Former Stoke City forward Jon Walters has hit back at ‘bullying’ Roy Keane after the former Manchester United captain publicly delved into his personal life during a live podcast.
Keane, who with teammate Gary Neville was speaking at an event in Dublin, criticised Walters for crying during a television interview where the ex-Burnley striker was asked about the loss of his mother at an early age along with a host of other personal tragedies
Showing little sympathy for Walters’ situation, Keane told his former player to try ‘lying low for a while’ and advised him to ‘have a look at his medals’ before joking that it would not take him long to do so.
And now Walters, who spent seven years at the Bet365 stadium during his playing career, has responded by fulfilling his promise to tell the full story to presenter Kelly Cates on JOE’s Liquid Football podcast.
“[Keane] was a good player. He was an unbelievable player,” said Walters.
“He is known as a hard man on the pitch, but there is a difference between being a hard man on the pitch and being a tough guy. Having a sharp tongue and a stare doesn’t make you a tough guy.
He continued: “Nobody knew the year I had just had. Only my wife knew the extent of the year that I had just had.
“I lost my brother during pre-season and flew back to see my family. I then flew back to Cork to play in a pre-season game and my wife lost her baby – and then my daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis.
“It hit me hard. I had ruptured my Achillies but I did not care because of everything I had been through.”
The pair’s toxic relationship as player and manager came to a head during their time together at Ipswich as Walters did his best to force a move away from the club with Premier League sides, including Stoke, scrambling for his signature.
“I was 27. I did not know if I was going to get the chance again,” explained Walters.
“I asked him a couple of weeks before and he told me that if a Premier League club came in for me that I could go. So I went into his office and asked if I could go, because I knew that clubs had put bids in for me.
“He just switched. He said: ‘I’ll tell you when you can go. When they meet our valuation’. I had a little pop and told him to f**k off.
“So he got up and took his watch and his jumper off – if you don’t know that basically means you’re going to be fighting – and we went head to head. Very childish.
“I don’t like bullies, so I was like: ‘Come on then, if you want to go for it then let’s go!’
“I told him that he bullied everyone. He bullied me, he bullied the players, he bullied the staff inside the club, but that I was not scared of him.
“I went to walk out the room and he said something very personal, something that was nothing to do with him.
“So I told him to hit me and to see what happens to him, basically I was going to rip his head off – I had gone by then, I had switched.
“He said: ‘If you hit me I will have you arrested’, so I said: ‘Okay then, I will meet you outside somewhere. Call me tonight and I will come and meet you.’
“I told him: ‘I will come to your house and while all your family are there and anybody else, just you and me, on my own’. I didn’t care.”
He added: “At the end of that interview the other day, he said to everyone: ‘Jon threatened the come to my house and I am still waiting.’
“Don’t lie,” said Walters. “Don’t lie about things like that. I don’t mind the other stuff, but don’t lie about things like that.”
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