Monday 16 September 2019

Mick McCarthy opens up on private meeting and cup of tea at Roy Keane's house ahead of first managerial meeting

Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy in 2006
Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy in 2006

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Mick McCarthy has revealed that he drove to Roy Keane's house for a cup of tea to avoid "the circus" ahead of their first meeting as managers after Saipan.

McCarthy sent Roy Keane home form the 2002 World Cup in an incident that caused controversy in Ireland and the issue has remained contentious years later.

When McCarthy was due to meet Keane in the Championship four and a half years later as managers of Wolves and Sunderland respectively, they decided to end the feud rather than feed into hysteria. 

In an all encompassing interview with The Daily Mail, McCarthy said that he extended the olive branch and asked Keane if he could drive to meet him in his home.

"I thought it was gonna be a circus," McCarthy admitted.

"So I decided to blow everybody out of the water. I rang him up and said, 'Listen, we can either be part of the circus or we can get together and have a chat and shake hands privately. We will p*** on everybody's chips'. So I drove to meet him in Cheshire and I'm glad I did. Half an hour and a cup of tea. We had a chat and it was done.

"Despite what people may think about me, I am a mediator. I like to make things right. I don't want anger and grudges and bitterness. On the pitch I will scrap to get what I want for me and my team. But in life I want to be right with people and I want people to be right with me."

Keane accepted McCarthy's proposition and according to McCarthy he even accepted responsibility for the events that rocked Irish soccer.

''Yes, he apologised," McCarthy added.

"That was accepted and I have been cool ever since."

While the tournament was a success for Ireland, McCarthy admits it was an "appalling" time that hit him hard.

"It was crazy when it happened," he added.

"There was an election on back home but there were 16 pages of me and Roy before you got to any of that.

"I have heard some of the stuff people who were there have said and written and some bits I am not sure about.

"Sixteen years on, can we all really remember? I think some people have added bits to make it sound better.

"But at the time it was just dreadful. It was appalling. I did the right thing and I would do it again now. I stand by it.

"But it was a tough time for me, really tough, and it had a profound effect on me."

McCarthy also spoke of his pain following Ireland's World Cup quarter final defeat to Italy in 1990.

"I was broken-hearted after that," he said.

"I marched up the tunnel bare-chested with Franco Baresi's shirt in my hand and I sat in the dressing room and sobbed.

"I wish to this day I could have gone on the pitch and accepted the applause from the fans with all the other players but that's me, isn't it? I wasn't going to change. I wanted to be out of sight. Me, the physio and the kitman."

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