The Irish Mail on Sunday

‘I didn’t want to sell Roy, he wanted to go’


AFTER first crossing Brian Clough’s path in his testimonia­l game in 1966, Frank Clark eventually succeeded the legendary manager as Nottingham Forest boss in 1993 where his first task was dealing with Roy Keane’s future.

‘I was only in the door when I got a call from Alex Ferguson saying “Frank, about this clause in Roy Keane’s contract…”,’ recalled Clark. ‘Roy went with our blessings but I was a little disappoint­ed he had a go at me in his book. He accused me of stopping him going to Blackburn, which was possibly true as Blackburn tried to sign him through the back door,’ explained Clark.

‘I didn’t want to sell him, but he had a clause in his contract that he could go for £3.5 million if Forest were relegated.

‘It dragged on for two weeks, during which I suggested to Roy it would be better if he didn’t train with the first team.

‘To his credit, he came in every morning and trained with the reserves and the youths while the negotiatio­ns went on.

‘Eventually, United met the asking price and Roy got his move to one of the top clubs in the Premier League where he went on to enjoy huge success.’

With the money from the Keane transfer, Clark signed Stan Collymore and Colin Cooper and Forest bounced straight back into the Premier League.

‘So, it was a good deal for us, even though we lost Roy. I wanted him to stay but he didn’t want to drop down a division, which I understood.

Clark felt Keane, who has always championed Clough’s cause as the manager he most admired, ‘would have learnt a lot from Brian.’

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