‘He had a go at me’ – Ex-Ireland international Clive Clarke reveals Roy Keane spat at Sunderland

Roy Keane Clive Clarke

“We had words.”

Former Republic of Ireland international Clive Clarke has opened up on his difficult relationship with Manchester United legend Roy Keane during their time together at Sunderland.

Clarke revealed that he doesn’t appreciate it when “people talk down” to him, which led the former defender to often clash with Keane at the club.

Clive Clarke.

Clarke joined Dublin club St Joseph’s Boys in the early 1990s before being snapped up by Stoke City in 1996.

After spending two years in The Potters’ youth team, he was handed his senior debut against Oldham Athletic in May 1999.

Clarke eventually joined West Ham United after six years with Stoke. However, his time with the Hammers was disrupted by injury, and he made just three appearances for the club during the 2005-06 campaign.

Clarke’s Premier League journey then brought him to Sunderland in 2006 and it was here that he crossed paths with Keane, who was recently appointed as the club’s new manager.

Ahead of the 2007-08 season, Clarke left Sunderland to join Leicester City on loan. However, during a League Cup clash between Leicester and Nottingham Forest, he collapsed on the pitch having suffered a cardiac arrest. The injury prematurely ended his football career at 27.

Keane, in his 2014 autobiography ‘The Second Half’, admitted to feeling “glad” about Clarke’s aforementioned injury as it deflected from Sunderland’s 3-0 loss to Luton on the same night.

“I had the evil thought: ‘I’m glad he had it tonight’; because it would deflect from our woeful performance,” Keane wrote.

Clive Clarke on Keane dispute at Sunderland.

Clarke, speaking in an interview with the Irish Independent, opened up on being managed by Keane at Sunderland.

“Roy came in and he had his own opinions about how he wanted to do things. We just clashed as individuals, I don’t agree when people talk down to me and that’s what I felt at the time there,” Clarke revealed.

“I was injured when Roy came in, I had a recurring groin injury from West Ham, I got back fit and he put me into the team for a few games, but we had words.

“We were both at fault, he had a go at me and I bit back, which I shouldn’t have done. Sometimes biting back at Roy is the worst thing you can do.”

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