Roy Keane was such a fascinating character that, despite retiring in 2006, a generation that never even watched him play will know about the former Manchester United midfielder.
That’s in part due to his must-watch appearances on Sky Sports. But it’s also a result of some of the great – often controversial – stories that Keane was involved in during his career.
There’s the infamous rant on MUTV in 2005, in which Keane slated a number of United players following a 4-1 defeat to Middlesbrough.
Three years earlier, Keane was sent home from the 2002 World Cup after complaining about Ireland’s training facilities and preparations for the tournament.
Keane didn’t shy away from making his feelings known, a trait that has made him a hit as a pundit, and it helped him become a leader in Man United’s dressing room.
Keane put Richardson in his place
Sir Alex Ferguson cultivated a culture at the club that his senior players helped to maintain. The situation is different today, with the cohesion at Old Trafford becoming undone by frequent managerial changes, leaks and an overwhelming feeling that the squad lacks enough leaders.
But during Keane’s time there was no room for any nonsense. As Kieran Richardson found out.
‘Go home. Don’t come back’
Clearly naive to the levels of professionalism in the first-team, Richardson was once sent home from training by Keane after arriving to training with music blaring from his speakers.
The story was told by former United youth team player Febian Brandy in an article on Training Ground Guru in 2018.
“I was about 13 when Kieran Richardson had just made the first-team squad,” Brandy said.
“He came into training one day with the car roof down and his music blaring out. He thought he was the man.
“Unfortunately for him, Roy Keane was walking into the car park.
“He pointed at him and said, ‘Turn your music off and go home. Don’t come back here today.’”
That was Richardson told.
Imagine Keane in United’s dressing room today.
Some of the players wouldn’t last five minutes. Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard wouldn’t dare perform their handshake. Harry Maguire would receive a dressing down each week.
Maybe that’s what the club needs right now.