Ferdinand recalls how Roy Keane clashed with Ferguson before departure

Rio Ferdinand recalls how Roy Keane clashed with Sir Alex Ferguson in the manager’s office before midfielder was axed by Manchester United following his MUTV analysis in 2005

  • Rio Ferdinand says Manchester United squad were shocked when Roy Keane left 
  • Keane was axed by Sir Alex Ferguson after he criticised his United team-mates 

Rio Ferdinand has recalled how Roy Keane clashed with Sir Alex Ferguson in the manager’s office before his departure from Manchester United in 2005.  

The United squad were left shocked by Ferguson’s decision to axe captain Roy Keane after he criticised his team-mates.

Keane enjoyed an illustrious spell at United, making over 400 appearances for the club and winning an array of trophies, including the treble in 1999.

However, Keane’s time at United ended unexpectedly early after he criticised his team-mates on the club’s television channel MUTV and that led to him clashing with Ferguson in the manager’s office.

Keane was heavily critical of United’s performance in a 4-1 defeat against Middlesbrough and didn’t hold back in his assessment of the likes of Ferdinand, John O’Shea, Alan Smith, Kieran Richardson and Darren Fletcher.

Rio Ferdinand has recalled how the Manchester United squad were left shocked by Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to axe Roy Keane in 2005

Ferguson was livid after Keane criticised his team-mates on MUTV after a loss to Middlesbrough


Commenting on Ferdinand’s performance, Keane said: ‘Just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar.’ 

United manager Ferguson was furious with Keane’s comments and stopped the footage from being broadcast.

Ferdinand revealed that Ferguson called the team into his office to watch the video, which led to tensions rising further between the manager and his coaching staff and Keane.  

Speaking on the Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: ‘We play a game on a Saturday, a player gets nominated on MUTV to do analysis of that game. We get beat by Middlesbrough, everyone plays rubbish. Roy Keane does the video analysis and destroys the whole team, including me. He goes through people individually, hammers them.

‘The manager, before it goes out, gets wind of it, cancels it going out, says it ain’t going out anywhere, that is a disgrace, it can’t happen. Calls a meeting at the training ground, we all go into the manager’s office, watch it and the manager goes off. It’s a movie in itself, everyone’s cringing. The manager’s going how dare you, I’m the only one who should speak about our players publicly.’

Ferdinand stated that Ferguson subsequently told the squad that Keane would not play for the club again. Indeed, the midfielder departed United two weeks later and ended up signing for Celtic.

According to Ferdinand there was ‘some mad stuff said’ between Keane and the coaching staff during the clash. 

Ferdinand said: ‘Roy has a go back, it kicks off between the coach and Roy again, some mad stuff said. The next day we go into training, the manager calls a meeting as we go on the training pitch and says just so you know Roy Keane will never play for this football club again.’

Asked what message Ferguson’s decision sent to him, Ferdinand said: ‘Shiver me timbers. Do not **** with this guy, do not mess with Sir Alex. This guy is the truth. This guy is the coldest dude about. This is our captain, this is a legend of the football club, a phenomenal player, a great guy to have around the place when the chips are down.you know you can look to your right and go Roy, where do we go now? 

Keane enjoyed much success at United but Ferguson had no hesitation in axing him

‘The manager says not on my watch, this ain’t happening. My man is done, he’s done. He’s doing that, he will never wear this kit again, looking around and all of a sudden he goes, let’s go and train.

Ferdinand was left stunned by Ferguson’s presence and the way in which he dealt with the situation. 

He said: ‘I know some man’s legs were flaky after that on the way over, like spaghetti on the way to the training pitch, because Sir Alex Ferguson’s cold, you’ve got to be cold in those situations.’

In 2019 Keane suggested in an interview with Off The Ball that his departure wasn’t just down to the MUTV incident but also because of his difficult relationship with United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz.

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