Roy Keane: This is how the former Manchester United player was let go by Sir Alex Ferguson

In 2005, Roy Keane was fired from the Manchester United football team by Sir Alex Ferguson, following a massive falling-out between the two men. Here's what happened.

Roy Keane reveals brutal way let go kicked football team Manchester United
© Robbie Jay Barratt / Getty Images
Roy Keane reveals brutal way let go kicked football team Manchester United

After his successful football career as a player, notably for Manchester United, Roy Keane moved on to become Sunderland's coach. This year (2024), the Irishman explained why he was let go from the team in 2005, and what happened backstage with the owner, Sir Alex Ferguson.

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He also revealed whether he is ready to bury the hatchet, in a rare interview with Sky Bet. Here's what he said.

Why did Roy Keane leave Manchester United?

Roy Keane played for the iconic English team Manchester United for twelve years before he was let go from the team, in a rather brutal way, as he has recently explained. After joining the team as a key player in 1993, he was eventually fired by then Manchester United owner Sir Alex Ferguson, in 2005. It all started with an appearance from Roy Keane on MUTV earlier in the season. During the interview, Keane criticised a number of his players, and also added he would be 'prepared to play elsewhere', which is said to have infuriated Sir Alex Ferguson. He also claimed to have a very tense relationship with Ferguson's assistant, Carlos Queiroz.

He had a huge falling-out with Sir Alex Ferguson

The former footballer did an interview, in January 2024, with Sky Bet's programme entitled Stick to Football where he explained how he learned he was let go from the team:

I generally have no problem when a club tells a player [to leave the club] – it’s the game we’re in.

He said he had no problem with being let go, however the way it was done left him feeling extremely disappointed. He explained:

I’m getting called into a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill, and before I sat down, they’d already prepared a statement. This is my issue – they already prepared a statement, and they had the years wrong!

After he was kicked out, Roy Keane still felt a sense of loyalty towards the team, and that he could not leave for another English team. Instead, four weeks after leaving Manchester United, he went on to play for the Celtic Glasgow team.

The Celtic lads, there were one or two idiots but generally speaking, they are great lads. I mixed with different lads, different dynamics, and I really enjoyed my time at Celtic.

He only played a few games before announcing his retirement and moving on to become a coach.

Roy Keane reveals what he thinks of Sir Alex Ferguson now

To this day, Roy Keane insists he did nothing wrong at the time, and he has ruled out any peace offerings towards Sir Alex Ferguson.

I no doubt caused him trouble when I was a bit younger – whether it was going drinking, or going missing, or being late for training, whatever might be the case – but my issue towards the end is, and my anger I’ve always had at the end when I left was, I felt I did nothing wrong and I still have that.

However, he gave rare but high praise of his former boss, saying:

The one thing I’d always praise the manager for is at the time he obviously had to manage some really good players and big characters – I always felt particularly with team talks and coming up with the football side of it, I always thought he said the right thing, at the right time.

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Sources used:

The Sun: BOY OH ROY Roy Keane reveals brutal way Sir Alex Ferguson kicked him out of Man Utd with statement prepared in advance

The Sun: RED TALK Roy Keane gives Sir Alex Ferguson rare praise but opens up on how pair fell out in furious bust-up at Man Utd

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