Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel played together at Manchester United for six seasons but couldn’t get along during those years. Eric Cantona retired in 1997 and Sir Alex Ferguson made Keane the new captain of Manchester United, although Schmeichel was the more senior player.
Keane was injured in 1997-98 season and had to stay on the sidelines till the start of 1998-99 season. In that duration, Schmeichel was the captain in his absence. Keane returned and lead Manchester United to a historic treble in 1999. Schmeichel had to return the captaincy to Keane it is believed to be the possible source of tension between the two.
Keane reveals about the bust-up in his autobiography.
“I had a bust-up with Peter when we were on a pre-season tour of Asia, in 1998, just after I came back from my cruciate injury. I think we were in Hong Kong. There was drink involved,” Keane says in the book.
“Myself and Nicky Butt had had a night out, and we bumped into Peter at the hotel reception desk. It was about two in the morning. We said a few words to one another – a bit of banter, a bit of stick. I went to Nicky’s room for some room service, had a sandwich, got up to go – and Peter was waiting for me, outside the room.”
Keane also reveals that they weren’t ‘close to each other’.
“There’d been a little bit of tension between us over the years, for football reasons. Peter would come out shouting at players, and I felt sometimes that he was playing up to the crowd – ‘Look at me!’
“He was probably also doing it for his concentration levels, keeping himself on his toes. But I felt he did it too often, as if he was telling the crowd, ‘Look at what I have to deal with.’
“I wouldn’t say we disliked each other, but we weren’t best buddies either.”
“He said, ‘I’ve had enough of you. It’s time we sorted this out.”
“So I said, ‘Okay.’
“And we had a fight. It felt like ten minutes. There was a lot of noise – Peter’s a big lad.”