Yorke lifts the lid on explosive Keane era

28 September 2009 10:36
DWIGHT Yorke has used the serialisation of his forthcoming autobiography to deliver an explosive account of the temper tantrums that peppered Roy Keanes spell as Sunderland manager.

Yorkes autobiography, Born To Score, includes a chapter on his time at the Stadium of Light that lifts the lid on the angry outbursts that eventually drove a wedge between Keane and the players in the Black Cats squad.

In particular, the now-retired midfielder recalls the half-time interval during last Septembers Carling Cup tie between Sunderland and Northampton Town, then a side languishing in the lower reaches of League One.

The Wearsiders were trailing 1-0 at the break, and Keane launched into a remarkable tirade.

Yorke says: The managers darkening mood was made only too clear on an ominous night for his regime. There were the first signs of tension between Keano and the supporters.

But that was nothing compared to the eruption we witnessed at half-time.

We knew we were in for a tongue-lashing. We waited for the fireworks. Keano emerged from the washroom, quietly, calmly. He asked our kit manager if he can get the tactics board. Sure, boss, its over here.

The board goes up. And Keano takes a running jump and smashes it over with a kung-fu kick. He screamed at Danny Collins: Never come to me and ask for a contract again. And then the captain, Dean Whitehead, is next.

Captain Captain Some f***in captain you are, he rages, slapping Dean about the head in the process, before turning on us all. I cant trust any of you.

No one knew Keanos moods better than me and I sensed his regime was heading for a point of no return.

Sunderland bounced back to win the Northampton game, but with Keane absent from training for weeks at a time, the writing was on the wall.

Yorke says: The atmosphere around the club plummeted.

For three, sometimes four days a week, we would see no sign of Keano and not too many players were disappointed when there was no sign of his car in the mornings.

The dressing room started to get disconnected, splitting into little cliques and groups of self-interest. Paranoia rampaged through the club, players were at each others throats and fighting one another it was disintegrating before our very eyes. For the next five weeks it was like this and the results inevitably crumbled still further.

Keane eventually resigned last December with Sunderland in the bottom three, leaving Ricky Sbragia to guide the club to safety in the second half of the season.

Yorke, who had been told to train with the reserves by that stage, attempted to sympathise with his former Manchester United team-mate following his resignation, but saw his conciliatory words thrown back in his face.

He says: I sent him a text saying how sorry I was how things had turned out, but thanking him for the chance at Sunderland and wishing him all the best for the future.

Ten minutes later, I got my reply: Go f*** yourself. Ive still got that text on my phone. I keep it because to this day it shocks me and yet at the same time, it doesnt.

Source: Northern_Echo