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Roy Keane Reveals The One And Only Time He Backed Down From A Fight

Daniel Marland


Roy Keane Reveals The One And Only Time He Backed Down From A Fight

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Roy Keane has revealed the only time he ever backed out of a fight involved Eric Cantona during Manchester United's Champions League tie against Galatasaray.

Cantona was sent off in the closing moments of a 0-0 draw back in 1993 and was pushed down the steps to the changing rooms by a policeman.

The Frenchman was famous for having a short fuse and it took the whole of United's dressing room to calm him down, including Keane himself.

Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

"In the dressing room Eric went crazy," the former United captain explained in 'King Eric: Portrait of the Artist who changed English football' as serialised in the Daily Mirror.

"He was determined to go back outside to sort out the rogue cop who'd been wielding his truncheon.

"Eric was a big, strong lad. He was serious. He insisted he was going to kill 'that f****r'.

"It took the combined efforts of the manager, (assistant) Brian Kidd and a few of the players to restrain him.

"Normally I wouldn't have backed off a fight but even I wasn't up for this one. There were a lot of Turks out there!"

Players were ordered to shower two at a time to not leave Cantona alone in the dressing room.

Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

The carnage continued as United's bus was attacked with projectiles as they left the Ali Sami Yen.

"If it had smashed through [the window] I'd have been dead," Steve Bruce said of one of the projectiles. "That would have just about summed it up."

Cantona himself wouldn't discuss the incident until 2017 when he laid out what happened that evening to JOE.

"He (policeman) killed me from behind, not kill me, but he beat me from behind and disappeared," 'King Eric' explained.

"And I'm sure that the images from the video are somewhere, but they lost everything. Convenient.

Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

"If it was someone else other than the policeman, then maybe I would have reacted differently. But a policeman?! He disappeared, disappeared like a weak man."

That evening in Istanbul has gone down as one of the most volatile evenings in Champions League history and United were outraged at their treatment.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson expressed that United were 'exposed to as much hostility and harassment as I have ever known on a football expedition.'

While former player Gary Pallister explained in his autobiography: "It was a terrifying business which had nothing to do with sport, and can be categorised objectively as an absolute disgrace."

Topics: Football, Manchester United, Galatasaray, Champions League, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane

Daniel Marland
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