Blame me over Haaland comments, says Keane ghostwriter
LONDON (Reuters) - The ghostwriter of Roy Keane's autobiography has said the Manchester United midfielder did not make the controversial comments about deliberately injuring Norwegian Alf Inge Haaland, the Observer reported.
Eamonn Dunphy told the newspaper he had used "artistic license" and "paraphrased" Keane's quoted remarks about his acrimonious feud with the Manchester City midfielder.
Keane faces possible legal action from Haaland and City after saying in a newspaper serialisation of his book that he had intentionally fouled Haaland in a revenge attack during a Manchester derby in April 2001.
Dunphy's comments come a day after the English Football Association (FA) said it would not hesitate to punish the United skipper if the governing body decided he had brought the game into disrepute.
"We thought it would be a nice football book, that it would be no problem," Dunphy was quoted as saying in the newspaper.
"But there is the passage about Haaland. I am as much responsible for that, as a writer, rather than Roy," added Dunphy, himself a former Manchester United player.
"There is artistic license. I should take the rap. But he won't let me. Fair play to him. No whingeing. No screaming.
"No, 'I didn't say that; he made it up.' But I was paraphrasing. Still no whining. But we are talking about a man here."
Dunphy said fellow Irishman Keane and United manager Alex Ferguson had both read his manuscript before the serialisation began last week. Ferguson said last week that his captain did not have a case to answer.
Asked if the intent of Keane's challenge on Haaland was clear from his autobiography leading sports lawyer Nick Bitel told Saturday's Guardian newspaper: "I suspect Keane would argue there was a bit of artistic licence in the editing of the book.
"The book was ghost-written, so that might give Keane an edge in claiming it was not what he said. He could argue that those were not his exact words or that they were taken out of context. The book alone is not going to prove Haaland's case."
In announcing on Friday that they planned to take legal action City said on their website:
"Following discussions at Maine Road between the football club, Alfie and his legal advisers, it has been agreed to jointly instruct a leading firm of solicitors regarding the circumstances surrounding Roy Keane's tackle on April 21 2001".
"This action has been taken with a view to commencing legal proceedings against Roy Keane and his employers Manchester United Football Club."
Since the tackle on Haaland, for which Keane was sent off, the 29-year-old Norwegian has suffered knee ligament problems and has made only a handful of appearances for his club.
British newspapers reported on Saturday that Haaland would fly to Colorado in the U.S. on Sunday for knee surgery.
The comments about Haaland have thrust Keane back into the limelight at the start of the new premier league season just two months after his controversial exit from the World Cup.
Keane was sent home after a furious row with Ireland manager Mick McCarthy in the build-up to the tournament and refused to apologise.