Roy Keane left ‘skint’ after shedding cross bar problem each week in coaching

Paul Lambert has cheekily claimed he left Manchester United icon Roy Keane out of pocket during their time together at Aston Villa.

Lambert, who managed Villa for almost three years, roped in the formidable former United skipper as his assistant back in 2014, despite the pair never previously being teammates. The two had struck up a bond after Keane reached out to Lambert while he was in charge of Villa, quickly finding common ground in their love for competition.

Keane’s stint at Villa Park was short-lived; he departed after just four months to focus on his other assistant role alongside Martin O’Neill with the Republic of Ireland. But Lambert has spilt the beans on how Keane would regularly lose a weekly contest and end up footing the bill for treats.

READ MORE: Ex-Man Utd star Alex Ferguson called ‘terrible professional’ finds it ‘hard to disagree’

READ MORE: Premier League pundits’ 2023/24 pre-season predictions – including proper shockers

Speaking on the Undr the Cosh podcast, Lambert quipped, “He’ll tell you himself, I used to beat him every Friday at crossbar challenge. He used to buy the doughnuts and cakes, every Friday he was skint!

“He was going to every cake shop in Manchester to get me cakes. We would always have a competition. We still laugh about it now but I just liked his mindset and I never felt anything other than, ‘I like the way you think about football’. That’s why I asked him to come.”

The rivalry between the two former Champions League victors was palpable from their initial encounter, as Lambert shared his joy at winning a snooker game at Keane’s residence. The former Villa manager was questioned about the coaching relationship with Keane, considering his successful playing career and dominant personality.

Have your say! Should Roy Keane return to management? Tell us in the comments section

Roy Keane (L) and Paul Lambert (R) during their time at Aston Villa
Roy Keane (L) and Paul Lambert (R) during their time at Aston Villa

“I never, ever viewed Roy as who he was as a footballer or anything like that,” Lambert continued. “I knew he was a great player but as a person just to talk football, absolutely no worries whatsoever.

“Good guy, good ethos about football and the realism of it. He doesn’t try and sugarcoat it as everybody knows but the realism of it, I can relate to it because it’s similar to my sort of thinking, not suffering fools gladly.”

Lambert lasted just three more months at Villa after Keane’s decision to leave his position. The former Celtic midfielder was replaced by Tim Sherwood, who guided Villa to Premier League safety and an FA Cup final before kicking off their ill-fated relegation campaign.

Meanwhile, Lambert admitted that he currently has no serious desire to return to management, having last been in charge of Ipswich Town in 2021. “I’ve had the chance to go back in [to management] and I’ve said no,” he said. “To be fair, I really don’t miss it. “