Keane breaks silence on exit

22 February 2009 11:05
Roy Keane has confirmed he walked out on Sunderland because of a falling-out with the club's American-based majority shareholder Ellis Short.

Keane took charge at Sunderland in 2006 and guided them to the Championship title, but just two years later he departed the Stadium of Light.

The Manchester United legend has now revealed that he left after the 'dynamics' at the club changed when Short arrived.

Keane was brought to the club by Niall Quinn - who was backed by Irish consortium Drumaville - but more investment was needed and the club turned to Short in September 2008 and, within a matter of months, Keane departed.

"When I became a manager, Niall Quinn became a chairman. I always believed we were working together, not one working for the other. It worked well, I couldn't have faked that," Keane told the Irish Times.

"The club's owners - the Drumaville consortium - were spot on and it worked. I was more comfortable with Drumaville.

"I never saw them after matches but they stuck to what agreement we had. They'd fly in, watch the games and get a flight back home to Ireland.

"With Short, Niall and I had sat down with him a couple of times and I went to London to meet him twice. I thought, hmm, the dynamics are changing here. He said he had read my book.

"And I felt he was thinking from the start that I wasn't for him. He knew this wasn't going to be a long-term relationship."

Final strawKeane revealed the final straw was when Short tried and failed to make contact with him following the 4-1 defeat to Bolton.

"It started with a demand to know where I had been the previous day, he wanted me available at all times," he said.

"It was only the second day in my career as a manager that I had ignored calls. It was disappointment. Same as after the Everton game when we lost 7-1.

"Then there were accusations about how often I came in, about moving my family to Sunderland. And it was the tone. I couldn't give my heart and soul with this fella on my shoulder.

"So I rang my lawyer Michael Kennedy and said, 'Michael, speak with whoever you have to. I'm done with Sunderland'."

Keane also revealed he ended up signing players he did not want, in order to make up numbers in his squad.

"I had one player asking who else I was signing. I should have told him there and then to get out of my office. But I signed him. We needed bodies," he said.

"He got a contract for too much. You learn. If the word about a player is he is bad news, well, then he will be bad news.

"But when we were promoted from the Championship we had 13 or 14 players starting in the Premier League.

"You'll sign anybody who will play. I would be giving contracts to players I didn't rate that highly. I needed the bodies!

DisciplinarianHe also dismissed suggestions that he was a disciplinarian, saying: "I rolled with things.

"I had the police come to the training pitch and had to go off with them for one of the players. Christmas parties etc, things got out of hand and I sorted it.

"Three players were caught on video one night with a girl. I had to go and sort it out.

"I wanted one to play the next game. We needed him. Niall and the board overruled me and I took their opinion on board."

Keane also insisted he is still very much looking to get involved in football, dismissing claims from former boss Sir Alex Ferguson that he could move on to do something different.

"Alex Ferguson comes out and says, 'You never know what he is going to do next.'

"What did he think I was going to do? Go backpacking around Mexico? I have five kids. Football is in my blood, I'd just had enough at Sunderland. Things had changed. End of story."

He confirmed that he is also ready to move house if needed and that was never an issue with him.

"I'm happy to move house, happy to go anywhere. I would be happy to manage a Championship club. I'm not tied to Manchester. I'm from Cork," he added.

Finally, Keane admitted he was less than sympathetic for the plight of former Sunderland player Clive Clarke - who suffered a heart problem while on loan at Leicester.

"On a night we got beaten in the cup by Luton, the staff came in and said, 'Clive Clarke has had a heart attack at Leicester'.

"I said, 'Is he oaky? I'm shocked they found one, you could never tell by the way he plays'.

"Clarke later goes and does a piece in some newspaper telling the world that I have lost the dressing room. How does he know? He wasn't there! Clown."

"We went back to Stoke and Clive had been there as a player. I swear he actually thought he was Stanley Matthews coming back to them.

"He was kissing everybody. He got back on the bus with presents for his baby, delighted with himself."

Source: SKY_Sports