Thursday 24 October 2019

Robbie Savage has finally had his say on Roy Keane and that famous answerphone message

Did the former Manchester United captain come to regret his decision not to sign Savage?

Robbie Savage and Roy Keane in their playing days
Robbie Savage and Roy Keane in their playing days

By Alistair Mason

When Roy Keane’s autobiography The Second Half was released in 2014, one particular passage stood out in many people’s minds.

It was the story of when, as Sunderland manager, he had considered bringing then Blackburn midfielder Robbie Savage to the club.

He wrote: “I rang Mark Hughes. Robbie wasn’t in the Blackburn team and I asked Mark if we could try to arrange a deal. Sparky said: ‘Yeah, yeah, he’s lost his way here but he could still do a job for you.’

Robbie Savage shakes hands with Mark Hughes

“Robbie’s legs were going a bit but I thought he might come up to us, with his long hair, and give us a lift – the way Yorkie (Dwight Yorke) had, a big personality in the dressing room.

“Sparky gave me permission to give him a call. So I got Robbie’s mobile number and rang him. It went to his voicemail: ‘Hi, it’s Robbie – whazzup!’ like the Budweiser ad.

“I never called him back. I thought, ‘I can’t be f***ing signing that’.”

Now, three years later, Savage has told his side of the story.

Speaking on Flintoff, Savage And The Ping Pong Guy, he revealed his Twitter mentions had exploded when Keane’s story came out in the media.

He added that he’d later seen Keane in the airport on the way to a holiday in New York.

Savage recalled: “I said, ‘Hi mate, you should have signed me, I was a great lad’. And he went, ‘I’ll be thinking about that all the time in New York’. He said, ‘I should have signed you’.”

Sunderland manager Roy Keane on the touchline

Savage joined Derby instead of Sunderland in January 2008, going on to play over 100 games for the club. Less than a year later Keane had left his role as Sunderland boss.

Maybe things could have been different but for that answerphone message.

PA Media

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