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12th Sep 2023

Rio Ferdinand tells Alex Ferguson story that ended Roy Keane’s United career

Lee Costello

Roy Keane

“This guy is the coldest dude about.”

Rio Ferdinand recalls a story about how Sir Alex Ferguson made the decision to end Roy Keane‘s Man United career following a massive bust-up between the two.

Keane was captain of United, and Ferguson’s right hand man. The pair had enjoyed over a decade of unprecedented success together, but unfortunately by 2005, things had turned bitter.

The Irishman was having issues with the assistant coach at the time, Carlos Queiroz, and his struggles with injuries that season meant that he was more irritable and frustrated than normal.

Eventually, these frustrations came out during an interview with MUTV, which ended up being the last straw for the Red Devils manager.

Speaking on the Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: “We play a game on a Saturday, a player gets nominated on MUTV to do analysis of that game. We get beat by Middlesbrough, everyone plays rubbish.

“Roy Keane does the video analysis and destroys the whole team, including me. He goes through people individually, hammers them.

‘The manager, before it goes out, gets wind of it, cancels it going out, says it ain’t going out anywhere, that is a disgrace, it can’t happen.

“Calls a meeting at the training ground, we all go into the manager’s office, watch it and the manager goes off. It’s a movie in itself, everyone’s cringing. The manager’s going ‘how dare you, I’m the only one who should speak about our players publicly.’

“Roy has a go back, it kicks off between the coach and Roy again, some mad stuff said. The next day we go into training, the manager calls a meeting as we go on the training pitch and says just so you know Roy Keane will never play for this football club again.”

At the time you were either ‘Team Ferguson’ or ‘Team Keane’ but ultimately it was the manager who turned out to be the real winner.

Keane went onto finish the season, and his career, at Celtic, while Ferguson began to rebuild his team with young players like Cristiano Ronaldo, and Wayne Rooney stepping up to lead the way.

“Shiver me timbers. Do not **** with this guy, do not mess with Sir Alex. This guy is the truth. This guy is the coldest dude about. This is our captain, this is a legend of the football club, a phenomenal player, a great guy to have around the place when the chips are know you can look to your right and go Roy, where do we go now?

‘The manager says not on my watch, this ain’t happening. My man is done, he’s done. He’s doing that, he will never wear this kit again, looking around and all of a sudden he goes, let’s go and train.

“I know some man’s legs were flaky after that on the way over, like spaghetti on the way to the training pitch, because Sir Alex Ferguson’s cold, you’ve got to be cold in those situations.”

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