'It was just a tirade of abuse on me' - Andy Welsh reveals all about his Sunderland exit and explosive row with Roy Keane

Andy Welsh has lifted the lid on the story surrounding his departure from the Stadium of Light.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 1:21 pm

The midfielder left Roy Keane’s Sunderland in 2007 following a three-season stint on Wearside.

But Welsh says he has struggled to forgive his former manager regarding his Black Cats exit.

The player had just returned from a loan spell at Leicester City but was suffering off the field with personal issues surrounding the health of his grandfather.

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Andy Welsh of Sunderland holds off Jiri Jarosik of Birmingham during the Barclays Premiership match between Sunderland and Birmingham City at the Stadium of Light on November 26, 2005 in Sunderland, England.
Andy Welsh of Sunderland holds off Jiri Jarosik of Birmingham during the Barclays Premiership match between Sunderland and Birmingham City at the Stadium of Light on November 26, 2005 in Sunderland, England.

Speaking to the Undr The Cosh podcast, Welsh claimed that ahead of Sunderland’s game against the Foxes on New Year's Day in 2007, he asked Keane to see if he could miss the fixture.

"It wasn't a great time for me when he [Keane] came in because I was coming back from injury," he said.

"As soon as he came in he signed - and did brilliant for the club - Ross Wallace and Tobias Hysen and they did fantastically well and the club still won the league.

"There is also part of me that feels like I could have been a part of it but wasn't given an opportunity. I just didn't feel like my face was going to fit and I went on loan to Leicester again until Christmas.

"I came back from my loan there - I remember me and my missus got back to Sunderland that night - and I got my phone call from my uncle who was bringing my grandpa back from Scotland.

"My grandpa had a heart attack and had to go to Carlisle hospital. I shot over from Sunderland to Carlisle and I was really close to my grandpa and I rang Keane. He said he needed me back at training because I was going to be involved.

"Now I've just come back from a loan at Leicester and the lads are flying. I've not thought anything of it and gone to see him and explained the situation.

"He's gone 'do you want to be involved at this football club''

"I said that wasn't what I was saying. Funnily enough, the next game was Leicester away. I've said I'm not involved but I've been away for the last three months."

Welsh added: "He said 'well yeah you're going to be involved.' So he put me in the squad for the Leicester game and my grandpa was really ill. I had to deal with that and we beat Leicester 2-0 and I didn't come on.

"My grandpa ended up passing away and he knew the background and what was going on.

"I don't think if I'd went to him I would have been in the Leicester squad but I had to be honest with what was going on with my grandpa being in Carlisle.

"I don't know how close people are to their grandparents but my grandpa came to every single game of mine and all my family is Glaswegian.

"God bless him he'd go and chat with Mick McCarthy after games as though he knew him. He was talking to me like he knew Alex Ferguson 'you know Alex.'

"My uncle was a professional footballer from Scotland and he's a big part of my football as well. Whether Keane knew what he was doing - I'd like to think he didn't, but it just seemed a little bit strange.

"I'd not been involved for three months and then had to stay overnight in a hotel on New Year's Eve to play against Leicester on New Year's Day and not get on. I didn't even look like getting on.

"I struggled. I've always been one of those players who wants to play football. It's why I went out on loan. I said to myself I was going to give it a go.

"There was a bomb squad of me, Kenny Cunningham, Clive Clarke, Stephen Wright, Rory Delap - there was a few of us who weren't involved. I think Jon Stead was part of that as well because he was supposed to come to Leicester with me but he ended up going to Derby instead.

"I thought I'd give it a go and after a month I wasn't getting anywhere near it. I don't want to be that player that's going into training when the lads are flying and you're just like 'yeah'.

"It's one of those things that I felt my time was up there. I'd just signed a three-year deal in the summer. I remember going into Roy Keane in one of the first meetings after this had happened - sorry he pulled me in - and said there's a few clubs come in on loan for you.

"I knew there was a few wanted to sign me and he's gone - 'Plymouth, Dunfermline' - the furthest ones away and no disrespect to those clubs but at the time I didn't want to travel ridiculous.

"What happened was I said I'll just sit tight. Then my agent said Toronto are interested in signing you. One of the players I knew from Sunderland - Carl Robinson - had just signed there. He got on the phone to me and said look why don't you come - you need to play.

"I wasn't having it. First of all I thought I'm not doing that. They invited me out to have a look at the club. I landed and it was minus 19.

"The reason I went over was because I wasn't involved at Sunderland at the time so I just pushed the boat out. They weren't going to pay me what I wanted so we had tea and toast in Toronto for four days.

"A few days nothing happened - then Toronto called me and said they'd give me what I wanted. I had a decision to make here. I thought do you know what - I spoke with the missus and said we'd give it a go.

"I went in to speak with Roy Keane and I wasn't going to just walk away from a contract. I've gone in and sat down. From minute one it's just a tirade of abuse on me right. I've turned down these other clubs and made him look silly.

"I said I've not come here to be spoken to like that I'm contracted with the club so if it's going to be like this I'll just leave it at that.

"As I've gone to stand up he's gone 'Sit down.' He's started walking round the table and he's gone 'I don't know who you think you are walking out on me. I'm walking out on you.' He walked out and that was the last time I spoke to him.

"I sat there and gathered my thoughts for 15 seconds. Niall Quinn was brilliant - he ended up sorting everything out for me.

"He was fantastic and helped everything go smoothly. The main thing for me was I was back playing football - albeit the other side of the world."

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