Former Irish striker Jon Walters has revealed details of a heated exchange between himself and ex-Ipswich manager Roy Keane during their time at Portman Road.
Walters spent four seasons at Ipswich before a chance to move to the Premier League with Stoke City came up, something the striker was very keen on at the time.
Speaking on JOE’s Liquid Football, Walters detailed the time he and Keane almost came to blows over a potential Portman Road exit for the Irish international, after he had gotten wind of Stoke’s interest.
“I had a knock on the door and asked can I have a word. I said ‘look I know clubs are coming in for me’ and he said ‘how do you know?’
“I know that clubs are coming in, you’re not meant to know, but you do know and they said if it was the right offer they’d let me go but only if they match our evaluation so that was going on for about two or three weeks.
“You’re not meant to know what’s going on but agents speak to agents and everyone knows. I knock on the door a second time and it was like, ‘I’ve told you once that you’re not going unless they meet our evaluation and they haven’t met our evaluation so you’re not going’.
“I was like ‘ohh piss off’ or ‘this is a fucking joke this’ and he said ‘who do you think you’re talking to?’
“Then it switched back to me and I said ‘I’m talking to you’. Then for the next 15 or 20 minutes he took his watch off and his jumper off and we went head-to-head in his office. Like kids.
“This went on for about 10 or 15 minutes then I went to go out again, said something else, came back in and went back head to head, made all sorts of threats.”
Walters’ account of the exchange differs slightly from that of Keane‘s with the former Manchester United captain detailing his side of the story in his autobiography The Second Half.
“I had a bust-up with Jon Walters. He wanted to leave. We were four or five games into the season. He’d heard that Stoke were interested in him. Tony Pulis again – he hadn’t been in touch with me about the player.
“I said, ‘Jon, I haven’t had a call from anybody.’ I couldn’t blame Jon for wanting to leave. He’d been a good player for us and he had a chance to goto the Premiership. But he did it the wrong way. He came back a few days later.
“They’re definitely after me.’I said, ‘I’ve heard nothing. If there’s a bid, I’ll tell you. I’ve nothing to hide from you. You can ring the owner. I don’t do the business deals.’
“‘I’m not having this.’
“There was effing and blinding, a bit of shoving. ‘Why don’t you fuckin’ believe me? ’I didn’t begrudge him the move, although I was losing one of my better players – and maybe my job.
“I got carried away, and Jon got carried away. I dropped him for the next game, against Burnley. We were 1–0 up, but they scored in injury time.
“At the press conference after the game I said that Jon would never play for the club again. That was a big no-no. His value was down already. He was sold to Stoke a week later. It could have gone better, but I played my part. We’ve shook hands since.”