Exclusive: Off The Ball's sat down with the former Irish boss...
"I enjoyed it and I loved it, every bit of it, and it ended on a sour note for me. I should have walked after the World Cup. Without any shadow of a doubt," Mick McCarthy told Off The Ball, during an in-depth interview with Joe Molloy and Kevin Kilbane.
The former republic of Ireland boss revealed that his one outstanding regret from 2002's bust-up is that it pushed him out of the Irish job at a time when he felt that the team was very strong and continuing to improve.
"I should have gone it was always going to affect everything I ever did certainly within the Irish job," he told Newstalk.
"The biggest regret is that I wasn’t able to carry on with the team that I had, because it was a good team. Great lads and I thought we were going places.
"It certainly affected everything that we did - which is a crying shame actually for the fans that saw us in Japan and South Korea.
"We really should have gone to the next tournament," the Ipswich Town manager continued, speaking during a pre-season training camp in Ireland.
He added that since that World Cup he has not got away from the Saipan incident:
"I’m away in Portugal recently and a couple of guys come up to me - and their chatting away and they say ‘Just one more thing....’ and I knew it was coming."
"I said look, we don’t exchange Christmas cards or emails or phone each other. But you know, we’re civil when we see one another."