ROY Keane has claimed Ellis Short ‘spoke to me like I was something on the bottom of his shoe’ as their relationship at Sunderland came to a bitter end.
The former Black Cats boss lifts the lid on the circumstances surrounding his exit from the club in his new autobiography, which is out on Thursday.
He reveals a disagreement with Short over whether he should live in the North East was a major factor in his departure, amid accusations from the Sunderland owner that he was only managing the club once a week.
Keane writes: “While I was driving, the owner rang me. He said ‘I hear you’re coming in one day a week. I said ‘One day a week? Who were you talking to?’ ‘Well that’s what I heard.’
“I went ‘It’s nonsense. How could I come in one day a week? I’m on the way up now anyway. We’ve got a game on Saturday’.
“He said he was disappointed with the Bolton game. His tone wasn’t good.
“‘Your location, where you live. You need to move up with your family.
“I was in the third year of a three-year contract. The arrangement – the flat in Durham, my family in Manchester – had suited everyone until now.
“He said: ‘I think it’s important that you live in the area.’
“I’m not sure if I said something like, ‘Why don’t you move up?’ He lived in London. But I did say, ‘I’m not moving. I’m in the last six or seven months of my contract anyway.’
“It might have been a different conversation if we’d been talking face-to-face. Then I might have said, ‘Well if I sign a new contract, I’ll move up. I can understand that.’
“But I said: ‘It’s not affected results previously.’
“The conversation didn’t end well. It was a case of ‘No-one tells me where I should live’ and the accusation that I was only coming in one day a week hung there.
Keane recalls how he spoke to his lawyer Michael Kennedy about the conversation, who contacted then-chairman Niall Quinn.
And before the week was out, Keane had stepped down from his position, resigning as manager on December 4, 2008 with Sunderland in the relegation zone.
He continued: “If Ellis Short actually thought that I was trying to run the team one a day a week he should have arranged to see me. I thought he was talking down to me, he spoke to me like I was something on the bottom of his shoe. I felt I’d been doing reasonably well, so far. So I thought: ‘I’m not putting up with this’.
“I drove home. I phoned Michael Kennedy in the car.
“‘Listen Michael, I’m not having all of this.’
“Michael spoke to Niall (Quinn). Niall wasn’t sure why the conversation between myself and Ellis Short had ended so badly.
“Apparently Ellis Short was surprised I was so upset. And before I knew it – it was over.”
Short had not been the owner when Keane had guided Sunderland to promotion, with the Texan taking over from the Drumaville consortium just weeks earlier.
And Keane believes that the fact he wasn’t Short’s own man was a major reason behind their breakdown in relationship.
He writes: “A bad spell is always coming. But I think I’d earned the right to get through that spell. Again – it was weeks, not months.
“But Ellis Short was new – and I wasn’t his manager. He owed me nothing. He wasn’t there when we were promoted. I’d done nothing for him yet. I should have read that script a little bit better.
“It’s probably true that the working relationship was never going to work, and not because he was some big, bad Texan and I was some grumpy Northsider from Cork. I don’t like being spoken down to.”