Roy Keane leaves Saipan May 2002.
Lots of talk of football this week as we face into our first game of Euro 2012 at the weekend. It’s as good as time as any to run the above May 2002 pic from the archives. The background is that the previous day Republic of Ireland soccer team manager Mick McCarthy had sent captain Roy Keane home from the training centre on Saipan, just nine days before the team’s first match in the tournament.
Keane had complained that the training facilities at the team’s pre-World Cup base in Saipan were “shocking” and “worse than a car park”. There was a big hullabaloo between him and the team manager with the end result being that McCarthy sent him home and called a press conference to announce same .
He said that he and the squad could not take any more disruption. Other senior players from the squad , Niall Quinn, Alan Kelly and Steve Staunton also attended and supported McCarthy’s decision. It was a huge story and the country was divided into pro/anti Keane at the time.
While driving through Kevin Street, Dublin the following day I noticed that Keane’s face had been cut out of a huge advertising hoarding stretched over a building being renovated. I did some pics from across the street and as I did so some of the builders got in on the act. We used the pic in the next day’s Irish Times.