‘Fergie would say “how many drinks did you have?”… I would lie to him’: Roy Keane reveals the GUILT of lying about boozing until 5am drove him to success despite Sir Alex Ferguson fall-outs at Manchester United
- Roy Keane played under Sir Alex Ferguson for almost 12-and-a-half seasons
- Keane has admitted that he would be out late-night drinking after some matches
- His antics would then spur him on to lead United to success in their next game
Roy Keane’s fractured relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson is well-documented and the ex-Manchester United captain has now revealed he used to lie to his former manager over his late-night drinking exertions.
Keane played under Ferguson for almost 12-and-a-half seasons at United – a trophy-laden spell that included seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and one Champions League triumph.
During the height of his powers, Keane – who also captained the club between 1997-2005 – was the driving force in midfield as United dominated the English football landscape.
Roy Keane (pictured on international duty) says he would lie to his former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson over his late-night drinking antics after playing a match for the club
Keane won several honours under Ferguson (left) – including seven Premier League titles
Keane says he would play down to Ferguson the amount of alcohol he had drunk when caught
However, behind-the-scenes the midfielder liked to take his mind off the high-pressure demands at Old Trafford by going out and boozing.
With the Red Devils often playing in midweek and at the weekend, Keane says he was often partial to having some late-night fun after a Wednesday or Saturday game – even if he had training the next day.
And speaking to former team-mate Gary Neville on Sky Bet’s show The Overlap, the 50-year-old has revealed he would fib to Ferguson when caught out – often playing down how much drink he had consumed. That, coupled up with guilt of enjoying himself, would spur him on to rectify that by making sure United won their following match.
‘Alex Ferguson pulled me many times going “you were out in Manchester and got a taxi at 2.30am” and I would go “yeah, I did but it’s not breaking the 48-hour rule in our contracts”,’ the Irishman said.
‘I’d use to argue with him and then he’d ask “how many drinks did you have?” and then I’d lie to him. I would say to him “maybe 10 or 11 bottles” and he’d reply “10 or 11 bottles!?”. If only I told him the truth as that was every hour!
‘You told the odd white lie as you’re going along obviously, but you’re having a laugh and getting away with it. I wouldn’t change any of it.
Keane says the guilt of going out and drinking would inspire him to perform in their next match
Keane says he’d often argue with Ferguson over drinking as he wasn’t breaking his contract
‘I’d always be in on a Thursday morning [the morning after a night out] because of the guilt for going out.
‘So on a Saturday I’d be thinking “we’d better win because we’re out on Saturday and if the manager finds out we’re in trouble”. We had to win matches and trophies to justify the life we were living.
‘But if I saw a player out now in Altrincham drinking at 1pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday I’ll be thinking “that’s not good” but we were all doing it.’
Keane’s first season at United in 1993-94 was as a 22-year-old and he says the culture at the club at the time and subsequent seasons allowed him to be out until four or five in the morning.
‘When I was coming into the first-team, the players would go out on a Wednesday and Saturday every week,’ Neville stated.
The 50-year-old was speaking to former United team-mate Gary Neville on The Overlap show
And in reply, Keane said: ‘Why wouldn’t you? When you’re 21-22 years of age and playing for Manchester United that was my way of relaxing.
‘I fell out with the manager a few times over it. Some took up golf or snooker but mine was going out and enjoying myself.
‘If someone said to me do you want to go out after a game on a Wednesday then we’d all go into Manchester, go into Chinatown and having a Chinese until about four or five in the morning.
‘If someone said to me after a game are you going go for a bite to eat to refuel for Saturday I would say “no I’m going into town”. I’ll be thinking they’re the lunatics, not me!
‘I thought I had to go out and drink as much alcohol as I possibly could, then Thursday morning I’d turn it around and think I best get ready for Saturday. And that was the life.’