Journalist Matt Dickinson has revealed a personal account from former Manchester United star Teddy Sheringham about what it was like to work alongside the legendary Roy Keane.
In Dickinson’s new book, 1999 Champions League final goalscorer Sheringham goes into great length about his troubled relationship with the skipper.
One incident took place a year before that heroic moment, the year after Sheringham joined United from Spurs. Keane had been ruled out for a year with a bad injury.
“All pretty p—ed, not overly, but had a few drinks, not smashed p—ed,” Sheringham told the journalist.
“All in a minibus coming back to where we got picked up from. I’m sitting behind the driver, Keany was next to the driver. Steve Bruce is next to me, Pallister, Denis, a couple of others in there. Bit of banter flying about in the car.”
“All of a sudden, Keany said, ‘Why don’t you f— off back to London in your f—ing red Ferrari and your penthouse?’
“I went ‘Eh?’ And he says, ‘Yeah, f— off back to London.’
“I’m like, ‘Are you coming for me, Keany? Why are you coming for me, you Paddy? F—ing what?’
“…And then he jumped round, still with his bad leg, got me by the tie, pulled me towards him, grappling with him. Suddenly everyone’s going ‘what’s going on?’ and pulling us apart.”
The pair had previously rubbed shoulders during their time at Nottingham Forest. Keane had not been impressed that Sheringham had visited his friend Tony Cascarino when playing for the Republic of Ireland.
“I couldn’t sleep that night thinking, ‘It’s going to go off as soon as I get into training.’ I’ve seen Roy in the gym so I know it can go off. So I go in thinking, ‘Get yourself ready.’ I actually go in to change thinking, ‘I’m ready for him.’”, Sheringham remembered.
“And Keany gets up and walks out. He didn’t say a word to me. He didn’t say a word to me for the next three-and-a-half years.”
Despite the total silence, Sheringham retained the utmost respect for the United skipper.
“There were so many great players at United but if Keany didn’t play we weren’t the same team,” he said.
“If he wasn’t in training, it wasn’t the same training session. If you put him in, he’d be snarling and snapping at you on your team. And if you put him in the opposition, he’d be having a go at you. There’s competitive people and ultra-competitive people and he was just on it. If it was the time when he’d come off the drink, at a time when he was a bit more hyped up, it made it intense in every moment that you were in and around the ground.
“Players knew if he had the hump with you, even just in the canteen. He might say something to them like ‘I see you’re the first to get your f—ing lunch, eh.’ It could be anyone, Jesper, Yorkie, he didn’t care. It made it a very intense place to be.”
Dickinson also claims that Keane’s relationship with goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was even worse than that with Sheringham.
A brawl on a pre-season tour in 1997 and fights over the captaincy continued for years.
Dickinson’s memoir from his days of following United is available from all good bookstores.
1999: Manchester United, the Treble and All That. First published in Great Britain on Thursday by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2022 Copyright © Matt Dickinson, 2022
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