“You’re going to war. Hugging and kissing, don’t even look at them. You’re going to battle against them.”
Roy Keane is a footballing legend. His exploits as a Manchester United midfielder won him admirers both at home and abroad. But his wit and snappy quotes off the field caused just as much a stir as his efforts on it.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of every word the man’s uttered nor is it ranked in any particular order; we’ve just chopped and chosen the ones we felt were the most entertaining.
Roy Keane famous quotes.
- On Tottenham being ‘Spursy’ after a 0-0 draw at Bournemouth
“That’s in Tottenham’s DNA, they will constantly disappoint you. The table doesn’t lie, ninth, that’s where they deserve to be.”
- On Jesse Lingard’s clothing brand
“If there was a good, strong dressing room that would not be tolerated. That is why I worry about the United dressing room. That wouldn’t be tolerated in a good dressing room. For a young player, who is still learning his trade.
“Again, he could be the nicest kid in the world, I don’t know the lad. But if you are coming out with all that nonsense, people say you should have other stuff outside of football, I don’t think you should!
“I think football should be your number one priority. It should be. Focus on the game, don’t hide behind your cars, or your tattoos or your girlfriends or your agent, play the game.”
- Dig at Rio Ferdinand
“Just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, you think you are a superstar!”
- On Alf-Inge Haaland and the infamous tackle
“[Haaland] was an absolute pr*ck to play against,”
“I’d waited long enough. I f******g hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c***. And don’t ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries.”
- Rejecting Robbie Savage as a Sunderland signing
“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****** signing that’.”
- On being punched by Brian Clough
“Cloughie was dead right, absolutely. It was the best thing he ever did for me.”
- Current footballers’ weak mentality
“People say I’m a bit old school; I call it good school. No matter what’s going on at your club, you go out and give it your all. The idea that these players may be a little bit upset…and it’s not just at United.
“The modern player, they aren’t just weak players, they are very weak human beings.”
- Chances of beating Vieira in a fight
“If it had come to a fight, Patrick [Vieira] could probably have killed me.”
- Paul ‘Big problem’ Pogba
“I wouldn’t believe a word he says. There’s no meaning behind it. I don’t even think he believed what he was saying there.
“He’s talking about body language – he was throwing his arms up in the air. He’s a big problem.”
- Getting touchy-feely with Liverpool players
“You’re going to war. Hugging and kissing, don’t even look at them. You’re going to battle against them.
“The game hasn’t changed that much, the players have. Maybe chat to them after the game. Actually, don’t even chat to them after the game.”
- Luke Shaw’s hat choices
“When I see Shaw coming back into the team… the nearer we’re getting to kick-off, the more worried I’m getting,”
“I was fine about two hours ago.
“But when I see the players getting warmed up in silly hats…”
Roy Keane is not the biggest Luke Shaw fan
?"When I see people like Shaw coming back into the team, The more I look at the players warming up with their silly hats. I'm worried" ? pic.twitter.com/JzVV1apFfU
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 19, 2020
- On Liverpool’s progress in 2017
“It’s hard to get excited about them. To me, they are going nowhere fast.
“If Liverpool were playing out in my back garden, I wouldn’t watch them. They’re just drifting. Drifting nowhere.”
- When Jamie Carragher refused to include Ryan Giggs in a Liverpool/Man Utd combined XI
Roy Keane's reaction to @Carra23 picking Mane over Giggs in his combined XI ? pic.twitter.com/ovKRPXnjgR
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) February 18, 2020
- Getting revenge against Carragher!
“Jamie, you said almost winning the title. You didn’t win a title. You are talking about Manchester United here!”
- On Sunderland’s poor leadership
“The last song before the players went on to the pitch was ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba. What really worried me was that none of the players – not one – said: ‘Get that s**t off.’ They were going out to play a match, men versus men, testosterone levels were high.
“You’ve got to hit people at pace. F*****g’ ‘Dancing Queen.’ It worried me. I didn’t have as many leaders as I thought.”
- Using his Man United club car for three months after leaving
“I drove some f*****g miles in that car. Every little victory is vital.”
- Facing the FA’s misconduct charges
“The last time I was charged by the FA they had a murder lawyer in against me, so it’s going to be a hard case to win.”
- Battling Peter Schmeichel at 4 am in a hotel
“He told us that we were a disgrace to the club and that we’d woken Bobby Charlton up, that Bobby had come out of his room and seen us.
“Peter took responsibility for the fight, which was good. I admired him for it. But Sir Bobby could have tried to break it up.”
- On Darren Fletcher
“I can’t understand why people in Scotland rave about Darren Fletcher.”
- Asked if he’d like to have Klopp or Guardiola as a manager
“I wouldn’t want to play for any of them because then I’d have to play for Liverpool or City, shoot me!”
- Jérôme Boateng’s new hairstyle
“This is a player who has just won the Champions League, he’s supposed to be a fierce intimidating defender. Walking around with a haircut like that, looking like Megan Rapinoe…do me a favour”
- On the French lads at half-time
“Fabien Barthez and Laurent Blanc used to smoke together in the toilets, at half-time. They were French – they smoked. If it had been a couple of Irish lads, I’d have been shouting at them: Yeh dirty b*****ds – get out!”
- Getting into trouble in his hometown of Cork as a youngster
“The amount of fights I’ve had in Cork would probably be another book. I mean, people go on about my problems off the field, but they don’t even know the half of it.”
- Watching Jack Wilshere captain Arsenal when they lost to Ostersund (2018)
“To me the most overrated player on the planet.”
- On Jose Mourinho
“He’s got a fantastic CV and it seems like a good fit.
“Maybe not for me. he’s not my cup of tea.
“I’ve found him really irritating when I’ve coached against him.”
- Diego Costa’s Chelsea breakup troubles
“They are better off without him. The guy is obviously big trouble.
“I know he’s done well for them but he looks to me like a bit of a balloon.
“Get rid of him.”
- Playing for the Irish national team
“I love playing for my country but my sanity is more important.”
- Tony Cascarino
“There has been lots of things said about me over the years. I am happy to comment on people’s opinion in football I respect, but Tony Cascarino is a man I certainly do not respect, for a lot of reasons, and if I told you, you would be shocked.
“So the day I worry about Tony Cascarino will be a very sad day of my life.”
- Dwight Yorke
“Yorkie has officially retired about 5 times… The man’s a clown… People are going on about the game and agents and directors of football and managers losing their jobs, but we should be worried about people like him… Clowns.
“That’s the last time I’m going to say clown… If he’s the vice-president of FIFA, God help us all.”
- On Triggs, his dog
“Unlike humans, dogs don’t talk shit.”
- On WWE as a sport
“Last week I saw him (Rooney) slapping a wrestler and I’m thinking ‘Why is he getting involved in all that nonsense?’ There’s no benefit to him. I’d have a look at that side of it.”
- Ashley Young’s diving habit
“I think the guy’s a disgrace and if he’s a Man United player I’m a Chinaman,”
- On Gary Neville being the “stalwart” right back
“You were the only right-back at the club, to be fair. We were stuck with you!”
?"You were the only right-back at the club, we were stuck with you" ?
Roy Keane roasting Gary Neville over rotation at Manchester United @GNev2 | @MicahRichards | @KellyCates pic.twitter.com/65OyzJu2f7
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) December 12, 2020
- His feud with Sir Alex Ferguson
“People said [Ferguson] always had the best interests of Manchester United at heart. Darren Ferguson [his son] won a medal. He was very lucky.
“[Alex Ferguson’s] brother was the chief scout for Manchester United for a long time. I’m surprised his wife wasn’t involved in the staff somewhere.”
- When he got tattoos
“I’ve got my kids (tattooed) on my right arm: Shannon, Caragh, Aidan and Leah… The wife did ask me why didn’t I get hers and I said ‘they’ll always be my kids but you won’t necessarily always be my wife,’ which she wasn’t too pleased about.”
- Not a fan of pundits!
“Will those on telly yesterday be remembered for what they’ve achieved? None whatsoever. I wouldn’t trust them to walk my dog. There are ex-players and ex-referees being given air-time who I wouldn’t listen to in a pub.”
- On Eden Hazard hinting at a PSG move
“If I was one of his team-mates I’d kick him up and down the training pitch. Some of the senior players have got to get hold of him. A talented, talented boy but his attitude, even last night, he’s like a spoilt child. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
- Talking to Mick McCarthy before being expelled from the 2002 World Cup
“Who do you think you are having meetings about me? You were a crap player and you are a crap manager. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country and you’re not even Irish you English ****!”
- A bust-up with Patrick Viera
“Every week you, Senegal this, Senegal that, why don’t you f**kin’ play for them then?!”
(Originally published on December 25, 2020).
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