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Sunday, 11 August, 2002, 08:54 GMT 09:54 UK
Keane reveals quit threat
Roy Keane aims a punch at Alan Shearer last season
Keane (right) - the moment when it got too much
Roy Keane has revealed he almost quit Manchester United after being sent off at Newcastle last September - but carried on for manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Keane was dismissed following a tussle with Alan Shearer in the 4-3 defeat at St James' Park - and that same night he decided to take action.

The former Republic of Ireland captain said: "I went to bed but never slept a wink.


Ferguson had stood by me - quitting would be a slap in the face for him - I carried on for him
Roy Keane

"Some time during the night I decided 'give it up Roy'. You've turned 30 - get out, get away, do something else.

"You've got to stop hurting yourself, hurting those you love."

In his autobiography, which is being serialised in the News of the World newspaper, Keane said he could no longer play on.

He also reveals he has a drinking problem and claims: "I had to stop drinking if I wanted to carry on playing."

Quitting the game, rather than drinking, had at one stage appeared the easiest option.

But Keane added: "I talked to my wife.

"She argued I would miss it. I said I wouldn't. Anything would be better than this madness, getting angry and frustrated, lashing out.

"I felt I'd lost the argument that some players were in the comfort zone. Too many people were content with what they had. It wasn't for me. I should go.

"Next morning I was waiting for Sir Alex Ferguson at the training ground at 8am. I told him I wanted to pack it in. He said it was a knee-jerk reaction."

Keane revealed the duo talked for a long time and he told Ferguson he would not play in the next game - the Champions League clash with Lille.

But Ferguson urged his captain to think again and Keane took his manager's advice.

Keane said: "On Sunday I walked our dog Triggs a long way, running the options through my head.

"Another club, somewhere sunny. At least I could be miserable in a warm climate.

Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson sees Keane as his mirror-image

"I love my football - but could I play for another club? My heart was in Manchester United.

"And if I couldn't play with my heart I couldn't play.

"Ferguson sat down and said 'you'd be mad to leave football'.

"He had stood by me - quitting would be a slap in the face for him - the last thing he needed when the club was struggling. I carried on for him.

"I've got another four years in me - I'm sure of that now."

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See also:

28 May 02 | Rep of Ireland
23 May 02 | Rep of Ireland
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