Roy Keane has blasted Manchester United for the way the club handled his exit back in 2005.
The Cork native departed Old Trafford under a cloud after giving an interview to MUTV in which he criticised individual players after United had lost 4-1 to Middlesbrough. MUTV pulled the interview and Keane's 12-and-a-half year stint at the Red Devils was brought to an end shortly afterwards.
Speaking at a fundraiser for his first club, Rockmount, the 40-year-old said: "The problem was a lot of headlines came out that United pulled the programme. But there’d been a build-up of things before that.
‘‘That pre-season (then-assistant manager) Carlos Quiroz was really disrespectful to me on a number of occasions, any player who was there would back me up on that one. I always respected the people I was working with."
Keane, who now works as a pundit for ITV and columnist for The Sun on Sunday, said he was staggered how the club handled his exit. After being summoned for a meeting with the club's hierarchy the then-skipper was advised to bring his lawyer which he said was 'never a good sign'.
‘‘They had a statement ready and they said, ‘Roy, we think we’ve come to the end’ and I said, ‘You’re right, we have’. They slid a statement across the table to me. My lawyer nearly fell off the chair at this stage because he thought it was just going to be a chat and a fine.’’
The former Sunderland and Ipswich Town manager was particularly hurt that neither manager Sir Alex Ferguson or chief executive David Gill knew how long he had been playing for the club. Keane joined in 1993 but Gill and Ferguson said they wanted to thank him for '11 and-a-half years service.'
"They said, ‘What year did you come?’ I said, ‘The first year we won the double [the 1993-94 season]’ and that was it," said Keane.
He added: ‘‘They’d obviously insulted me once again and I said, ‘Am I okay to sign for another club?’ They said, ‘You can’ and of course the following Monday I found out I couldn’t sign for anyone else until January so despite the fact they didn’t get the dates that I signed for the club right they also lied to me about when I could sign for a club because otherwise I would have just stayed at United until January.
"I left that morning and really, that morning, looking back, I should have stopped playing then because they really got on my nerves, they frustrated me. I felt badly treated. I had done nothing wrong. I was injured. I couldn’t sign for anybody. I should have done my own homework. I should have said, ‘I’ll take the weekend, I’ll ring the PFA, get the legal side of it’.
"My lawyer was shocked but even the statement they slid across the table, they knew what they were doing, they wanted me out that morning.’’
Keane subsequently joined Celtic in December 2005 and won an SPL title and Scottish League Cup with the Hoops before retiring the following summer after getting medical advice to hang up his boots.