Saturday May 18
Fly to Japan for the start of our World Cup adventure. Run though a few of my new ideas with Mick McCarthy in the departure lounge before take-off.
“It’s very kind of you to offer, Roy, but I’ve always considered the training, the tactics and the pre-match and half-time team talks to be part of the manager’s job,” he says.
Naturally, I get a bit upset over this.
“Watch yourself, lad,” he says, pointing to my forehead, “it looks like you’re already getting that deep vein thrombosis and we’ve not even got on the plane yet.”
Then he walks away, laughing.
Sunday May 19
Arrive at training camp in Saipan, which Jason McAteer says he remembers from the book by James Clavell.
Our first practice session is very dispiriting. The pitch is shocking, some of the players haven’t got a clue and others are swanning around lazily like they couldn’t give a monkey’s.
How different it all is from playing at Old Trafford with Phil Neville and Juan Veron!
Monday May 20
Complain about the training facilities but McCarthy tells me to calm down. Still can’t believe that we couldn’t find a proper Irishman to manage Ireland.
If you can’t even get someone from your own country to manage your national team, no wonder you end up a laughing stock. Be honest, can you imagine the likes of England trying something daft like that?
Tuesday May 21
Bad day at training. A row breaks out after I call goalkeeping coach Pat ‘Packie’ Bonner “a complete and utter twackie”. Decide to go home.
The lads try to scare me out of going by packing my suitcases, checking me out of my room and booking me a taxi to the airport. It’s such a magnificently friendly gesture I decide to stay.
No reply when I knock on McCarthy’s door to give him the good news. There’s definitely someone in his room though. I can hear party music, loud whoops of delight and champagne corks popping.
Seems like he’s already worked out my intentions and is holding an impromptu ‘Roy’s Staying On’ party. Maybe he's cleverer than I’ve given him credit for.
Wednesday May 22
Emotional scenes when I surprise the squad by walking into training this morning. Some of the lads end up crying with happiness.
Interview with the Irish Times in the afternoon.
“I’d like to say that Mick McCarthy is a great manager,” I tell the journalist. “Yes, I’d like to say that, but in fact he’s a great, fat big-chinned useless Yorkshire twunt who knows f*** all about football.”
Continue in similar vein for two hours. Hope there’s something in there for the journo to get a story out of.
Thursday May 23
AM: Agent calls. It appears that once again a journalist has twisted a story beyond all recognition - ie, concentrated entirely on the one hour and 55 minutes of throwaway comments I made about wanting to cut Mick McCarthy’s head off with a chainsaw and completely ignored my five-minute analysis of whether we should play 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 against Cameroon.
Summoned to team meeting at mid-day to “explain myself”. Make note to change out of my ‘Mick The ***** Can Suck My Dick’ T-shirt before going.
PM: Lying on bed in state of total despair.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. Can’t believe I said it. How could I have got it so wrong?
Telling the manager to “stick it up his [****!!****]” was, of course, totally out of order. Because you can’t stick anything up your [****!!****], can you? Meant to say, “stick it up your [****!!****].”
Friday May 24
Pack suitcase and book taxi to the airport. On the way down to reception, go past McCarthy’s room.
The door is locked but I can hear the sound of frantic typing and a Yorkshire voice saying, “Hey Packie, what do you think of this one: ‘Thought you'd appreciate this juicy titbit which I heard from a journalist friend of mine. Apparently, the real reason Roy Keane wanted to go home is because the News Of The World is running a story saying he’s pregnant with Pop Idol Will Young’s twins'. This new Discussion Forum's brilliant, isn't it?’”
Can’t hear the rest as it is drowned out by laughter.
Saturday May 25
Arrive at Manchester Airport on the Manchester United jet.
Very nice of the gaffer to send it out to Japan to pick me up, and even better news is that no charges are being pressed over the unfortunate incident at 40,000 feet when the captain announced: “In a moment, your flight crew will be passing through the cabin with a light meal of prawn sandwiches.”
Sunday May 26
AM: Can’t believe what the press here are saying about me. Still, it’s good to know that some people won’t fall for the line that I’ve totally undermined a good and decent manager and in the process utterly wrecked a squad which might have been destined for greatness.
PM: Sir Alex Ferguson rings to ask whether I fancy a move to Arsenal.
Monday May 27
Agent wants me to do a live interview on RTE at 6pm tomorrow.
Says that as long as I use the words “sorry”, “excuse” and “apology” a few times, I’ll be eating Red Setter sandwiches in Korea by Wednesday tea-time.
Tuesday May 28
Tell RTE: “Mick McCarthy is an apology of a human being and a sorry excuse for a football manager.” That should fix it.
Sit back and wait for the phone call.
Wednesday May 29
Thursday May 30
Dog decides it wants to go out for a walk. No sooner do we get outside than it wants to come in again. Then it starts barking at me and pisses down my leg, so I kick him out the door anyway.
You tell me, where does a dumb animal learn to behave like that?