Saturday 19 January 2019

Keane: 'I felt bad snubbing Kenny but United was right call'

Irish assistant boss reveals reason why he chose Fergie over Dalglish

Roy Keane, pictured here during his first season with Manchester United back in 1994
Roy Keane, pictured here during his first season with Manchester United back in 1994
Roy Keane

Roy Keane has told Kenny Dalglish that he 'felt bad' after going back on his word to sign for his Blackburn team in the summer of 1993, as two of the icons of the game discussed what could have been one of the most significant transfers of Premier League era.

Keane and Dalglish appeared on camera together alongside Arsenal legend Thierry Henry in a show to commemorate 25 years of the Premier League broadcast on Sky Sports, with the 'transfer that never was' one of the hot topics as the trio spoke candidly about the experiences in the game.

Keane had previously confirmed he had initially decided to go to Blackburn when he was leaving Nottingham Forest, only to change that decision when an offer to sign for Manchester United arrived shortly after his meeting with Rovers boss Dalglish.

Now the Irishman has added some flesh to the bones of this story, as he sat alongside the tactician who could have been his manager.

"I felt bad because I had kind of agreed to go to Blackburn," he said, with a smiling Dalglish looking on. "When you shake hands with someone, you are almost there.


"Then United came in a few days later. I agreed to go to United and, of course, there was no regrets. I knew I had made the right move."

For his part, Dalglish revealed he inadvertently spoke to Keane illegally as he discussed a move for the Corkman before Blackburn had agreed a fee with Forest.

"We were in there pitching," reflected Dalglish. "I was playing golf at Wentworth and got a phone call to say Forest had accepted a bid from us. So we met at a hotel near Stoke after their secretary had told me that a fee had been agreed.

"Frank Clark was the manager and he phoned me a day after I met Roy and he said; what are you doing?

"I said: "Well, we have agreed a fee?"

"He said: "No we've not."

"I had to say I was awfully sorry as I felt we had agreed a fee and the parting shot was him telling me he was going to United. I told him he had made a bad move.

"The next time I saw him, he'd won about three championships, the European Cup….I said to him I told you I had made a mistake.

"Let's be honest, at that stage of Blackburn's history, where would you go if it was Manchester United or Blackburn?"

Keane went on to echo Dalglish's sentiments that he had made the right move, as he revealed he instantly felt at home in the United dressing room. "I decided the time had come to leave Forest and going to a team that had just won the league, had a lot of momentum, a lot of good young players coming through, I was going to the club at the right time," he added.

"Winning the league after so many years was a relief to everyone at the club and you just knew there was success there for the next few years so long as everyone stayed fit, kept their heads and new players were brought in.

"The hunger was there. That's what I found when I went to the club. Once they had got that first title, they were hungry, they were selfish and they wanted more and I wanted to be part of it."

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