KEANE: "I had corn flakes for breakfast"

Every interview Keane gives now generates a ridiculous, mundane headline.

He would most likely be sacked this evening but for his reputation.

Sunderland are a joke. Relgation beckons. Playing McShane at centre half is one of many problems he has. Playing some unknown striker against Rio and Vida today world class. The element of shock he must have been thinking. United didnt even play that well and scored 4 past them with players like Giggs, Evra, Tevez and Anderson sitting it out.

I just read up on the Sunderland game there to see who the unknown striker Shan mentioned was. He’s a 17-years old rookie called Martin Waghorn and Keane deemed a match against the league champions as the right game to throw this child into the deep end. It’s not as if he was forced to pitch him in due to lack of resources or having a host of players missing. It appears simply to have been another ridiculous decision from Keane. Having had such a great start to his managerial career expectations were raised but his sophomore season is turning into a bit of a dark comedy.

I don’t like to go on but I heard all these yeah Keane could make Sunderland a top 6 team in their first season back which was very optimistic. I believe as it is Keane will take 17th at the moment. I remember when Harry Redknapp went back to Pompey he brought loads of players in to save them and they eventually clicked around March. Keane has to get it right in the Transfer market. No Championship players. He should try and get Johnny Evans back. Can’t see Fergie playing him at the moment so it would suit both clubs. Needs a new midfield. Dickson Etuhu is woeful. I mean playing in a Norwich team that finished 16th in the Championship last season hardly qualifies him for the Premiership. Also Keane doesn’t know his best 11. It can be anybody playing up front depending on his mood.

I think he’s guilty of falling into this nonsense about squad rotation. That’s all well and good for the big clubs with big squads of world class players who are competing in three or four competitions. Sunderland are effectively in one competition (Carling Cup and FA Cup are meaningless to them) so he should be using that to his benefit and selecting and working with a strong first choice team.

Interesting to see who he does get now in January - I think he’ll find players harder to come by than last summer and they struggled then.

Sunderland going down would be hilarious. Then we’d see how many of the bandwagon jumpers stick by them if they go down. Nice use of the word sophomore there Bandage :angry:

Christ that was a shocking performance and result for Sunderland on Saturday. They changed a few players around but it’s telling that McShane was yet involved at the heart of the defensive calamities.

They’re still linked with Balde (and Celtic have an extra defender now that Hinkel has signed, which frees up Caldwell) but he’s off to the African Nations Cup now and they can hardly afford to wait. Huge test for Keane’s skills now in January. I think he has them trying to play decent football but by God has he been naive in the transfer market until now.

Another ex-utd player Quinton Fortune is on trial at Sunderland.

Saw this interview with Clive Clarke on another forum and though it originally appeared in that hateful rag (The Sindo) it’s worth a read. It contains the quotes about Keane that appeared in the English media today and he also reflects on life since his heart attack.

They thought I was dead

By Richard Sadlier
Sunday January 06 2008

On August 28 last, while on loan at Leicester City, Sunderland defender Clive Clarke suffered a cardiac arrest leading to the abandonment of their game at Nottingham Forest. We met on Wednesday in Manchester, with news of Motherwell captain Phil ODonnells death fresh in our minds.

Clarke was my room-mate while we were on U-21 international duty in Macedonia many years ago, and went on to win two senior caps.

Still unable to drive, his wife Sally drop s him off. This was never going to be a chat on his highs and lows of 2007.Do they know what caused it yet?

No, they reckon they wont know, its one of those sudden death syndrome things, one of those freak things, something like one in a few million chance of it happening, some figure like that.

Any exercise these days?

Im back doing a bit of exercise on my own. At the training ground Im not allowed go on any of the machines. I went in and did a couple of days a while ago but they told me for legal reasons I couldnt anymore. One consultant had to be backed up by other consultants. one couldnt give me the go-ahead on his own, which he did initially. I`m waiting for the third opinion now.

And what device were you fitted with?

Its called an internal defibrillator. Similar size to a pacemaker, well its a pacemaker as well. It`s a bit more advanced than a pacemaker.

And it`s there to do what exactly?

It`s just a back-up really, in case the same thing happens again. It kind of monitors the heartbeat, so that if it reaches a certain rate, it gives you a shock and brings you back to normal.

Do you remember much about it?


You were in the dressing room?

Yeah, we came off at half-time. I felt a bit dizzy in the game.

A different kind of dizzy to anything before?

No, it was like that. A bit more than normal though. Felt a bit sh*t. Went down to the dressing room. Manager started talking, then I just went bump. I was sitting down at the time. Next thing I was kod. Dont remember any of it. Just remember waking up in the ambulance.

You woke up before you got to the hospital?

Yeah, woke up with some guy standing over me with these defibrillator shock things in his hands.

Did someone go with you?

Yeah, the physio. Well my missus didnt know until after. She didnt have the TV on.

So at what point did your parents hear what had happened?

They heard on the TV, on Sky Sports News. They were trying to get through on the phone to the club, and to Notts Forest. But they couldnt get through. There were a lot of people ringing in at the same time so they couldnt get through. They got in touch with the hospital. They heard I was brought to hospital. I spoke to them when I came round. It was a bit mad for them.

How long was it between when they found out something was wrong and when they spoke to you?

About an hour really from the time they found out. It all happened quite quickly. I came into the A&E and was then moved up to the intensive care ward. I was sitting up, the physio was ringing my family to let them know what had happened, I was having a quick word with them.

Were you in pain at the time?

Well yeah, cos I had a massive bump on my head from when I had fallen. I was a bit dizzy from all that as well. With everything that was going on, it was all a bit mad, a bit surreal.

What was the scene like for the lads in the team?

They said it was frightening. They thought I was dead. That`s what they said. The two lads beside me were obviously down straight away trying to help me. They said they just saw my face. I had swallowed my tongue at the same time.

What does that look like?

I think I was just choking, gagging sort of. I dont know really, Im kinda just going off what they said cos obviously I never saw it. Ive spoken to them since about it. I spoke to Shaun Newton who was there, Im big pals with him from when I was at West Ham. He had to get out of there. He said he was in tears. He went on the pitch and cried. He thought I was dead, cos the manager came out and said I think hes gone, then rang my agent and said I think we might have lost Clive`. A bit mad hearing it back like that.

How is it talking about it now? (His eyes are welling up )

Yeah, when you think of it, you get a bit emotional. Especially when you think of what happened to the guy last week. It brought it all back hearing what happened to Phil O Donnell. Scary really.

What was your reaction to that news?

Ah, I was devastated for him and for his family, you know, I`m one of the lucky ones I guess. Especially seeing him getting stretchered off and I just think I was so lucky that it happened in the dressing room.

Do you think that`s the difference then?

I think so. Reading between the lines, he might have had something similar to me. They might not have reacted quickly enough on the pitch, cos between them I didnt see any sign of a defibrillator, and thats what I needed. I dont know the ins and outs of what happened to him, but I know people wouldnt have acted so quickly if maybe 20,000 people were watching what was going on.

Do clubs have remote defibrillators?

Well, a lot do, and Im sure theyll all try and get them in now that this happened to me, and an even bigger effort now that theyve seen whats happened to him. I was the lucky one out of all of us.

Looking back, were there any warning signs that you may have missed?

No, initially I said nothing really ever happened, but then I was thinking Id been dizzy a few times. I remember the previous year I was away with West Ham and had to come off for a few minutes in the first pre-season game. I was getting dizzy and my vision was all blurry so I had to ask the manager to come off for a few minutes. He just laughed, probably thought Id just been on the p**s or something.

In fairness I would`ve thought the same. So if you get the all-clear to crack on, what do you do?

Exactly that. Crack on. Go back to Sunderland to work on my fitness and take it from there. I dont think I can look too much further than that. If anything jumps up in the meantime obviously Ill have to reassess everything. If everything goes smoothly, get fit again and build up my confidence and hopefully I`ll get back playing.

When do expect to hear from that third consultant?

Well as soon as possible really, hopefully get a date in mind that I can start working to.

What do your parents and Sally think?

My parents are obviously happy Im still around, and they know I love playing football. Theyll support whatever decision I make. My wifes a nurse so she knows a bit more about these things. Shes quite happy to go with the consultants decision. She wants me to be happy and she knows thatd make me happy, once she knows I`m not putting my life in any danger

When we were out before Christmas, both myself and Kenny (Cunningham ) thought that you seemed the happiest youve been, and you said the same yourself. What do you think thats from?

Its been great spending time with my family. I think when you play football you kind of just have the blinkers on. You dont think all that much about what else goes on in your own life and in other peoples lives. Then something like this happens, you look at the bigger picture. Im a lucky man. Ive a wife and a young baby I love very much and Ive a job I love that pays well.

So if you return to football, will those blinkers go back on do you think?

I think in football you listen too much to what other people think.

Like who?

Well like Roy Keane. Once Im happy with how I am and what I do, I think Id take things like that with a pinch of salt. Id like to think if I did get back Id be a better player. You know, people knock your confidence. I think you have to realise it`s just a job as well. You know you can get a bit carried away with going out, drinking, with the whole lifestyle, I think my priorities have changed.

So do you think you got carried away with the other stuff?

Oh of course, I think if youre in the game long enough you do. I think you were in the same position a few years ago as Im in now. You look at the bigger picture. You get carried away, cos I suppose youre in a kind of a shell. I want to get back enjoying it again, and not give out about everything, especially me, you know moaning about everything. Those sorts of things dont really matter really, do they?

And (Niall ) Quinn`s position is what?

Ah he said he`d do all he could for me and the family to help us through the period. Told me the club would stay behind me for the remainder of the contract.

So theyre going to honour the contract regardless of the surgeons news?

Well thats what they said. I think it sums up Niall really, thats the kind of man he is, hes an honest bloke. Its not just a business to him. he actually cares about the lads he brings into the club, and Im obviously very grateful to him for that. Ive 18 months on my deal, so if I dont get back, Ill still have income for not just six months [clubs are only required to pay a minimum if six months in cases of early retirement]. I know things change, but hopefully they wont. Itd look very bad for them now if they didn`t.

And Keane?

Well I was never really part of his plans, and thats not going to change just cos something bad has happened. Ive no real need to talk to him. He`s the manager alright, but obviously there are people at the club more important than him, the chairman, people like that.

So have you had a conversation with him at all?

I spoke to him a couple of times at the club and he rang me when it happened which was nice of him, but were not very pally so theres no real reason to speak to one another. I probably speak to him more than the players who train there every day even now. Hes going around booting chairs and throwing things. Hes never going to give you confidence, he doesnt talk to lads. If the lads at Man Utd couldnt reach the standards he wanted, and theyre some of the best players in the world, then its going to be a lot harder for the lads at Sunderland to reach them.

If you return, won`t it be in your mind all the time? How will you deal with that?

The way I look at it, if you have a bad knee injury, youre waiting for that first challenge to come in, and you get confidence then when it comes and you get though it. Its the same for me, if I get to a heart-rate that I know I can work at, I`ll get confidence from that.

Are you the first to attempt this? You said earlier nobody else usually survives this, let alone tries to play again.

Theres nobody whos had an arrest who plays again. I just have to take it one step at a time. But the device I have fitted has a reading on it. As long as thats closely monitored I should be alright. I suppose after a period of time, maybe after a pre-season where you push your body to the limits, then Ill know what`s what.

Is it because of the greater demands on footballers nowadays that this has happened?

Maybe. Setting targets of getting below 10 per cent body fat or whatever, that doesnt suit everyone. Its mad, youre called fat if youre 11 per cent. If you push yourself to the limit, at times something will give.

So if you get news you don`t want to hear in two weeks, what happens then?

Dont know. If I got to play for four or five years Id be delighted, but if retirement was to happen straight away I`d have to obviously think of other roads to go down.

Are any roads opening up at the moment?

Media would be nice, but I dont know if its for me. Coaching is definitely for me, Im going to get my badges either way, regardless of the news I get. Im only turning 28 next week so Im young enough. Its no age really to be sitting here, the two of us discussing retirement __ and youve already retired. My solicitor has said there may be a role for me at his firm, thats something I might do. Ideally Id like to get something away from football too. Its hard to get a job in football that pays the way, as you know.

Does the waiting not p**s you off?

Yeah, big time. Its the same questions from everyone, and I dont have an answer for them. I just try and put a positive spin on it for them, even though I know in the back of my mind it`s kind of 50-50.

Does it not ever become tiresome putting a positive spin on it? I did the same, and it used to do my head in.

Yeah, if you have five conversations in a day, its five different versions of the same story. Its just repeating it again and again. It does annoy me, ye. And the FA don`t seem to be in any rush.

What`s prolonging it?

Initially I was told I was grand to play again, then they changed their mind. Maybe people are running scared maybe afraid of being sued. Obviously in case something goes wrong after they give the go-ahead.

But you surely must see this isnt just like getting an opinion on your knee or ankle? If theres a recurrence, it could be a big deal.

I think you have to listen to the consultants. Theyre the experts. theyre the ones with the qualifications. Theyre not going to say go and play if theyre not 100 per cent sure, are they? Obviously there`s an element of risk, but there is with everything I suppose.

Won`t that play on your mind?

I think it will. But I think its something that in time will fade. But I wont know unless I do it. Ive no answer to give to that until I do it and see. If I think its holding me back, maybe Ill reassess. Even if I got the go-ahead, I wont be stupid. Life`s more important than playing football.

You do seem generally happier. Clive the cloud Clarke isn`t as evident anymore. You did have this amazing ability to see negatives where none of us could.

I think a lot of that was being sarcastic and just messing. And just in football. You do that for banter. It was being around Kenny so much I think. He`s the most positive man in the world.

So you thought a balance was needed?

Yeah maybe, but I think some of him has rubbed off on me now. Its something I admire a lot in him and something I think Im better at now. I feel happy. When youre in football, it can get you down. People see the nice side of things, but they dont see the knocks and the bad days and all the disappointments. That can get you down. When you`re in football you can get caught up too much in all that.

So do you think a life outside football might even suit you better?

Im not bothered. Id miss the banter, the jack-the-lad sh*t. But Ive been lucky, having played first team football for around nine years. Id miss it, and I suppose the luxuries would go, but overall I`d be happy enough moving on. Having a wife and a kid has made a huge difference.

How`s fatherhood impacted things?

Oh, its all you live for. Waking up in the morning and getting a smile or a hug, it makes your day. Knowing she was nearly taken away from me makes me appreciate her all the more. You appreciate things in life a lot more after what happened. Shes 15 months now, wasnt even a year old when it happened. To think I could never have had a conversation with her. I dont get down in the dumps about stupid things anymore. just enjoy things a bit more.

So getting in Keanes plans doesnt feature in your mind anymore?

No, obviously he was never that keen. He wants to go a different route with the position and thats fair enough. Thats football, the way it goes. It doesn`t bother me now.

We carried on this conversation over a pint, and I found myself relating to so much of what he said. A shared sense of regret, almost guilt, for failing to fully appreciate what I had, and a new-found comfort in realising the world still turns whether you can kick a ball or not. The before-and-after comparison in him is stark, and maybe it required a near-death experience to bring about the change.

Whatever the future holds for Clarkey, I couldnt help get the feeling hell be happier than ever, and deservedly so regardless of what the consultant says.

  • Richard Sadlier

I get the impression from the article that Clarke is not very bright. Publicly commenting on a lad that can influence the next 18 months of his contract. Generally a thick lad I would say.

Don’t like Sadlier either. Bitter as fook about being mediocre to very mediocre footballer I’d say.

Only reading this article now so won’t comment on it yet but it’s important for me to say in advance that Sadlier is a prick. Bitter bastard, hun and had 6 months of form before he got injured. Pity for him that he got injured but it doesn’t mean he deserves any sort of respect.

Read the article on sunday. It smacks of a fella, who just wasn’t good enough and was told so straight away, trying to get back at the boss. Clarke wasn’t there ages, isn’t there on a daily basis now and probably doesn’t know that much about what goes on there these days. Keane rang him straight after, which you’d expect. I’m sure Keane does kick chairs and maybe Clive Clarke is right about him not talking to players enough, but the tone is spiteful, bitterness.

Read it now - bit much of Sadlier comparing the two situations isn’t it? And he’s all chuffed that he’s not too down about it either. Like he’d ever have been an agent or a journalist if he wasn’t a footballer first - he’s still getting plenty of money flowing in because he was once a mediocre footballer, no other reason.

Clarke doesn’t seem that sharp either. Comes across a bit better to be fair and you don’t know how much of the Keane stuff was setup in the questions but I think it reflects worse on Clarke than on Keane. Keane doesn’t seem him as part of his plans so he doesn’t know him and doesn’t need to talk to him, but he did make the call after the incident. That seems about fair enough.

Praising Quinn for potentially honouring the contract, while having a go at Keane and then trying to threaten them about reneging on that in public is a bit silly.

feel sorry for the lad after what happened but the digs at keane suggest he’s nothing more than an extremely average player bitter about not being part of the manager’s future plans.

more important people at the club than the manager? not if you’re a player looking to get back in the first team son.

Bang on Juhniallio. Imagine Keane wasn’t banging chairs about with the season Sunderland have had. Plenty of scope for criticising somethings about his management but being angry at the players isn’t one of them.

I agree with Juhniallio, Rocko and Jugs too. It’s not as if Clarke was an established EPL and international player. He hadn’t made it at West Ham and was a lower league level player and I think had a token cap or two in friendlies. Keane, as manager, has every right to shape the first team squad as he sees fit, even though he’s doing a fairly poor job of it in the last 6 months, and if Clarke wasn’t in his plans then so be it. Ringing him afterwards was a decent thing to do as was Quinn’s offer to pay up the full length of his contract so some of Clarke’s comments appear a bit out of turn. That said I wish him all the best and hope he can resume his career as is his aim.