You'll be amazed by Keane's first United Q&A!

Tuesday 24 January 2023 16:26

The recent rekindling of Manchester United and Nottingham Forest's rivalry has brought back plenty of 1990s' memories - from the clubs' famous third-round FA Cup meeting in 1990, to our 8-1 thrashing of the East Midlanders at the City Ground in the final year of the decade.

Until their promotion last summer, Forest had spent each of the intervening seasons in the second or third tiers - a far cry from their glory days of the 1970s and 1980s, when they won two European Cups, a league title and four League Cups under legendary boss Brian Clough.

Clough's final season at the club, 1992/93, culminated in relegation from the Premier League, after which the last transfer from Forest to United took place.

The subject of the move? A certain Roy Keane, who went on to become the Reds' most successful-ever captain and one of our greatest midfielders. Ahead of the Forest v United Carabao Cup semi-final, we've done some digging in our archives and uncovered Keano's first interview with our club magazine - which was itself just nine issues old back in September 1993.

It's a fascinating read, as Roy touches on the interest shown by Blackburn Rovers and their manager Kenny Dalglish, plus the pressure of succeeding the brilliant Bryan Robson in the centre of the park...

When United swooped to sign Keane


The Reds' late raid for the Nottingham Forest firebrand in 1993 was a sliding-doors moment, writes Adam Marshall.

Roy Keane has now earned the dubious privilege of being Manchester United’s most expensive signing. It’s hard for any player to live up to such a price tag, yet Roy is already working hard to fulfil all our expectations.

After months of speculation, the Republic of Ireland international joined United in a blaze of publicity from relegation-bit Nottingham Forest. Manchester United’s Joanne Parker managed a quick chat with Roy on a quick visit to the ground.

For a multimillion pound player, he seemed a pretty down-to-earth guy…

Your transfer was a long, drawn out procedure… did you at any time doubt that you would end up at Old Trafford?
“No, not really… United were the last club that I spoke to, but when we finally got together I knew that this was the club I wanted to join. I’d already had talks with Kenny Dalglish at Blackburn but in my heart it was Manchester United who I wanted to play for.”

There must have been some moments of uncertainty…
“I admit that I did shake hands with Kenny Dalglish but I had always said that I was going to keep my options open, and I never fully committed myself to Blackburn. After Nottingham Forest were relegated I had set my heart on coming to United but even so I decided to keep my options open and have talks with Blackburn. Obviously I was really pleased when United finally made their move. Once I had spoken with Alex Ferguson my mind was made up and I wanted to get over here as soon as possible! I’m just glad it’s all over.”

Why were you so determined to come to United?
“Have you got two hours to spare?! There are so many reasons why I wanted to come here… United are a great club with a wonderful history, and they’ve got the best team and support in the country. I’m very proud to be a part of such a successful club and I hope that I can contribute something towards it.”

All The Goals: Roy Keane Video

All The Goals: Roy Keane

All The Goals | After joining from Nottingham Forest, Roy Keane scored 51 times during his legendary United career...

Would you agree that coming to Old Trafford was a career move rather than a money move?
“Yes, definitely. Forest realised that playing First Division football would not benefit my career so I don’t think they were too surprised that I wanted to leave. Signing for Manchester United is the best career move I could have possibly made. I’m still quite young – 21 – so money isn’t the most important thing to me. I’ve been given a good contract but I’m more bothered about establishing myself at United.”

What do you think you can achieve at United?
“Well, getting into the first team will be the first challenge, because there are so many great players here! Obviously I’m looking forward to doing well in Europe, and I’m sure we’ll be trying our best in the competitions at home. As I said, my main concern is edging my way into the squad and then playing as well as I can for the club.”

Keane played against us for Forest in the 1992 League Cup final, which United won 1-0.

People have been touting you as the next Bryan Robson…
“That’s paper talk for you! Some people are trying to compare us but I don’t see how they can do that – he’s Bryan Robson and I’m Roy Keane. Two different people! It is very flattering to have such a comparison made though – I respect Bryan a great deal and I met him for the first time today. He’s a fantastic professional and if I can play half as well as he can I’ll be very happy.”

Has Manchester United’s Irish connection influenced your decision to come to the club?
“Definitely! Over in Ireland everybody seems to support United. When I went home to Cork in the summer everyone was pressurising me to sign for them! My family and friends knew that I had already made up my mind but they still hassled me. There have been a lot of Irishmen who have played successfully for United and I hope that I can carry on the tradition.”

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