Stephen Hunt on Roy Keane's unusual attempt to sign him for Sunderland
"He ain't gonna sign me now, is he?!"
On this week's episode of our new House of Football podcast, former Ireland winger Stephen Hunt joined us in studio to discuss his eccentric Premier League career.
Perhaps best remembered for his time at Reading when they were competing in the Premier League under Steve Coppell, Hunt recalled the time that Roy Keane tried to lure him to the Stadium of Light.
Remembering the incident, Hunt provided a glimpse into a failed moved from a previous transfer window, in which a switch to Wigan Athletic fell through at the eleventh hour.
"I was meant to go to Wigan one summer or January window but then (Charles) N'Zogbia turned up from Newcastle. I was there getting my suit on ready to go but it didn't happen!"
Dusting himself off from that scuppered transfer, Hunt had a similar experience the following season, when none other than the infamous Roy Keane came calling, looking to bring the wide-man to Sunderland.
"A year later, my agent phones me and says Sunderland like you and would like to sign you, what are you thinking? I said ok, Sunderland will have to buy me because I have too much respect for Steve Coppell to go and knock on any door and torment anyone".
"So, two or three bids come in straight away from Roy... so he had the two or three bids knocked back, and at this stage I'm thinking, yeah, I'll go and play for Roy if I could!"
This was when things began to take a turn for the 39-time capped Ireland attacker, as his Reading side were set to face Keane's Sunderland in their next fixture.
"We were to play Sunderland with four or five days to go in the window... 86th minute I score a goal, a dubious one as to whether its gone over the line or not! But I'm off like Shearer celebrating (hand up in the air) because I was happy to score a goal and Reading had been really good to me".
Recalling the post-match proceedings, Hunt rememberers a remarkable television interview he gave in the aftermath of his late goal.
"I look back on the Match of the Day interview, where I wore the farmers cap, and I had a blue tie that was kind of half done. So I looked scruffy... and I go into the interview and say I'm delighted to score the winner, respectfully. Then Roy comes out of the managers office!"
Keane, who had endured a falling out with Reading backroom staff, took offence to their waiting for a post-game handshake, thinking that the Reading staff were "taking the mick" out of him.
The red mist descended and the former Manchester United captain stormed off past Hunt in the bowels of stadium, without saying a word to the player he was trying to sign.
"He aint gonna sign me now is he?! I'm thinking that's the end of me going to Sunderland, and then the next day a bid came in for £8.5 million!", recounted Hunt.
Ultimately, the move didn't materialise, with the winger instead going on to sign for Hull City and Wolves in the Premier League, before seeing out his career at Coventry City.
You can watch the rest of the episode here, or listen down below.
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