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Ian Harte exclusive: "Roy Keane said he was going to f***ing smash me, so I sobered up and went to bed"

Ireland defender Ian Harte
(Image credit: Getty)

We've all know a mate with a short fuse who gets a little feisty after one too many. But it's a totally different story when that mate is Roy Keane and he's making violent threats against you during a heavy drinking session. 

That's precisely what happened to Ian Harte while away on Ireland duty in 2001. The former Leeds, Reading and Bournemouth left-back made 64 appearances for the Boys in Green between 1996 and 2007 – a period which overlapped that of legendary hard man Roy Keane. 

Harte admits to getting on well with his team-mate, and would later play under Keane at Sunderland in the 2007/08 Premier League campaign. Despite their good relationship, Harte remembers the night things got a little bit heated in a hotel bar. 

"I was at Levante for three seasons and then I signed with Sunderland for one year," Harte tells the Players Lounge section of FourFourTwoorder the latest issue here. "I didn’t play much there but it was one of those things. I respected Roy as a player but, as a manager, he could have done things differently. 

"Back when we both played for Ireland, we’d sometimes go for a drink together. After one night out, we got back to the hotel – Leeds were due to play Manchester United on the Saturday. Roy turns around and says, “Hartey, you’re a great lad. But when we play you at the weekend, I’m gonna f***ing smash you!” I sobered up straight away and went to bed. I love Roy though, I’ve got so much respect for him."

Who can blame him? We'd have gone to bed too... and probably pulled a sicky at the weekend. 

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Ed McCambridge

Ed McCambridge is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working for the magazine and website. Ed has been living in Berlin since 2015 and worked as a Bundesliga reporter before joining FFT. Formerly a season ticket holder at AFC Wimbledon, he's now often found at Stadion An der Alten Försterei, bratwurst in hand, on Saturday afternoons.