It’s fair to say that Roy Keane is not the most popular figure in football, and has won himself a lot of enemies down the years – largely due to his unforgiving attitude or relentless style of play on the pitch.
He has had notable fall-outs with the likes of Alex Ferguson, Mick McCarthy, and of course Manchester City’s Alf-Inge Haaland, who actually claimed Keane had effectively ended his career.
It may come as a surprise, then, that the latest sportsman to reveal a dislike of Keane is none other than golfer and celebrity Manchester United fan Rory McIlroy.
While discussing the importance of getting young people into sport, McIlroy spoke about how impressionable youngsters are and revealed his hard feelings for someone who might have been an inspiration to him stretch back to his own childhood days.
“Never meet your heroes” goes the saying, but Rory McIlroy has no such reservations, saying that such encounters helped fuel his love of golf.
Nevertheless, meeting Roy Keane had a very different impact on him.
“I remember going and watching the World Match Play at Wentworth every October, and getting golf balls from Mark O’Meara or Sam Torrance,” the Northern Irishman said, as per The Mirror.
“And I remember how good it felt. But I’ve had it the other way, where I asked someone for an autograph as a kid and they didn’t give it to me.
“And I’ve never liked him since.”
As a young United fan, McIlroy was a huge fan of former captain Keane, but says that all changed when he actually met his idol.
He added: “It was Roy Keane, who should be one of my heroes as a United player, but I’ve never liked him since.
“I went and asked for his autograph at the Portmarnock Links Hotel when he was with the Ireland squad, and he said no.
“It just sort of stuck with me I guess. So that’s why, if a kid asks me for an autograph, I always try to do it.”
The subject was raised after McIlroy was spotted handing his golf ball to a young fan at the British Masters last week, something he says is a common occurrence.
“Every time I need a new one I look for a young kid in the crowd between holes to give it to them,” he continued.
“I was surprised how that little moment last week became so big, but it just shows what such a small thing to me can mean to a kid, and that kid might be inspired to go and play.”
Asked whether he would consider signing any autographs for Roy Keane in the future, McIlroy joked:
“Only if he gives me his…”