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Jon Walters says row with Roy Keane over move from Ipswich ‘handbags more than anything’

Roy Keane and Jonathan Walters

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Former Ireland international Jon Walters admits that his eagerness to leave Ipswich Town and join Stoke City led to a "clash" with his then manager Roy Keane.

The tense relationship between Keane and Walters has been a subject of debate for some time.

In 2019, Keane spoke of their difficult relationship at Portrman Road when the Cork native was manager, saying "he was demanding to leave Ipswich when I was down there". Keane added: "He couldn't wait to get out of Ipswich when I was the manager, making all sorts of demands. Ironically, two or three years ago when his career was in freefall and he'd had injuries, he went back to Ipswich on loan. Fantastic, I was laughing my head off."

Now, Walters has given his version of his exit from Ipswich but says he has no regrets about how the 2010 move panned out.

"I was captain under Roy… and the conversation about leaving didn’t go down too well if I’m perfectly honest," Walters said in an interview for 'The Vault', a series of interviews with former players for Stoke's website.

“I had ambitions in the Premier League, he understood that. I think it was a case that if a bid came in that was right I could go. Bids were coming in that I felt were right, but not the club.

"If one person who’s a captain wants to leave, to go to a Premier League club, and the manager doesn’t want him to go there’s always going to be a clash and that’s ultimately what happened. But it was handbags more than anything and ultimately it led to my move to Stoke, which was the best time of my career."

Keane was widely criticised for comments he made on Off The Ball when he said that he'd seen Walters "On TV, crying about his family situation". Walters had earlier given an emotional interview on the Late, Late Show where he spoke about the death of his mother and brother.

Keane and Walters would also clash on Ireland duty, when Keane was assistant manager under Martin O'Neill. A row between Walters and Keane was made public when a WhatsApp voice message detailing an incident between the pair was leaked.

"All the lads were grabbing Johnny away from him… Johnny was going to kill him. Roy brought up something about when they were at Ipswich, they had like a falling out as well.

"He said, ‘You’re threatening me again Jon, like you did at Ipswich’, and Johnny was like, ‘Yeah what, are you going to be a s***house again and send me my fine in the post rather than saying it to my face?’" said the message from former Ireland man Stephen Ward, which was leaked in 2018 without Ward's knowledge.

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