Wednesday 17 July 2019

Mick McCarthy: 'Roy Keane's the only assistant manager who gets this much publicity. It's bonkers'

Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane in Saipan and (inset) McCarthy and Eamon Dunphy at Paddy Power birthday bash
Mick McCarthy and Roy Keane in Saipan and (inset) McCarthy and Eamon Dunphy at Paddy Power birthday bash
Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy fell out before the 2002 World Cup. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Mick McCarthy has told Roy Keane to concentrate on doing his job assisting Martin O'Neill instead of making headlines of his own.

Keane was at the centre of a furious training ground bust-up with Harry Arter and Jon Walters during the summer.

Arter has stepped away from the international set-up because of the tongue lashing from Keane and details of the row were revealed earlier this month when a three-minute audio clip from Stephen Ward was leaked.

McCarthy, who famously fell out with his then captain Keane and sent him home from the 2002 World Cup, addressed the issue this evening when he was interviewed by Eamon Dunphy as part of the Paddy Power 30th birthday week of celebrations.

"Me and Roy have had our issues, of course, but I'm not in there with him, I don't see what's going on," McCarthy told Dunphy.

"All I will say is this: he's the only assistant manager in the whole of the world who gets this much publicity, nobody else. TC, my assistant, never got a mention.

"It's like Roy Keane's Ireland. It's bonkers, in my view. He should be assisting Martin O'Neill. It shouldn't be Martin having to mop up anything else that's going on."

When asked how his relationship was with Keane prior to Saipan, McCarthy didn't spare any details.

"Pretty shite, to be quite honest," said McCarthy.

"I had a run in with him on the bus coming back from the USA tour. All the lads had been out, not just Roy. We were all waiting for them to come back, they'd only had a beer and were late getting on the bus.

Paddy Power Museum of Mischief 21/9/2018
Mick McCarthy at the Paddy Power Museum of Mischief
Pic : Lorraine O'Sullivan
Paddy Power Museum of Mischief 21/9/2018 Mick McCarthy at the Paddy Power Museum of Mischief Pic : Lorraine O'Sullivan

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"I'd had to go and fetch Stan's passport, I packed his bag and put it on. They all come on and I'm having a dig at them. I'm the captain, I'm the manager of Millwall at the time, so I'm saying 'the bus is going, we need to go, we've a plane to catch'.

"Then, of course, yours truly gives me a mouthful, so I've gone to have a dig at him back. And we had to be split up. I was never intimidated by him. But that was it.

"We played in Hungary. Roy was amazing that game, you could see how could a player he was going to be. Without a doubt, he was one of the best players I've played with or managed."

The details of the McCarthy/Keane row in Saipan have been well told but McCarthy revealed another altercation ahead of the World Cup.

"I got on fine with him. There was some suggestion, that Roy made, that I couldn't manage the team or players," said McCarthy.

"I'd managed him for five years, I fucking spun his plate, I kept him going. 'Roy, don't come in on Monday. We played Saturday, you come in Tuesday', so he'd come in on the Tuesday and then just go home. I don't think he particularly liked being in, to be honest with you.

"I managed that situation, particularly well, managed all of them. It was all different characters, it's not just about him and not just about me, there were a lot of other people in that squad, who should be respected for what they contributed to it, along with the two main protagonists."

One of Keane's main issues with Saipan as a training camp venue ahead of the tournament in Japan and South Korea was the playing surface and lack of training equipment.

McCarthy admitted he was part of an FAI delegation that travelled to the island.

"I did (go to Saipan). Me, Taff, Ray Tracey. The pitch weren't great. It was horrible. The surface was crap, the kit didn't turn up. That was it. I took them to Saipan for a holiday. Seriously. We went there for four days, and I let them off on the piss for two nights.

"I was not bothered about the surface. We were going to Isamu, and I'd been there and inspected that, they were five star facilities. So all we had to do for four days was go and have a little kickabout on the shitty pitch, and then we'd go to Japan to prepare.

"That was my modus operandi. If I didn't let them go on the piss there, they would've done it in Japan. So I let them have a blowout, before we go, then we're down to the serious business.

"When it happened, 16 years ago, I said at the time, one day I'll be walking down the street in Barnsley, a flat cap on, ferret in my pocket, Jack Russel dog by the side of me, and someone will say 'There's that bollocks who sent Roy Keane home'. And it's pretty much turning out to be true, that, 16 years on.

"All the people who paid their money and wanted to go to the World Cup and wanted to see Roy there, as one of the best players – and, by the way, I wanted him there as much as anyone else did – but that relationship got broken."

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