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Poll: Which side were you on in the Saipan debate?

It’s ten years to the day since Roy Keane was sent home from the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup training camp.

Roy Keane awaits his flight home in Saipan, after being dismissed from the 2002 Republic of Ireland squad.
Roy Keane awaits his flight home in Saipan, after being dismissed from the 2002 Republic of Ireland squad.
Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Archive

TODAY MARKS ten years – to the day – since Roy Keane departed from the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup training camp on the Pacific island of Saipan.

After complaining about the team’s training standards, and the quality of the facilities provided by the FAI – including the provision of cheese sandwiches, and apparently being asked to train on a car park – team captain Keane suggested on May 21 he would leave the camp.

Those differences were shortly reconciled, but in a team meeting two days later (May 23, ten years ago today) Keane let fly – telling manager Mick McCarthy: “I don’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager, and I don’t rate you as a person.”

Adding, “you can stick your World Cup up your a**e”, Keane was promptly sent packing from the tournament – prompting a major split in the Irish public between those who felt Keane was serving his country by seeking higher standards, and those who argued he was deserting it at a time when his midfield skills were most needed.

Today, rather than poring back over the details of the dispute, we’re simply asking: whose side were you on in the great Saipan debacle of 2002?


Poll Results:

Roy Keane (1993)
Mick McCarthy (1414)
I can't remember/didn't care (311)



Read: Ten years on: Keane still has ‘no regrets’ over Saipan

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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