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05th Nov 2023

Andy Cole on Roy Keane gesture he will cherish for the rest of his days

Patrick McCarry

Andy Cole

The pair played seven seasons together at Manchester United.

Andy Cole and Roy Keane were two key figures in a United team that won the Treble together, in 1999, as well as a stack of other trophies before and after.

Keane arrived at United in 1993, with Cole signed from Newcastle United in January 1995. During their time together at United, the club won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League.

In 2014, six years after he hung up his boots, the former England international suffered kidney failure and required life-saving surgery. On his Friday night appearance on The Late Late Show, Andy Cole spoke of the tough times he went through, around that time, including sleeping for 14 or 15 hours a day.

“Getting up and walking was a chore,” he said. “I’d gone up to something like seventeen or eighteen stone with all the water I was holding. It was a difficult time. I’d played football and been fit all my life and then all of a sudden a random illness which has changed my whole world came around.”

During that Late Late interview, Cole spoke about how Keane, his former captain at United, was there for him during, and after, that tough period of his life.

Andy ColeRoy Keane of Manchester United is congratulated after scoring against Arsenal. by team-mates David Beckham and Andy Cole, in 1999. (Credit: Clive Brunskill /Allsport)

Andy Cole on Roy Keane

There is a side to Roy Keane that is not often highlighted, and carried out away from TV camera or photographers. The Cork native is generous with his time and has, over the decades, made countless trips to hospitals and care homes to visit with those that may be ailing.

Andy Cole recalled how Keane paid him a visit at the hospital, after the kidney transplant that saved his life.

“Roy came in, he brought about five car magazines,” said Cole.

“I remember the nurse said to him, ‘If you can Mr Keane, don’t make him laugh’, the stitches were very tight in my stomach.

“He said ‘Yeah, yeah, no problem’ but within about five minutes he had me rolling around! I was in so much pain but Roy being Roy he continued to make me laugh.

“I’ve always had a fantastic relationship with him, he was an unbelievable captain. Away from the football pitch he’s always had time for me.”

Andy Cole currently holds the Premier League record for fastest player to reach 50 goals. He achieved that feat in just 65 games, one quicker than Alan Shearer.

Erling Haaland is fast approaching that 50 goal landmark, though. The Manchester City striker has scored 47 league goals in just 46 games, so is well on track to surpass that Cole record.

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