Friday 20 July 2018

'There was a big row in the tunnel with Darren O'Dea. There was punches thrown and the police involved and everything'

Paul Keegan in his Doncaster Rovers days
Paul Keegan in his Doncaster Rovers days
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

PAUL Keegan is enjoying life at Waterford as part of a dressing room where homegrown players and a foreign legion are mixing smoothly.

It's quite a contrast from the strangest part of the veteran midfielder's six year career in England with Doncaster when a sudden influx of high profile recruits had disastrous implications.

Keegan was a guest on the new LOI Weekly podcast and he told stories about the slapstick 2011/12 season at Doncaster when the club brought in agent Willie McKay to assist manager Dean Saunders with player recruitment.

He brought in a raft of players with a French background including ex-Liverpool star El Hadji Diouf, former Spurs player Pascal Chimbonda, and Diouf's Senegal colleague Habib Beye who was on loan from Aston Villa.

Discipline became a major problem with big names allowed to be absent during the week with matches the priority.

"There was a lot of craziness in the dressing room," said Keegan. "Habib Beye was training with PSG and he would fly in on a Friday, train once and play on the Saturday. There was rows in the dressing room after every game with lads at fault for goals and not doing the team shape in the week.

"The management stuck with the foreign lads that come in. This was the project, this was what was going to keep us up. To be fair to Habib Beye, he said 'This is what the manager wants. He says I can stay in France. Would you not stay in Ireland and live at home and train one day a week and play a game?'"

Diouf is a fiery character, but Keegan was moreso troubled by the different rules that seemed to apply to the 2002 World Cup star.

"To be honest, if you got him one on one for a chat, he'd be fine. In a group in front of everyone, himself and Chimbonda would be messing about and not taking it seriously. There was pictures of them out the night before the games.

"And there was a big row in the Elland Road tunnel with Darren O'Dea. There was punches thrown and the police involved and everything. People didn't seem to care at the time.

"They just felt that the likes of Diouf, Chimbonda, had played in the Premiership and they can do what they want.It didn't work out and we got relegated."

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport