Roy Keane's pure 'anger' over Man Utd exit and how relationship was brutally ended

Roy Keane looking frustrated while speaking on the Stick to Football podcast
-Credit: (Image: YouTube/Stick to Football podcast)

Roy Keane has admitted he was furious with the manner in which he left Manchester United.

In November 2005, Keane, 52, suddenly departed Old Trafford by mutual consent, despite not being able to sign for another club until the January transfer window. At the time, his contract with the Red Devils was in its final months and he was not expecting to be handed a new one by the club.

His departure came soon after he criticised his team-mates in a stinging interview with MUTV, which never got broadcast, after the club were defeated 4-1 by Middlesbrough. Nearly 19 years on from his exit at the club, Keane highlighted his anger in the way it was handled by the club.

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While speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, Keane said: “I don’t see how things could have been different with Sir Alex. It’s a silly thing to be thinking about – that’s not going to happen.

“I get my anger is obviously a long time ago but the worst anger you can have is the justified anger where you feel – again I feel – I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was 34, I had a broken foot, and my contract was coming up, it was an easy fix for [Manchester] United to go, ‘Your days are numbered, alright, cheers, thanks a lot’ – and I’ve seen players leave but I could have left in the summer.

“I had no hang ups about leaving in the summer, or going, ‘Am I getting another sneaky deal here?’ Listen, I’m a big boy, I can deal with it. It was all the way it was done; it wasn’t nice – that’s the bit. Not that I had to leave United, no – again, that’s life.”

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His sudden exit brought down the curtain on his 12-and-a-half years at Old Trafford. Keane would eventually join Celtic in the following transfer window, signing an 18-month deal with the Scottish giants.

But he wasn't able to arrive at Celtic Park until January 1, meaning he spent the best part of one and a half months without a club. Looking back, he admits that it may have been more beneficial if he did not leave at the moment he did.

He added: “In hindsight, if I went over to the secretary’s office at Manchester United asking that if I signed for another club, do I have to leave today, and they would have said no, then that would have changed my mindset. If I was unable to play for another team till January, then I would have played with the reserves at United.

Roy Keane and Sir Alex Ferguson pictured next to each other after the former's testimonial against Celtic
Keane departed Manchester United in November 2005 -Credit:Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

“Some of the best decisions I’ve made in my life have been instinctive, and when I left Manchester United, my gut feeling was that the respect had gone for both parties, but the one who was going to suffer the most was me.

“I had bust ups with Sir Alex Ferguson in the past, but for him to say that me leaving the club was the end of my career was harsh from him. I walked out with an injury, which was a double whammy for me as I couldn’t play till January.

“When I left the club, there were a lot of stories that came out about me in the press, mainly focusing on my relationship with players, but it was all lies, which can tarnish you, but I can live with it and am at peace with it all.”