Roy Keane rarely utters a word without wounding someone with his sharp tongue.
In a career that has covered three decades, the controversial Irishman has taken aim at managers, players, teammates and opponents.
The former hardman midfielder, 48, has opened up old wounds this week by reigniting his war-of-words with Sir Alex Ferguson and Jon Walters.
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Sir Alex Ferguson
The war with Fergie, Keane’s most powerful enemy, stems back to an MUTV interview that never aired.
The Irish midfielder slated teammates like Rio Ferdinand, John O’Shea and Darren Fletcher which left Fergie fuming and saw Keane sold to Celtic.
Ferguson accused Keane of “trying to run” Manchester United which led to a war-of-words in public.
In an interview with Jason McAteer, Keane said he would “have a go” at Fergie if he saw him now.
Speaking last week on Off The Ball, Keane said: “I wouldn’t forgive Ferguson. The media spin, how I apparently upset everybody, it was all nonsense.
“I don’t care if it’s Alex Ferguson or the Pope, you’re going to defend yourself.
“People talk about Ferguson’s man-management. Nonsense. People said he always had the best interests of Manchester United at heart. (His son) Darren Ferguson won a medal. He was very lucky.”
Recently reignited, this is a feud that began during Keane’s time as the Republic of Ireland assistant coach.
A WhatsApp audio by defender Stephen Ward accuses Keane of going on a tirade against Harry Arter, Stephen Ward and Jon Walters.
Walters and Keane are said to have almost come to blows after a dispute about the former Burnley striker’s injury.
And Keane took aim at Walters during the ‘Off the Ball’ show in Dublin for “crying on the TV about his family situation”.
Walters revealed this year how he never grieved the death of his mother who died when he was just 11.
He also courageously spoke of the “triple whammy” of losing his brother last year while his wife suffered a miscarriage and his daughter was diagnosed with an illness.
In the wake of that, Keane said: “Jon does a lot of talking, it’s amazing.
“Imagine if Jon won a trophy. He talks a good game. He goes on the TV, on about how he was harshly treated by me.
“Not kicking a ball for Burnley for two or three years.
“On TV, crying about his family situation. You know, how about lying low for a while, taking it easy.
“Have a look at his medals? Wouldn’t take long.”
Walters hit back by describing Keane as a “bully” as he told JOE: “To go there, whether he meant it or not – he probably did – it didn’t bother me, but it just shows a side of him that I know.”
He added: “Just because someone has a sharp tongue or a stare doesn’t make them a tough guy.”
Ireland’s 2002 World Cup campaign is not remembered for their escape from a tough group that included Germany, Cameroon and Saudi Arabia.
Nor for their admirable stand against Spain in the last 16.
No, Ireland’s campaign was overshadowed by the dramatic fallout on the eve of the tournament which saw Mick McCarthy send Keane home.
There are contradictions over how the fallout transpired, but an outburst from Keane is said to have gone as follows.
“You’re a f*****g w****r. I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager and I don’t rate you as a person,” he raged.
“You’re a f*****g w****r and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. I’ve got no respect for you.
“The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your b******s.”
McCarthy is still clearly unimpressed with Keane as he refused to comment on his former player’s feud with Walters this week.
NO list of horror challenges is complete without that eye-watering leg-breaker Keane planted on Alf-Inge Haaland.
Keane denies it but most viewers figured the Irishman’s horror tackle in 2001 was revenge for a challenge made by the Norwegian four years earlier.
Keane, though, says he has no regrets over the incident, writing in his autobiography that Haaland “p****d me off, shooting his mouth off. He was an absolute p***k to play against.”
Keane wrote: “I did want to nail him and let him know what was happening. I wanted to hurt him and stand over him and go: ‘Take that, you c**t.’
“I don’t regret that. But I had no wish to injure him.”
Ah, that’s alright then.
It was on the 27th floor of a Hong Kong hotel back in the summer of 1998 that Keane and Schmeichel came to blows.
The handbags, as Keane says in his autobiography, were fuelled by booze.
Keane said: “There’d been a little bit of tension between us over the years, for football reasons.
“Peter would come out shouting at players, and I felt sometimes he was playing up to the crowd: ‘Look at me!’
“He said: ‘I’ve had enough of you, It’s time we sorted this out.’ So I said ‘Okay’ and we had a fight. It felt like 10 minutes.”
The two men remained teammates for another season, going on to win an incredible treble before Schmeichel departed.
But the bad blood remained over the years as Keane described Schmeichel as a “poser” in his book.
And in 2017, after the Dane expressed surprise that the FAI had hired Keane, his old club mate said: “I’d say f**k all to him.
“I’d say nothing to Peter. What could I say to him? I don’t keep in touch with Peter.”
Their battles have become a legend of the game and a relic of the Premier League’s yesteryear.
The kind of no-nonsense challenges and bulldozing tackles that Vieira and Keane used to put in have no place in the modern game.
And while their was a certain level of respect between the pair, there was plenty of bad blood.
One of the most memorable moments in Premier League history is the clash in the tight Highbury tunnel between the two midfield titans.
Held back by referee Graham Poll, Keane warned his French rival: “I’ll see you out there.”
Vieira is one of the only figures who Keane has been relatively kind about in the years since then, describing him as “very, very, very tough”.
But, in keeping up with appearances, the Irishman did find one weakness in the Frenchman’s armoury
“I don’t think he was as tough as me,” Keane said in an ITV documentary in 2013.
Another victim of the Ireland fallout last year, Harry Arter felt Keane’s wrath most forcefully.
The midfielder had been suffering with an injury while in Irish training camp and, according Stephen Ward, Keane took offence to Arter’s absence.
Ward picks up the tale here: “Apparently [Arter] was getting a bit of treatment in the treatment room and Roy walked in and he was like, ‘When are you going to train, you f**king p***k?’.
“Harry was like, ‘What?’. And he was like, ‘F**king any chance of you training?’.
“He explained the situation again and Roy was just going off going, ‘You’re a f***ing p***k, you’re a c***, you don’t even care, you don’t want to train’.
“Harry was just going, ‘Roy, I’m not speaking to you like this, you know, I’m not listening to you, you’re not the manager so you can’t say anything to me’.”
This article was originally published by The Sun and reproduced with permission.