Ferguson 2
Roy Keane / Paul Kimmage Saipan Interview 1 Roy Keane & Charity
Keane / Kimmage Saipan Interview 2 Roy Keane & Autobiography Contradictions 1
Roy Keane / Sunday Independent Saipan Interview 3 Roy Keane & Contradictions 2
Roy Keane / Tommie Gorman Interview 1 Roy Keane – Integrity
Roy Keane / Tommy Gorman Interview 2 Roy Keane – International Matches
Roy Keane / RTE Interview 3 Roy Keane – Football Record
FAI Involvement in Saipan Affair Roy Keane & Sandwiches
Saipan Reaction of Irish Players Roy Keane – Walker
Mick McCarthy – ‘crap player, crap manager’ Saipan – Pacific Island
Roy Keane / Mick McCarthy Playing Record I Keano – The Musical
Colin Healy – Forgotten Man of Saipan Roy Keane – Football Manager
Saipan Ten Years Later Roy Keane’s Dog Triggs
Roy Keane’s Autobiography Saipan Bibiliography