Sir Alex Ferguson Autobiography: Roy Keane's MUTV Rant Was A 'Joke'

Sir Alex Ferguson Autobiography: Keane's MUTV Rant Was A 'Joke'

Sir Alex Ferguson has detailed his extraordinary fall-out with former Manchester United captain Roy Keane, labelling the former captain's behaviour as a "joke" and "frightening".

Keane left United in 2005 following a fraught four months at the club, as the relationship between two allies broke down irreparably.

The former midfielder gave a frank and fierce critique of several United players after a 4-1 loss at Middlesbrough in October 2005, effectively setting the wheels in motion on his exit.

"There were episodes of great friction and drama as he tried to impose his will on the team," Ferguson writes. "On one occasion, as I came into the dressing room, Roy and Ruud van Nistelrooy were at it, hammer and tongs. They had to be pulled apart by the players. At least Van Nistelrooy had the courage to stand up to Roy, becasue not everyone did.

"I believe - and Carlos Queiroz was at one with me on this - that Roy Keane's behaviour pattern changed when he realised he was no longer the Roy Keane of old. I think he could see the truth of what we were saying to him, but to surrender to it was too threatening to his pride. He thought he was Peter Pan."

As suspected, Ferguson says United's 2005 pre-season was dominated by Keane's disenchantment with assistant Queiroz, who was "having a nightmare with Roy" at Vale do Lobo in Portugal.

"Carlos explained that Roy considered the houses at Vale do Lobo to be beneath his required standard. Roy had rejected the first house because one of the rooms lacked air conditioning. The second threw up a similar problem. He wanted to stay in the next village, Quinta do Lago, with his family."

Keane "erupted" one morning, Ferguson says, and refused to apologise to Queiroz. The next day, Keane told Ferguson, "You're not the same man" and a "proper argument" ensued in which the Scot bellowed, "You showed no responsibility to the other players."

Months later Keane slammed several United players' performance in the Middlesbrough defeat during MUTV's "Plays the Pundit" show, which was never broadcast. Gary Neville was due to appear but Keane took over the slot, a move Ferguson said "didn't strike me as significant".

"Jesus, it was unbelievable," Ferguson recalls of Keane's critique. "He slaughtered everyone."

Ferguson reveals Neville then approached Ferguson and announced the players were not happy with the training.

"'You what?' I said. Roy had a major influence on the dressing room and I believe that he had used that influence to try and turn the situation.

"I let them have it. 'You pulled me down here to complain about the training? Don't you start, the pair of you... Who are you talking to?'"

"Later, Roy came up to see me and I told him, 'What you did in that interview was a disgrace, a joke. Criticising your teammates. And wanting that to go out."

Ferguson agreed to Keane's suggestion that the tape be showed to the players, which only poured fuel onto the fire.

"Roy asked the players whether they had anything to say about what they had just seen.

"Edwin van der Sar said yes. He told Roy was out of line criticising his teammates. So Roy attacked Edwin. Who did he think he was, what did Edwin know about Manchester United? Van Nistelrooy, to his credit, piped up to support Van der Sar, so Roy rounded on Ruud. Then he started on Carlos. But he saved the best for me.

"'You brought your private life into the club with your argument with Magnier,'" he said.

Magnier, an Irish business magnate and thoroughbred stud owner, held a 28.89% shareholding in United in 2005, primarily thanks to his friendship with Ferguson. However the two became involved in a bitter dispute over the prolific Rock of Gibraltar's stud rights, which indirectly led to the Glazer family's takeover of United in 2005.

"At that point, players started walking out. What I noticed about Roy that day as I was arguing with him was that his eyes started to narrow, almost to wee black beads. It was frightening to watch. I never understood his obsession with the Rock of Gibraltar affair.

"After Roy had left, Carlos saw I was quite upset. 'He needs to go, Carlos,' I said. 'One hundred per cent,' he said. 'Get rid of him.'"

Keane visited Ferguson two months later and apologised to him in person, but wounds were reopened in December 2011 when the Irishman criticised United after their Champions League group stage exit in Basel.

Ferguson dismissively refers to Keane as a "TV critic".

Before You Go