If Roy Keane does leave the safety of the punditry sofa and return to management with Salford City, you can guarantee one thing. Fireworks.
The Manchester United legend is reportedly being considered by the League Two club’s Class of 92 owners as they search for their next boss.
And if Keane’s career in the dugout – both as a manager and an assistant – tells us anything, it’s that things will not be quiet at Moor Lane.
From wrestling with a player in his office to kung fu kicking a tactics board and calling out a journalist because his phone rang, Sportsmail takes a closer look at some of the craziest incidents in Keane’s colourful managerial career so far.
Roy Keane is in the running to become the new manager of League Two side Salford City
ROBBIE SAVAGE’S VOICEMAIL MESSAGE
Keane signed a whopping 38 players during his two-and-a-half year spell with Sunderland, but Robbie Savage was not one of them.
The Irishman was interested in bringing the midfielder to the Stadium of Light from Blackburn and started working on getting a deal over the line.
But after being given permission to pursue Savage by Rovers boss Mark Hughes, Keane immediately pulled the plug when he was greeted by the Welshman’s voicemail message – a version of Budweiser’s famous ‘Wassup’ advert.
In his autobiography The Second Half, Keane wrote: ‘I rang Mark Hughes. Robbie [Savage] wasn’t in the Blackburn team and I asked Mark if we could try to arrange a deal.
Keane decided against signing midfielder Robbie Savage because of his voicemail message
‘Sparky said, ‘Yeah, yeah he’s lost his way here but he could still do a job for you.’
‘Robbie’s legs were going a bit but I thought he might come up to us [at Sunderland] with his long hair, and give us a lift – the way Yorkie [Dwight Yorke] had, a big personality in the dressing room.
‘Sparky gave me permission to give him a call. So I got Robbie’s mobile number and rang him.
‘It went to his voicemail, ‘Hi it’s Robbie – whazzup!’ like the Budweiser ad.
‘I never called him back. I thought: ‘I can’t be f***ing signing that.’
GIVING JORDAN HENDERSON AND CO A ROLLICKING
Keane may have been in charge of Sunderland’s first team, but that didn’t stop him getting involved with the reserves when necessary too.
Earlier this year, Jordan Henderson recalled how the Black Cats boss called him and his team-mates in for a special dressing down after they lost 2-0 to non-League Gateshead.
The Liverpool midfielder Rio Ferdinand on The Locker Room: ‘I was in the reserves playing away at [National League side] Gateshead. We had a pretty decent team out in the reserves and we ended up getting beat 2-0.
‘I don’t think Roy went to the game but his coaching staff did, and they rang him and told him what happened. On the coach back we got the shout that we needed to go back to the academy as the gaffer wanted to speak to us.
‘As you can imagine, we’ve just been beat 2-0 and we’ve got the gaffer Roy Keane waiting for us to get there.’
‘I can remember it like it was yesterday. Being in the room in like a half-circle and he [Keane] was basically just going through every player.
‘I think he might have watched some of the game back on the video and he went through everyone and I was sweating, I was only a young lad. Sweating front and back thinking ‘please don’t come to me’.
‘But I remember it well because he did come to me and he sort of just asked us if I thought I was good enough to play in the first team.
‘Which I answered yes, instinctively, even though I was sweating and nervous.
‘I think he quite liked that. I didn’t have the best of games to be honest, but you could see from the way I reacted that I was still trying to run about and trying to get back in the game.’
Henderson’s response seemed to do the trick. He added: ‘A few days later he called us into the first team and I made my debut against Ajax so he gave me my opportunity and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today without that really.’
MORE ROWS WITH THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Martin O’Neill, then the Republic of Ireland boss, was forced to defend Keane in 2018 after claims by one of their own players that he called Harry Arter a ‘f***ing p****’ and squared up to Jonathan Walters during a series of explosive summer rows.
In an astonishing WhatsApp voice message recorded by Stephen Ward and leaked on social media, the left back alleged that Keane, then Ireland’s assistant manager, launched expletive-laden attacks on both players after they were advised to sit out training by medical staff.
The bust-ups occurred in May and June when Ireland played friendly matches against France and the USA, although Ward was not in the squad.
Ward said he had been told that Keane challenged the players when they sat out of a training session because of fitness concerns.
Walters and Keane, alleged Ward, squared up to each other and had to be pulled apart. Walters, it is claimed, then sent a text message to Keane inviting him to his hotel room in France to talk through their differences but the offer was declined.
It was when the squad returned to Ireland, said Ward, that Keane clashed with Arter in the treatment room — again over his absence from training — causing the player to walk back to his room after being verbally abused by the former Manchester United captain.
Arter pulled out of a later squad because of the incident but returned to international duty in October 2018 after Keane called him to clear the air.
NIGHTMARE SIX MONTHS AT ASTON VILLA
Back in 2014, Sportsmail revealed the reasons behind Keane’s shock departure from Aston Villa, where he had served as Paul Lambert’s assistant.
The former Manchester United skipper almost came to blows with striker Gabriel Agbonlahor in an explosive training ground bust-up that hastened his exit.
The long-serving Villa star was talking tactics with Lambert when Keane interrupted. Agbonlahor resented the interference and tried to belittle Keane by telling him: ‘Excuse me, but I’m talking to the boss!’
The two men then became involved in a heated row and had to be separated. The ill feeling continued after the training session and Lambert held talks with Keane in the afternoon when it was decided they would part ways.
Keane endured a miserable six moth spell at Aston Villa after falling out with a number of stars
The incident was the final straw following six months of festering disputes and disintegrating relations with key Villa players. The majority of the squad welcomed the news of Keane’s departure.
A source said: ‘The atmosphere was horrible. It went downhill the moment Keane arrived. He p****d off all the big names he shouldn’t have p****d off and his relationship with the senior players slowly fell apart.
‘There was so much gloom about the place every time he turned up. When he went there was just a feeling of euphoria and relief.’
‘GRAPPLING’ WITH LIAM LAWRENCE
Keane was no stranger to a bit of physicality on the football pitch – and it would be a trait that he carried into his managerial career.
One such occasion was at Sunderland in 2006 after Liam Lawrence took exception to being left out of an 11-a-side training game.
‘He wasn’t happy about it, and stormed into the dressing room,’ Keane wrote in his autobiography.
‘He said he wasn’t going to stand on the sideline. I said, ‘See you in my office’.
‘It was a proper shouting match; it was more than that. It was intense.
‘I think I might have grabbed him – there might have been a bit of grappling, when he started to leave the office.
‘This was the first time a lad had defied me – and in front of the other players. So I’d had to think fast.’
Lawrence joined Stoke on loan the following day, although Keane admitted he ‘admired’ the midfielder for standing up for himself.
GOING IN GOAL AT SUNDERLAND
After spending £9million to make Craig Gordon the most expensive goalkeeper in British football, Keane found himself less than impressed with his No 1’s performance in training one day.
He decided to go in goal in order to show the Sunderland shot-stopper up – and even challenged his players to try and beat him from range.
‘I put the gloves on and I said that if they could get the ball past me I’d give them a thousand pounds each but, if they missed, they’d have to give me a hundred,’ Keane wrote in his autobiography:
Keane went in goal in Sunderland training because he was unhappy with No 1 Craig Gordon
‘Eight or nine players lined up, and I knew that Craig and the other goalkeepers were p***** off with it. They didn’t even look at my goalkeeping skills. They just did their stretches.
‘I tipped a few on to the bar, on to the post, and I kept a clean sheet. I won eight hundred quid off the players – I could have lost eight grand.
‘I was trying to generate a bit of banter, but I’d embarrassed, and maybe belittled, the goalkeepers. I hadn’t meant to. But I didn’t think the keeper should be beaten from 25 or 30 yards.
‘I think I lost Craig for a few weeks, and maybe longer, because of that.’
SMASHING UP A TACTICS BOARD
Keane’s famous temper was on full display following one particular defeat with Sunderland, after which he asked the team’s kit manager to set up a tactics board.
But, perhaps unsurprisingly, wasn’t to point out where his players had gone wrong on the pitch.
‘After one game, he asked our kit manager if he can get the tactics board,’ Dwight Yorke, who played for the Black Cats between 2006 and 2009, wrote in his autobiography.
‘The board goes up. And Keano takes a running jump and smashes it over with a kung fu kick.’
Keane’s post-match performance didn’t end there, though.
Yorke continued: ‘He screamed at Danny Collins. ‘Never come and ask me for a contract again’.
And then the captain, Dean Whitehead, is next. ‘Captain? Captain? Some f***ing captain you’.’
A VERY ANGRY PRESS CONFERENCE
If Keane does end up taking the Salford job, anyone attending his first press conference would be wise to switch off their phones.
During his time as Ipswich boss, the Irishman was left raging after a journalist’s mobile rang not once, but twice, as he was previewing the club’s next match.
Keane didn’t hold back, saying: ‘Whose phone is that? That’s the second time it’s gone off.
‘Why don’t you turn it off? Now that’s the second time it’s gone off. Why don’t you put it on silent? Why don’t you turn it off?
‘You’re just going to let it ring? Oh right, that’s good manners.’
A lesson well and truly learned.