Roy Keane says he wished he had not apologised to Sir Alex Fergusonshortly after leaving Manchester United, as he revealed the explosive nature of the pair's break-up that led to his departure.
Keane, in his new autobiography The Second Half, provides the chronology of the falling out with both Ferguson and his assistant Carlos Queiroz, which divided United supporters over their allegiance to the club captain and manager. After they went their separate ways Keane approached the Scot to try to settled their differences.
“Now I kind of wish I hadn’t," Keane writes "Afterwards I was thinking, ‘I’m not sure why I f****** apologised.’ I just wanted to do the right thing.
"I was apologising for what had happened – that it had happened. But I wasn’t apologising for my behaviour or stance. There’s a difference – I had nothing to apologise for.”
It started in a pre-season training camp in the Algarve, where he had an argument with the increasingly influential Queiroz about loyalty.
“He was just on my right shoulder," said Keane. "How I didn’t f****** hit him – I was thinking, ‘The villa in Portugal, not treating me well in training' – and he just used the word 'loyalty' to me.
“I said, ‘Don’t you f****** talk to me about loyalty, Carlos. You left this club after 12 months a few years ago for the Real Madrid job. Don’t you dare question my loyalty. I had opportunities to go to Juventus and Bayern Munich.”
Ferguson tried to intervene. “That’s enough. I’ve had enough of all this,” he said.
“You as well gaffer," Keane retorted. "We need fucking more from you. We need a bit more, gaffer. We’re slipping behind other teams.”
In January Keane gave an infamous interview with MUTV, which was never aired, in which he severely criticised several team-mates for their performances in the 4-1 defeat at Middlesbrough, a game he had missed because of a foot injury.
He says he was fined £5,000 and then dropped from a reserve team fixture, as Ferguson and the chief executive, David Gill, prepared a written statement to confirm his departure, in which they got details such as the length of his service at the club wrong.
“I said to Ferguson, ‘Can I play for somebody else?’" Keane writes. "And he said, ‘Yeah you can, cos we’re tearing up your contract’. So I thought, All right – I’ll get fixed up.
"I knew there’d be clubs in for me when the news got out. I said, ‘Yeah, I think we have come to the end.’ I just thought, ‘F****** p****’ – and I stood up and went ‘Yeah. I’m off.”