Former Ireland striker Clinton Morrison was in the thick of the heated argument between Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane at the World Cup in 2002 which led to the Manchester United captain being sent home from the camp in Saipan.
It’s almost 17 years ago since McCarthy, during his first reign in charge of the Boys in Green, had a much publicised falling out with his captain Keane who had been unhappy with the facilities in the Irish camp in Saipan.
Keane spoke to the media about his unhappiness with the conditions, something that McCarthy did not take kindly to. The resulting row led to the Irish boss sending his captain home before a ball had even been kicked in the World Cup.
Morrison was involved with the squad at the time and speaking to Talksport, he gave his memories of the argument between the pair.
“I’m there signing my Irish songs, as I do, and Mick comes in with a paper.
“Roy had obviously had a moan [to the press] about the facilities, and Mick said: ‘I told you not to do any interviews, so why have you done this?’
“Roy said: ‘I did an interview because I wanted to. The set-up, the surroundings, they have not been good enough’.
“They started arguing. I’m thinking, hang on a minute, our best player, the best player Ireland have probably produced for many, many years is there arguing with the manager and the whole squad is watching it.
“He said to Mick: ‘You were a bad player anyway, you had a rubbish first touch and you’re a poor manager. The only manager I respect is Sir Alex Ferguson
“Then he said: ‘And you’re English, you’re not even Irish!’
“As soon as he said that, I think most people who were born in England put their head under the table. I know I did. I was thinking, please don’t come for me!
“I don’t know if it would have come to blows, but Roy was steaming!
“I think Mick could have done it in a different way, spoke to him one-on-one, because Roy was always ready to blow back then, always fighting things and always ready to go into one.
“They got separated and Roy stood there and said: ‘Go on, Mick. What are you going to do? Make a decision”
😡 “Mick came in with a paper and said that he told us not to do any interviews.”
🗣 “Roy said: You’re a rubbish manager, you’re not even Irish, you’re English.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) March 20, 2019
Another player who was in the squad, however, didn’t agree with the validity of Morrison’s colourful account of events with Kevin Kilbane taking to Twitter to suggest that the former Birmingham striker’s memory may have been a little hazy.
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. https://t.co/suGqViUPf0
— Kevin Kilbane (@kdkilbane77) March 21, 2019