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'He nearly kicked in the door into the boardroom... I came out a little bit rattled'

Former Sunderland striker Roy O’Donovan explains what it’s like to draw the ire of Roy Keane.

BACK IN THE summer of 2007, Roy Keane pounced at the 11th hour to snatch the League of Ireland’s hottest property from out of the grasp of a Premier League rival.

Keane convinced namesake and fellow Corkonian Roy O’Donovan to renege on an agreement with Fulham in order to join his squad at Sunderland instead. 

Yet despite being courted by Keane, the former Cork City striker wasn’t immune from the manager’s vitriol during his time at the Stadium of Light.

ALEAGUE ROAR TRAINING Roy O'Donovan, who's now playing under Robbie Fowler for A-League club Brisbane Roar. Source: AAP/PA Images

In Episode One of a brand new The42 podcast, O’Donovan recalled to Paul Dollery how his plans to return home to Cork to attend his partner’s birthday party backfired spectacularly.

O’Donovan is the first guest on The Football Family, a collection of in-depth conversations with a wide range of Irish football personalities. Access to the podcast is one of the many exclusive benefits available to our membership. Details of how you can become a member for just €5 per month — or €42 for an entire year — are available here

“There was a call down from the office: ‘The gaffer wants to see Liam Miller, Anthony Stokes and Roy O’Donovan’. I know Miller and Stokesy are in trouble, they’ve been late again,” O’Donovan explains. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘what’ve I done? I’m going to get abused here.’

“So we went up, we got sent into the boardroom and he made us wait for about 10 minutes. All of a sudden he nearly kicked in the door into the boardroom. He gives it to Liam Miller and he gives it to Stokesy for five or 10 minutes: ‘Ye’re always late! Ye’re a joke! What are ye driving? I’ve never seen people’s cars to break down as much as ye. How are ye so late?’

“He’s abusing them and I’m thinking, ‘what’ve I done?’ Then he literally just spun on his heel and gave me the thousand-yard stare. He was like:

‘And you, big-time Charlie, heading back to Cork for some big party… oh yeah, I heard all about it. Hello magazine, The Evening Echo, The Sun, The Star, they’re all going to be there, are they? Well, you can fucking forget about that, because you won’t be going there, right? We’re playing Chelsea next week and you’ve got half a chance of playing, so fuck off out of my office, and fuck off going back to Cork!’

“Obviously I was fucking frozen. I came out a little bit rattled from that. It was the only time really I suppose that I saw that side of him. But that was just him trying to keep my feet on the ground.”


Source: The42 Podcasts/SoundCloud

O’Donovan, who went on to leave Sunderland for Coventry City in 2010, is now based in Australia. This season — his fifth in the A-League — the 33-year-old will play under legendary former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler at Brisbane Roar.

The ex-Ireland U21 international provided plenty of fascinating insight from his career to date during his appearance on The Football Family, including his explanation for why his contract at Singapore Premier League club DPMM FC was ripped up by the Crown Prince of Brunei.

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