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19th Jul 2017

Roy Keane reveals how much he was first paid at Manchester United

This perfectly sums up how much football has changed...

Robert Redmond

This sums up how much football has changed.

Roy Keane had two choices in the summer of 1993 – Manchester United or Blackburn Rovers.

The Irish midfielder was part of the Nottingham Forest team that had been relegated from the Premier League, but had attracted the attention of the top teams in the division with his impressive performances.

Keane famously made a verbal agreement with Kenny Dalglish to join Blackburn, and looked set to join the big spending club for a British record transfer fee.

However, no contract was signed, as it was Friday afternoon and the club’s office had closed, and the pair agreed to complete the deal after the weekend.

In stepped Alex Ferguson

The United manager phoned Keane, who was back home in Cork, and invited him to his house. Over a game of snooker, Ferguson convinced him to move to Old Trafford.

All that remained was for the Irish midfielder to break the bad news to Dalglish.

Keane detailed in his first autobiography how Dalglish reacted to the news when he phoned to say the deal was off. The former Liverpool manager was furious and told the player he “wouldn’t get away with this.”

Keane, during a talk in Northern Ireland earlier this year, offered more detail about his exchange with Dalglish, and revealed how much his first United contract was worth.

Bear in mind, this sum is relative to what Premier League players currently earn, with the average wage in the division worth around £25,000 a week.

“I was about £250,000 (a year) at Forest, which was a good deal. Blackburn offered me four hundred (thousand a year),” Keane said, before admitting he was tempted by Blackburn, as they were building an impressive side.

But Keane joined United for less money.

“They offered me three-hundred thousand a year,” the former United captain said.

“It was important, because this is the business side of the football, and straight away I learned about Man United was that it is business, as well.

 “I’m thinking, it’s not a massive rise (from his wage at Forest), especially considering it’s going to be a transfer record. So, they stalled a little bit, and dragged their heels.

Keane went on to say that United eventually offered £350,000 a year, and agreed to pay Forest £3.75m, a then British record transfer fee for a player.

While this is, of course, an awful lot of money, it is small compared to what Premier League players are currently paid. Never mind the Chinese Super League, where Carlos Tevez currently earns a reported £650,000 a week.

Keane also revealed Dalglish’s bizarre threat when he told him he was joining United instead of Blackburn.

“He was effing and blinding (on the phone), saying ‘you’re a f**king disgrace,” Keane said.

“I said, ‘listen, I’m going on me holidays next week’, which I was, I was going to Cyprus with a few lads… just to do some sight seeing.

“‘I’m going to Cyprus with me mates, and when I come back I’m going to sign for Man United’.

“He said: ‘I’m going to find you. I’m going to come to Ayia Napa and find you.

“So, every bar in Ayia Napa, I was looking over my shoulder waiting for Kenny Dalglish to walk in.”