April 22, 2024

Roy Keane & Alan Shearer – Red Card

Roy Keane was sent of for the tenth time in his career on 15 September 2001. In a match in St James Park against Newcastle United, Manchester United had been 3-1 behind. Goals from Ryan Giggs and Juan Sebastian Veron levelled the score before Alan Shearer grabbed a late goal to make the score 4-3 to Newcastle.

Roy Sees Red

With time running out Roy Keane attempted to take a quick throw-in inside the Manchester United half. Alan Shearer impeded Keane, preventing him taking the throw. Roy Keane’s autobiography takes up the story from there;

“I lose it, throw the f***ing ball at him. ‘You p**k’ he sneers. The way he says it I know he really means it. I go for him, try to grab him by the throat. He’s grinning. ‘You p**k.’ He gestures dismissively. The red card comes out. Shearer’s right. I am a prick. Fell into the trap.”[Page 236]

Roy Keane Quits Football

Even though it was still relatively early in the season the signs were not positive for Manchester United. Team results and performances had been poor. This would have been enough to depress Keane in any event but the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson had announced that this would be his last season as manager of Manchester United had upset Keane.

The only man that Keane would ever listen to in football was about to retire. There was pall hanging over the United squad and Keane was convinced that the players had become apathetic. This was probably the closest thing to hell on earth for Keane. While he hated being involved in the Republic of Ireland set up he could limit his exposure by, choosing the matches to turn up for, by turning up late for matches, rooming on his own, and avoiding any unnecessary contact with the management and players.

With United none of this was an option. Playing for United was his day-job. There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Unless he quit football.

Keane Had Enough of his Own Behaviour

After his red card at Newcastle that’s exactly what he was determined to do. Give it all up. In what is perhaps one of the most honest passages in his autobiography Keane describes his thoughts as he travelled home to United on the team bus to Manchester.

“…I felt numb. I’ve done daft things before, but this time there was no excuse. Poyet in the Charity Shield … retaliation. The night in jail … a set up. All the red cards, Haaland, Villa Park, Middlesborough, Southampton, you’re only human, Roy, I told myself. But this time I couldn’t let myself off the hook. I’d had enough of my own behaviour. I’d had enough – full stop. The silence was because everybody else felt the same. It wasn’t worth it, I thought. Putting myself and everyone else through this. Driving, always driving. There’s only so much people can take.”[Page 236]

Keane – I Should Have Punched Him Properly

What is so honest about this is that Keane confirms that had no real sense remorse or guilt about the the catalogue of events mentioned – not even the horror tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland. It is difficult to work out what it was about the Shearer sending off incident that drove Keane to the decision to quit football at thirty years of age. It certainly wasn’t any regret over his attempt to

“…grab him by the throat.” As Keane brazenly stated in his video, As I See It, “… the worst thing is, I pushed him. If you’re going to get sent off you might as well punch him properly because you’re going to get the same punishment. You might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb…it was just a push, ridiculous.”

Bottled Up Emotions

Perhaps, as with other unfortunate incidents during his career it was what was going on in the background that was the real issue. The red card at Newcastle was just a symptom. More than likely it was the malaise that he perceived permeated Manchester United at time. A malaise brought about by the forthcoming retirement of Alex Ferguson.

As with other occasions throughout his career he bottled up his feelings inside. Rather than dealing with them in a rational and adult fashion he used the soccer pitch to vent his emotions.

Roy Keane Un-Quits Football

As is patently obvious Keane did not quit football at the time. In his autobiography following persistent entreaties by his wife and Alex Ferguson he decided to change his mind.

“I did it for Alex Ferguson. He’d stood by me through everything; quitting now would be a slap in the face for him, the last thing he needed when the club was struggling.”[Page 239].

NOTE: Unless stated otherwise all quotations are from:
Keane: The Autobiography; Roy Keane with Eamon Dunphy (2002); Michael Joseph Ltd

Roy Keane & Gareth Southgate Red Card

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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 Account 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
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
Roy Keane / Sunday Independent Saipan Interview 3 Roy Keane & Contradictions
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


Roy Keane – View Seven Years After Saipan
Football Quotes on Saipan


Triggs – The Autobiography of Roy Keane’s Dog
Ireland at 2002 World Cup Finals – Irish 2002 World Cup Squad – Irish Group Matches
Ireland V Cameroon – Ireland V Germany – Ireland V Saudi Arabia – Ireland V Spain