Jon Walters’ “most unrestricted” football autobiography could tell us a lot about Roy Keane
Former Ireland striker Jon Walters is thinking of writing an autobiography and that could be bad news for Roy Keane.
Jon Walters was one of the most hard-working and likable players in the Republic of Ireland squad before his retirement in 2018.
From his brilliant brace against Bosnia in the Euro 2016 play-off to his iconic hold-up display against then world champions Germany, the former Stoke man was central to many a highlight under Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.
Despite his excellent performances on the pitch however, he and Keane didn’t always see eye to eye – to put it mildly. The pair had history from their time at Ipswich together and come the end of O’Neill and Keane’s Ireland reign, things began to bubble over between the two enforcers.
There’s a fair amount of evidence to suggest that they do not like eachother: In Stephen Ward’s leaked Whatsapp voice note from the 2018 Nations League campaign, he recalled Walters and Keane “squaring up to eachother” in a training ground scrap. Players even had to hold back Walters because “he was going to kill him”.
“Are you threatening me again Jon, like you did at Ipswich,” asked Roy, as per Ward’s account of the story. “Yeah, what?,” said Walters, “Are you going to be a s***house again and send me my fine in the post rather than saying it to my face?”
Walters appearance on the Late Late Show
After retiring, Walters appeared on the Late Late Show to discuss personal tragedy in his life with then host Ryan Tubridy. Walters was transparent and vulnerable as he shed tears for his mother who died when he was just eleven.
Walters also mentioned the loss of his brother who passed away a year before the broadcast aged 35. To make matters worse, the day he returned to Burnley training after his brother’s death, he received the news that his wife lost a baby.
In the same week, while arranging his brother’s funeral, he learned that his daughter has scoliosis.
Roy Keane criticism of Walters for “crying on the TV”.
Keane though, did not share the sympathy of the Irish public. Appearing alongside Gary Neville at an Off The Ball roadshow event, the Corkman dismissed Walters’ Late Late Show appearance as performative.
“He’s on the circuit now, isn’t he? He’s a good talker, Jon. Jon hadn’t kicked a ball for the last two or three years (around the time Ward’s Whatsapp was leaked] but he does a lot of talking, it’s amazing. Imagine if he had a good career?”
“Don’t get me started on Jon,” he continued. “I’ll tell you, I’ve worked with Jon….I’ve worked with Jon, he was demanding to leave Ipswich when I was down there. Talks a good game. Imagine if he had a good CV? Imagine if he won a trophy?”
“Listen, I know all about Jon Walters. I know all about him…bluffer. Again, talks a good game. And then there’s a circuit of course, there’s all the circuit stuff.
Goes on the TV – how harshly he was treated by me, he was crying on the TV, family situation. Jesus he’s the only one who…do me a favour.
“He might need to lay low for a while,” suggested Keane. “Lay low, take it easy. Look at his medals…oh that wouldn’t take long, yeah”
“He promised to pay me a visit at my house a few years ago and I’m still waiting…and I gave him the address”
Fair to say it would be a major surprise if Walters doesn’t give his thoughts on Keane in a potential new autobiography.
In a Twitter post this morning, the 54-cap international wrote: ‘I’ve always been as open as I can when asked about football but I’m certain there is less than 1% that the public and colleagues get to see that actually goes on in and around football.
I think it could be about time to write a book and give a honest and forthright look at every single part of my career. The whole journey, pre, during and post football. The sheer highs and profound depths that would never, ever be known.
I’ve always been as open as I can when…
— Jonathan Walters (@JonWalters19) September 26, 2023
‘I can guarantee that it would be the most unrestricted, comprehensive book that has been written. …If you think you know the full story about anything – You don’t!’
Keane has warmed himself to the public in recent years with his wholesome on-screen relationship with Micah Richards, his stated love for his Cork roots and his understated charity work.
The ex-Man United captain’s comments on Walters’ family situation were unquestionably out of order though, and definitely paint him in an unpleasant light.
While you would like to think Keane regrets what he said, perhaps that’s not the case, and perhaps Walters’ new book will reveal even more about the Sky Sports pundit’s character