Clinton Morrison has a great story about Roy Keane, a dance-off, and another member of the Irish squad.
While football fans digest every word and column inch that’s dedicated to the action that happens on the field, it’s arguable that the events away from the cameras are far more interesting, especially when you’re discussing Roy Keane.
While the Corkman has never been shy about voicing his opinion about people and teams that he dislikes, it’s rare to find those anecdotes which reveal a fair bit about Keane as a person, and not just the wonderful footballer he was.
However, one man that counts the former Manchester United and Celtic midfielder as a “good, good friend” is his former Irish teammate, Clinton Morrison.
During a recent chat on the Super 6 podcast, Morrison spoke candidly about their friendship that grew during their Ireland days and how the Corkman still gives him advice when it comes to his media career.
However, it’s the strikers’ account of Keane as a person that’s very interesting because like so many other people, Morrison understands that the Manchester United hero can be a very difficult person to deal with.
In fact, whenever the two men meet each other in the Sky studios, Keane jokingly asks the Londoner to stop talking about Saipan.
“He’s a hard person to know but I do know him. I get on well with him. It’s like, I saw him before I started doing the media stuff and he said to me ‘you’re on here talking about me Clinton, but it’s alright because I like you!’
“I will say one thing, you’re doing well on the TV because you speak sense and you speak the truth, and you don’t beat about the bush.’ When you hear things like that from Roy Keane – one of the greatest players in the Premier League – you take it on board and you move forward.”
Later in the conversation, the former Crystal Palace and Birmingham City striker discusses why his friendship with Keane is unique and how he even managed to get the Corkman involved on a dance-off with fellow Irish international Stephen Elliott.
“He was approachable for me but for other people, probably not. But I took it upon myself to make sure that I was approachable to him. We had that relationship where I could go and speak to him, he wasn’t like that with everyone else. We went out – we didn’t usually go out – but we did one night for a bit. These lads come up and think that they can test me on the dancefloor, these young boys.
“Stephen Elliot was up there cutting shapes on the dancefloor and I was standing with Roy. Roy’s like ‘Clint, should I go and take him out?’ I just brought on the old-school MC Hammer on the top and they were just flying across. We were on some stage – me and Roy standing back-to-back – and everyone in the club was watching and I just brought him (Keane) on. I won, but he had a good time! He had a good-go on Stephen Elliott!”
When asked if Keane ever danced, Morrison was steadfast in his response: “No, no. Are you mad?!?! He’d stand there while everyone was asking for autographs and he’d be like ‘No, no! I am here with my teammates, don’t put your hand on my head, leave me alone,’ said Morrison jokingly.
On a more serious note, the discussion is fascinating because the striker reveals that he always used to try and sit next to Keane for Ireland meals because he wanted to learn as much as he could from the Manchester United captain.
In return, Morrison chats about how he always made the midfielder laugh, the advice that Keane gave the striker – he changed his diet and playing style after discussions with Keane – and why playing for Ireland was the greatest decision he ever made.
Aside from this, there’s the inevitable discussion about Saipan, Keane’s immaculate attitude to training, and why the World Cup in 2002 was still the best experience Morrison ever had.
However, while discussing Ireland’s campaign in Japan and South Korea, it’s telling that the Londoner still missed Roy Keane – not only as a player but as a person.
“I missed him, you’re away for six weeks and I was young then – my mum or girlfriend weren’t going to fly over – so I thought to myself ‘I’m just by myself’ after he left. It was a hard six weeks, but an enjoyable one,” he said.
You can listen to the full interview here and the section about Morrison’s career in the green shirt starts at the 30-minute mark.