Roy Keane: 'With my drinking, I used to go missing for days'

Irishman says madness in him meant he was the loser in Saipan and for Man Utd

Roy Keane has opened up about his "mid-life crisis" and his old drinking habits that caused him to go missing for days.

In another explosive chapter of his second autobiography, The Second Half, the Ireland assistant manager tells how his "self-destruct button" has led him to become emroiled in situations where he has ultimately ended up as the loser.

“Anger is a useful trait. But when I’m backed into a corner, when I get into situations, professional or personal, I know deep down that when I lose my rag, and I might be in the right – it doesn’t matter – I know I’m going to be the loser,” he says.

“I will lose out. Saipan and the World Cup – ultimately I lost. Or when I left United, when I could have stayed a bit longer if it had been handled differently. I was the one who lost; I know that. That’s the madness of me. When I’m going off on one, even when I might be right, there’s a voice in my head going: ‘You’ll pay for this.’

“That’s the self-destruct button. I don’t know if it’s low self-esteem. Things might be going really well, and I don’t trust it: ‘It’s not going to last,’ or ‘Why am I getting this? Why are things going so well? I’ll fuck things up a little bit, then feel better myself.’ I might be buying a car: ‘Who do you think you are buying a new car?’ And I’ll fuck it up. I’ll drag things down around me."

Keane has opened up before on how he has fought with his demons and turned to alcohol and although those maverick days are behind him, the Corkman says there is still a part of him that is drawn to the "madness".

“The self-destruct button is definitely there. And I suffer for it. With my drinking, I used to go missing for a few days.

"I think it was my way of switching off, never mind the consequences. It was my time. It was self-destructive, I can see that, but I’m still drawn to it. Not the drink – but the madness, the irresponsibility.

"I can be sitting at home, the most contented man on the planet. An hour later I go: ‘Jesus – it’s hard work, this'.

“Maybe ‘self-destruct’ is too strong a phrase. Maybe I play games with myself. I have great stability in my life. But then, that worries me. I like home comforts, but then I want to be this hell-raiser – but I want my porridge in the morning. I want my wife and kids around me. I’ve dipped into this madness, and I don’t like it that much. Maybe I’m like every man on the planet – I don’t know; I want a bit more than what’s on offer.

22 May 2002; Republic of Ireland captain Roy Keane walks past manager Mick McCarthy during squad training. Adagym, Saipan. Soccer. Cup2002. Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE *EDI*

“My midlife crisis has been going for years. Someone once said to me – an ex-player and it’s going back to my drinking days – that going out with me was like going out with a time-bomb.”