Roy Keane has launched a savage attack on his old Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, claiming the Scot is still trying to exert “control and power” at Old Trafford and accusing him of having “a massive ego”.
Keane, who left United in 2005 after a fall-out with Ferguson, makes the explosive comments about Ferguson in an ITV4 documentary called Keane and Vieira: The Best of Enemies which airs tonight concerning his rivalry with former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira.
The Irish firebrand, who was Ferguson’s midfield driving force in a glorious spell for the club between 1993 and 2005, also says his former manager at Nottingham Forest, Brian Clough, is the best manager he had worked with.
United have endured a difficult start to life under Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes, having lost three Barclays Premier League games at Old Trafford already this season, and sit ninth in the table.
Keane said of Ferguson, now a director at United: “Everything is about control and power. He’s still striving for it now even though he’s not manager. There’s massive ego involved in that.”
He said that his relationship with the former United boss is now “non existent”.
The Irishman even took issue with Ferguson praising him in his recently released autobiography for “covering every blade of grass” in the 1999 Champions League semi-final second leg against Juventus. Keane added: “Stuff like that almost insults me. I get offended when people give quotes like that about me. It’s like praising the postman for delivering letters.”
Keane admitted he had cried in his car when his United career came to an abrupt end over a candid interview he gave to the club’s in-house television station criticising his team-mates.
He said: “Of course I was upset: I did shed a few tears in my car for about two minutes. But I also told myself I had to get on with my life.
“I walked out with nothing, I had no club lined up and I was injured. I told David Gill I had been injured playing for Man United. I could have played for Manchester United easily for another couple of years.”
Keane laughed off the furore surrounding the infamous MUTV interview and said he felt the row between Ferguson and then club director John Magnier over the stud rights to racehorse Rock of Gibraltar had to have had a “negative effect” on the club.
Keane said: “I managed the dressing room: that was my job. If people didn’t think [the Rock of Gibraltar row] had a negative effect on the club then they are in cuckoo land.”
Keane said Ferguson’s strongest trait was his “ruthlessness”, while labelling “loyalty” his biggest weakness.
Ferguson said in his autobiography that his authority at Old Trafford would have been undermined had he not forced Keane out in 2005. The Scot said Keane had “slaughtered” several of his team-mates in the MUTV interview then invited the United players to watch the interview, but that the decision backfired when senior players, including Edwin van der Sar and Ruud van Nistelrooy, rounded on the captain.
At a press conference promoting the release of his book in October, Ferguson said: “We had to react to the situation so quickly. The meeting in the room was horrendous. I just couldn’t lose my control in this situation. If I had let it pass and allowed it to happen the players would have viewed me much more differently to how I would have liked to have been judged.
“Throughout my career I have been strong enough to deal with important issues like that. Roy overstepped his mark. There was no other thing we could do.’’
Responding to the comments in Ferguson’s book, Keane told ITV in October: “I do remember having conversations with the manager when I was at the club about loyalty and, in my opinion, I don’t think he knows the meaning of the word.”