Keane - Utd exit still hurts

Legend has regret over Old Trafford departure

Keane: Still hurts

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Manchester United legend Roy Keane has spoken how his acrimonious departure from Old Trafford still hurts.

The Irishman feels let down with how his November 2005 exit was handled by the club after 12-and-a-half years' loyal service.

The next month he joined Scottish giants Celtic, who he supported as a child, before retiring from playing in June 2006.

He then became Sunderland boss and led the Black Cats to the Premier League at his first attempt, where they play Fulham on Saturday.

But he still remembers his exit from Old Trafford with pain and regret.

Hindsight

Keane told the Irish Times: "The day I left United, in hindsight, I should have stopped playing really.

"I lost the love of the game that Friday morning. I thought football is cruel, life is cruel. It takes two to tango also. I am fully responsible for my own actions but some things are wrong.

"I left on a Friday and they told me certain things before I left that day. I was told the following week I couldn't sign for another club. I had been led to believe I could. There were certain things I was told at certain meetings that were basic lies.

"That was part of the exit plans, I am convinced. Especially with my pride, I wasn't going to accept that. They had a statement prepared and they were thanking me for 11-and-a-half years of service.

"I had to remind the manager [Manchester United chief executive] David Gill I had been there 12-and-a-half years. I think that might have been part of the plan."

He added: "Then the financial stuff was mentioned. I was thinking, my God. I am happy to leave. I won't go down that road. A week later they announced £70 or £80 million profit after telling me I hadn't played for six weeks and so they weren't prepared to do this and that. I told David Gill I had broken my foot playing for Manchester United against Liverpool. Pretty sad.

Wise afterwards

"I look back and think I should have said this and I should have said that. It is like Mick McCarthy at the World Cup. I always think when he said if you don't have respect for me you can't play for me, I should have said to him what I felt. I am not playing for you I am playing for Ireland. It is easy to be wise afterwards."

Meanwhile, Black Cats midfielder Ross Wallace is set to return from injury sooner than expected.

The player believed his season was over when he suffered knee ligament damage in January but he could now play for the reserves next week after a speedy recovery.

He told the Daily Record: "I'm training, feeling good and looking forward to playing a game."

Wallace was transfer-listed by Keane earlier this season but has been given a second chance.