Rio lifts lid on how Sir Alex broke news of Keane axing

Joe Williams

Rio Ferdinand has revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson broke the news that he had decided to end Roy Keane’s Manchester United career back in 2005.

The United great gave an infamous interview with MUTV 13 years ago, where he hit out at a number of his Red Devils team-mates and even fired shots at his manager.

However, his words left Sir Alex furious and Keane was subsequently called in for showdown talks alongside his agent and United’s chief executive David Gill.

The Irishman stormed out of that chat after that his current contract, which only had months remaining anyway, would be paid off and that he would never play for United again.

Ferdinand, a team-mate during the row, has revealed what Fergie told the dressing room the next day.

“The manager [Ferguson] thought that it was not right and disrespectful to the team,” he told Netflix documentary “Sir Alex Ferguson: Secrets of Success”.

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“He told the players Roy Keane would never come back to Man Utd again – even though he was captain for us.

“He was probably the best player Man Utd had – but it was a message to the next generation.

“Don’t ever think you are bigger than this club – even the captain was told he would never play again.”

Keane did eventually apologise to Ferguson and his assistant Carlos Queiroz, having also had a run-in with the Portuguese coach.

However, Keane insists he wishes he had not, as stated in his autobiography: “I went to see the manager and Carlos, and I apologised.

“Sometimes you feel a justified anger, sometimes you feel you’ve done something wrong.

“I apologised but afterwards, I was thinking, ‘I’m not sure why I f***ing apologised’.

“I just wanted to do the right thing. I was apologising for what had happened — that it had happened.

“I wasn’t apologising for my behaviour or stance. There’s a difference. I had nothing to apologise for.”

Keane, who is now the Republic of Ireland’s assistant manager, won 19 major trophies during his career – 17 of which came at United.