May 25, 2024

Bad Boy Roy


Throughout his football career Roy Keane lived up to his bad boy image. His aggressive playing style often brought him into conflict with opponents and match officials. His troubles were not confined to the playing pitch however. Keane’s autobiography catalogues a whole series of unpleasant events that involved the footballer throughout his playing career.

Some of these events were very public and received media coverage at the time. Keane has always been uncomfortable with the public intrusion into his private life and frequently such intrusions led to confrontation and sometimes violence. Instead of trying to keep a lower profile Keane admits that when he was younger and out with his friends “…we weren’t exactly unobtrusive” and often attracted unwanted attention.

The following is a catalogue of just some of altercations or difficulties that Roy Keane became embroiled in during his soccer career. Some are outlined in his autobiography and others are taken from other sources.

1991 – Fighting in Cork

Following a 0-0 draw against Norwich Brian Clough allowed the nineteen year old Keane return home to Cork for a break. Back in Mayfield with his brothers and friends he had a “few pints” in his local pub. They then decided to head into Cork City to a disco called Sidetrax. As Roy relates they had “…graduated to double Bacardi and Cokes…”. Keane explained that it was his round and as he was carrying the drinks to the table “…a guy appeared out of nowhere and smacked me in the face…next thing I know I’m fighting two guys.” Roy’s friends got involved and the two guys got a “…right hammering and were thrown out.” How did Roy Keane react to this? The next night he and his friends “…got steamed up…” and went into Cork City. Keane refused to be cowed by the events of the previous night. (Source: Keane: The Autobiography – Pages 42 & 43)

1992 – Arrested in Nottingham

Roy Keane was arrested after an altercation outside a nightclub in Nottingham in 1992. While details are sketchy Keane was not charged. (Source:

1992 – Boston Row with Jack Charlton & Mick McCarthy

Famously the nineteen year old Keane, at the end his first international tournament in the USA in 1992, put it up to his manager Jack Charlton and Mick McCarthy.

When berated by Charlton for turning up late for the team bus in Boston he retorted that he hadn’t asked anyone to wait for him.

When Mick McCarthy waded in on his managers side a drunken Roy Keane rounded on his captain also. For a more detailed account click on Boston Row – Roy Keane & Mick McCarthy.

1993 – Escorted From Nightclub

In January 1993 Roy Keane was removed from a Manchester nightclub for inappropriate behaviour. Apparently Keane had been spitting beer at other customers and using abusive language. (Source:

1993 – Thrown out of Nightclub

In December 1993 Roy Keane became embroiled in fight in an East Midlands nightclub which led to him being ejected from the club and being fined a weeks wages by Manchester United .

1994 – Bust up with Maurice Setters

During the 1994 World Cup there were reports of of a training ground bust up between Roy Keane and Maurice Setters (portents of a future World Cup).

Famously Jack Charlton held a press conference where he presented Keane and Setters to assembled press to reassure the Irish football public that all was well in the Irish Soccer camp.

In his autobiography Keane claims that the row was actually between Andy Townsend and Setters. He further claims that “controversial Roy” was chosen as a “convenient patsy”. “Like a fool I played the role, the anger only rising in me when I walked into the glare of the television lights…”.

It is difficult to reconcile Keane playing the fool at Charlton’s request especially if he was an innocent party, with his reaction to Charlton and McCarthy two years earlier in Boston when Keane was clearly out of line. (Source: Keane: The Autobiography – Pages 120 & 121)

red-card 1995 – Roy Keane’s First Sending Off for Stamping on Gareth Southgate

In April 1995 in the first half of the FA Cup semi-final replay against Crystal Palace Roy Keane had received seven stitches following an tackle by Darren Pitcher. In the second half Gareth Southgate caught him on the same ankle in what Keane describes as a “fair” tackle yet Keane continues in his autobiography “F**k you. I get up and stamp on him.” The Palace player was lying on the ground, defenceless against Keane’s studs as the Manchester United captain stamped on Southgate’s stomach / groin area, not once but, twice. He left referee David Elleray with no choice but to send Keane off. In his book, Roy Keane: Red Man Walking, Frank Worrall said that “Keane’s defence was ‘He shouldn’t be lying on the floor. Defenders shouldn’t be on their backsides. I felt he got in the way'” (Page 257). Roy Keane was charged with bringing the game into disrepute. (Source: Keane: The Autobiography Page 142).

Continued on Roy Keane’s Career Lows & Roy Keane Red Cards etc.

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

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 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