'England fans let us down in '95' claims Gary Pallister
SHARING a dressing room with combustible characters like Roy Keane, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Ince and Reddy Sheringham for the best part of a decade should have steeled Gary Pallister for conflict.
He had his battles there and admits that he didn't speak to Keane for a year, before Pallister's time at Old Trafford ended.
But nothing, not even a dangerous trip to Turkey on Champions League duty, prepared the Englishman for the behaviour of his compatriots on the last occasion that the England national team visited Dublin. "In warm ups you were used to hostile receptions," says Pallister, on a promotional trip to Dublin yesterday.
"I played out in Turkey where we warmed up and got pelted with coins, came off the pitch at half-time and got pelted with coins. You're aware that this can happen in football games. But I can't remember warming up and feeling that this is going to get really nasty but obviously it did."
He is of course referring to the abandoned friendly between Ireland and England in 1995, a rare appearance in the national team for Pallister who won 15 major trophies in his time at Old Trafford but picked up just 22 caps.
"We were aware that there was something happening in the stand and I can remember looking up to the stand and seeing things being thrown and immediately you think 'well, that's not good'," he recalls.
"It kind of escalated and got worse and spread. I think we all knew we would get taken off and eventually then the referee had no choice to whip us all off the pitch. We sat in the dressing room while they all discussed whether the game would go ahead or not and eventually the decision was taken that it would be cancelled," says Pallister, who felt let down by his compatriots in the Lansdowne Road stands that night.
"You're disappointed as you want football to be the winner after all the troubles that had been. Football could unite I guess. Everyone felt the same way, as players you are disappointed that you can't finish a football match."
While Pallister was in Dublin this week, he was unlikely to spend time with his old team-mate Keane, though he admits the pair have made up after a row.
"We didn't speak for the last year that I was at United. We just had a fall out on a pre-season tour. We ended up not speaking. It was weird. It wasn't like we hated each other. We were just both stubborn enough not to put our hands out after that and got on with it.
"We laughed about it at the time but we just wouldn't be the one to say 'let's forget about this'. That's how stubborn we were. When I left the club we shook hands and wished each other the best. Last time I saw him was over at one of the Champions League games. He came to the hotel and we sat down for a coffee and a chat and a catch up.
"He's good company. I admire Roy for the way he is and the fact he always speaks his mind. He's forthright in his views and says what he feels - whether that's always right or it's wrong you've got to admire that."