Jason McAteer challenges 'salty' Roy Keane to a BOXING match

Jason McAteer challenges ‘salty’ Roy Keane to a BOXING match as the Man United legend reignited their long-running feud last week… after saying his Ireland team-mate ‘deserved’ being elbowed in infamous 2002 clash

  • Keane claimed that he hadn’t deserved receiving red card against Sunderland 
  • In response, McAteer called him a ‘clown’ and told him to ‘please bore off’ 
  • The curse of our game is abuse of referees, we are not doing enough to stop it. The punishments must be HARSH – It’s All Kicking Off 

Jason McAteer has challenged Roy Keane to step into the boxing ring with him and put their long-running feud to rest, after the pair reignited hostilities last week. 

The pair memorably clashed during a 2002 tie which saw McAteer line up for Sunderland against the legendary Red Devils defender – who was sent for an early bath after picking up a red card for elbowing his opponent. 

Tensions were reignited when Keane described McAteer as ‘deserving’ the sharp end of his elbow as he reviewed his career red cards, adding that he wouldn’t ‘go so far’ as saying that they were both Republic of Ireland team-mates. 

Keane added that he didn’t believe he deserved to receive his marching orders during the game – only for McAteer to call the Sky Sports pundit ‘a clown’ and tell him to ‘bore off’ on X (formerly Twitter) in response. 

But McAteer articulated his desire to hash it out and let bygones be bygones with his long-term rival on punditry duty for beIN on Sunday, albeit in a creative manner. 

Roy Keane (far left) and Jason McAteer (right) reignited their long-running feud last week

The former Sunderland and Liverpool player responded to Keane’s claims that he ‘deserved’ being elbowed during a clash in 2002 that saw the defender sent off

The Man United legend claimed he didn’t think he deserved his red card during the 1-1 draw

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‘We’re elite athletes, we’re sportsmen, and we do things to win at all costs. Every sportsman at the top – cricketers call it sledging, basketball players do it, hockey players do it, American footballers – they call it trash talk,’ McAteer explained to the panel as he described how he had ‘wound up’ Keane on that fateful day at the Stadium of Light.   

‘I knew what buttons to press that day, and I knew if we were going to win a game, my battle against Roy Keane, one of the greatest players, was to get in his head. And I knew I could get in his head.

‘We clashed in the middle of the park, his book had just come out – and again, he was derogatory. 

‘I was a little bit sad about what he said, he told me about what he was going to do to me in the clash and I said to him “put it in your next book”.’

McAteer mimed writing as he made the jibe at the Treble-winner before receiving the full-throated challenge, which the former Bolton player called ‘cheap’.  

‘The world’s seen him elbow me,’ McAteer continued. ‘To say that he didn’t do it, it’s wrong, but to say I deserved it. It’s salt.’

The midfielder added, before calling out to storied boxing promoter Eddie Hearn: ‘I’d rather him come in here now and he just, let bygones be bygones, let’s just be civil. 

‘Or we can get in the ring for £1 m each and fight it out. Eddie, if you’re watching. Eddie Hearn, get him on the phone. 

‘Roy, come on, you’re better than that. And I’ll stop reacting.’

Following their bitter spat in the game, McAteer told the angry Keane to ‘write it in a book’

Keane was held back during the clash by his Man United team-mates at the Stadium of Light

On X (formerly Twitter) McAteer called out Keane for skipping international duty with Ireland

In his earlier X comment, McAteer took umbrage with Keane’s dismissal that they were never international team-mates writing: ‘And no we weren’t team-mates cause he never showed up and when he did he went home!!!!’

Keane dramatically left Ireland’s World Cup training camp before the tournament in the infamous Saipan incident. 

The Sky Sports pundit was unhappy with the conditions of the Irish camp, travel arrangements and their food.

He also said he had ‘no regrets’ over leaving despite people questioning his commitment because he had ‘no respect’ for manager Mick McCarthy who was ‘in bed with the Irish media’.


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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