Roy Keane - Sky Sports Pundit

Just thought I’d start a thread along the lines of the Bryan Robson one

No, this is a shit stirring thread http://www.thefreekick.com/vbforum/images/icons/icon10.gif. Roy Keane was by no means an average player.

overrated / average…it’s all the same Flano

Overrated? How so?

Do I need to list his accomplishments to blow this argument out of the water?

The man is a stone cold legend.

Keane was one of the top 5 players in the world for ten years. As a manager he is getting better. Slated him earlier in the season but I think that once they stay up he will have a good foundation for next season to build on.

I’d agree with most of that Shan. He was a magnificent player, arguing otherwise is nonsense.

His management has suffered from being so high profile - he’s either excellent or woeful in everyone’s eyes when the truth is somewhere in between.

On the positive front he did superbly last season and was comfortably able to get Sunderland into one of the top teams in the Championship. He also has them playing decent football and they’re definitely improving.

Where he has been shocking is the transfer market.

I think Keane has realised that McShane shouldnt start games and since Bardsley and Evans have came in they have started to keep clean sheets.

Bardsley and Evans, who did they play for Shan?

Well the United reserves for the most part. Sunderland paying over the odds for United players is fine by me. Richardson wasnt worth half the price Keane paid for him.

[quote=“therock67”]I’d agree with most of that Shan. He was a magnificent player, arguing otherwise is nonsense.

His management has suffered from being so high profile - he’s either excellent or woeful in everyone’s eyes when the truth is somewhere in between.

On the positive front he did superbly last season and was comfortably able to get Sunderland into one of the top teams in the Championship. He also has them playing decent football and they’re definitely improving.

Where he has been shocking is the transfer market.[/quote]

I agree with that. A truly fantastic player, the likes of whom only come around once in a while.

Transfer record is appalling. United players, Irish players and a few players he thought were alright from the SPL and Championship. That’s all he knows.

I think part of that is due to the fact that he doesn’t trust the judgement of too many other people. But that has to change in management. He needs a decent scouting network and he needs to have faith in the recommendations of others. To be fair the signing of Prica probably suggests he’s moving along the right road.

Humphries interview with Keane from today’s Irish Times:

United still feel the sting of Roy’s venom

TOM HUMPHRIES talks to the Corkman who, given his past experiences as a player and his recent experience as manager, believes there is something to be learned after every disaster

LIFE IN the middle lane. He’s not used to it. He notices though that everyone adapts a little quicker than he does. He’s always conscious of the fast lane. Maybe he just thinks too much.

They call him boss or they call him gaffer. That was the hardest thing to get used to. He can’t describe the embarrassment. He expected it on the training ground but, listen, the girls in the office? The grey-beard scouts who are half a lifetime older than him? Men who had been at the club forever?

“Morning boss. Hello gaffer!” “How’s the form?” he would reply and he would be cringing. Boss! But he expected it on the playing pitch. He needed the distance. Another problem. Another embarrassment. One of his old team-mates, somebody he had played with kept calling him Roy. Red faced that he had to say it. I’m not Roy anymore.

The player hadn’t even realised it. Roy was Roy after all, not a man whose tail you would tug lightly. It was embarrassing to have to pull him but it looked like there were different rules for friends.

His old friend, Tony Loughlin, came on board from Leicester. Just started calling him boss except in family situations where he became Roy again. Tony found it easier than Roy did. Tough to get used to your friends calling you boss. He’s sure though that they call him worse when he’s not around.

He moved house too, but not up to Sunderland or Durham as planned. Stayed in Manchester but moved to a cul de sac. His old house had become a tourist attraction, especially for Irish people cruising past for drive-by snoopings. One day he saw an old friend, a lad he had known for a long, long time, stopping outside with a TV crew. Enough.

They moved to somewhere quieter with no through traffic and great walks for the dog. The kids are getting older too, more independent. He had them in Barcelona for a few days last week and now their affections are half Barca, half Sunderland. His family remain his escape but things change.

They have more interest now that they are older and he is a manager. They never bothered with his business as a player. Now they read the results.

“They don’t go to many games but they know that when they go they have more responsibility to me. Every week they know the result before I get home. You won. You lost. And they’ll adapt to the results! I think it’s because as a player most weeks we won! Now they are looking and figuring out that Sunderland only get one win on average, every seven or eight games! They are saying let it be today, let it be today.”
Defeat he still rages against. New name. Boss or gaffer. Same old Roy.

He hits town on the day that Bertie dematerialises. For a moment there is confusion concerning the natural hierarchy of celebrity in our crazy world. Roy Keane is here working again on behalf of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Will Bertie’s vanishing act make Roy disappear from media consciousness for a day? The PR people are perplexed.

The world isn’t ordered this way. Take Bertie and Roy. It was Bertie after all who could be found six years ago at Dublin airport as Roy left for the World Cup, Bertie bent over the footballer in a posture of supplication, Roy’s gaze hardly shifting from the floor.

This morning though there is the usual media scrimmage. Roy is box office for eternity and the sight of it re-caffeinates the PR people and restores their faith in humankind.
Roy Keane, for all his defiant disavowals of celebrity and it’s gaudy trappings, moves through the world attracting attention without even trying. A magnet to which us media filing are drawn helplessly.

At one stage he is ushered into a room full of suits, where his remarks, quiet and humorously baleful, draw uproarious and appreciative laughter. When Roy is done, Ken Doherty, who used to be world snooker champion, leaves without being detained by any of the schoolboys outside. An hour later in the same room Dublin footballers Barry Cahill and Alan Brogan arrive in to present Keane with a signed jersey. They come as fans not as equals. Roy Keane has that effect.

His first season as a Premier League manager is drawing to a close and the report card looks like being a satisfactory one. Sunderland should survive. For a club whose previous experiences of the Premier League have generally been the starting point for bungee jumps towards oblivion that is enough. Survival is not ensured but he feels comfortable enough to talk about changing the culture of the club he runs.

Things are changing with him anyway. Sunderland has infected him. For instance he pays some attention now to the wisdom of crowds. A few weeks ago against Everton in the Black Cats’ own backyard he heard a voice behind him having a pop. He swivelled around and caught the end of the it. “Playing for 75 minutes with one up front and it isn’t effin working ya . . .” His face darkened and then.

“Do you know what? He was spot on. We had five in the middle and one up front and it wasn’t working. It’s like that. He was right. I don’t always agree but a lot of time fans are spot on. Sometimes we get nasty letters. Sue in the office, well I don’t think she shows me many, just the odd one when she thinks I should know what is going on. She gave me one last week. This man was having a go at the way we played (pause). So I rang him up.”

At this point he allows a moment for you to picture the stricken features of the poor soul who hastily committed his frustrations to the vellum and sent them off confident perhaps that Sue in the office would either include the epistle in the bundle for the days shredding or hand it over in a sheaf heavy with disgruntlement. And here now was Roy Keane on the other end of the telephone. The thump, thump, thump of that vein in his temple audible down the line. And?

“Ah, we had a chat. I said to him I knew what he was saying but it isn’t time yet. In a few years hopefully we will have five maybe six players capable of getting forward but for now we have to survive. We need to play the way we do to stay in the division. Not to be a yo-yo club.”

The wisdom of crowds. He reckons that possibly back at the starting gate to this season he was more romantic than the club he manages. His career path had been different after all and he isn’t a sing-along type of guy.

There were things, however, Sunderland fans understood that their manager couldn’t. “I would never at the start of the year talked about survival or dogfights but the supporters were using those terms all the time. Maybe it took till we lost to Everton and United to realise for now we aren’t going to go 4-4-2 against United and surprise them.”
He spoke to people after Sunderland got promoted last year and the theme was the same. He was to expect three to four good thumpings in his first year up. He lists three traumas.

Everton away. Lost 7-1.
Manchester United at home. Lost 4-0.
Wigan in the cup. Lost 3-0.

"So that’s three, Wigan, United and Everton.

And what about Luton in the League Cup, you suggest timidly.

“Luton! That’s my four! Thank God! That game we made one or two changes but that was the same night Clive Clarke had the heart attack at Leicester. It was bad but there was perspective.”

Three questions arise instantly here.

One: Which of the four was the hardest to stomach?

Two: Clive Clarke, that’s the same guy who announced that he found your rantings and ravings unhelpful?

Three: Have you noticed how often you mention God?

Those Friday morning press conferences seem to give Him a weekly mention? You don’t want to delve too deep into the traumas. Clive Clarke could be the blue-touch paper for an outburst. You get God warmed up on the sidelines. He (Roy Keane that is) laughs.
“Ah I’d be very careful there,” he says. "I’m not a big Jesus type or anything. You have to think though. If you were to tell me two years ago that I would have left United gone to Celtic and then become manager of Sunderland with the people who are in charge of Sunderland, I would have said no, no way.

“I’m in the habit alright of saying, please God or referring to the ‘man above’ but I wouldn’t like anybody to think that it’s a whole new leaf turned over and that I am. I notice myself that it has changed a bit since I was manager but I’m just the typical Irish catholic really, nothing very holy. I believe though, especially as a manager, now that I can’t influence things on the pitch so much, that something must influence things!”
Which lets us hopscotch back to question one. So when you are 7-1 down to Everton, do you feel like the man above is having a laugh? “Well I can’t blame the man upstairs for Everton. I blame myself. That was one of the days as a manager when I was very naive. We played very open football. It’s about learning. We were actually open, very good on the eye, had maybe more possession but we lost 7-1! That day I got it wrong. I should have swallowed my pride.”

He recalls the game. There was a period when Sunderland were losing three- or four-one and he knew perhaps he should change things and cut his losses. The pride, that quality of which he has been both benefactor and victim, told him to stick with it, to keep having a go.

He knows now that there is a big difference between losing by three or four and not seven especially at this stage of the season with goal difference. He can hardly bring himself to say it but in future he would take a 4-1 defeat, thanks.

He came out after Goodison and he took the blame. The players needed guidance for a couple of days and he wore the sackcloth and ashes. It isn’t always so. Last week at West Ham for instance, seeking an almost unprecedented back-to-back win series in the Premier League they were torpid in the first half.

“Sometimes we let the players get their drinks and settle down in the dressingroom at half-time before we go in and talk things through. Last week though I was in there straight away. It wasn’t good enough.”

He talks on about the bad days this season. The League Cup to Luton. 3-0. Not good. Losing 4-0 at home to United. Hurt a bit but United were very good. You ask if it hurt because it was United. He brushes it aside. He feels no affinity with his old clubs, he says. He is Sunderland.

The worst night was Wigan at home in the FA Cup. Kenwyne Jones was injured. Roy says himself that he hadn’t been clever enough to use a rotation system. Sunderland were weakened but so too were Wigan, Wigan missed a chance at the end to make it 4-0.

"I didn’t leave the house for three or four days afterwards. Just stayed in stewing. When I came back up I didn’t come into work till the Friday. I recharged the batteries, licked my wounds. I was trying to clear the head. It creeps back in.

“That’s the way I am. There is a downside to it. I was critical of other players but 100 times worse on myself. I had to sit with that. Even walking the dog wasn’t doing it. You have to stew with it sometimes. I learned a lot about certain players that day. I found out how far we are behind in terms of strength of squad. Certain players came up well short against a weakened Wigan team. After every disaster there is something you can learn.”

Of the team that played against Wigan Graham Kavanagh and Andy Cole soon went out on loan. David Connolly hasn’t played a game since and Martin Waghorn has played just once. It has been that sort of season. Wisdom and gain have been squeezed out the hard way, clawed incrementally from the rock face of the Premier League.

People point out Sunderland spent 40.3 million (€51.3 million). There is an answer to that but less value attached to the answer. The way Sunderland spent their money, the way they had to spend it, is illustrative of the Premier League’s declining value system. Money isn’t enough. Shed loads of it would help but mere money buys very little.

“Michael Chopra cost 5 million (€6.4 million) and scored four goals. Kenwyne Jones scored six goals and cost 6 million (€7.6 million). Anthony Stokes, an early signing, at 2 million (€2.6 million) scored two goals. United won the league and spent 50 million (€63.6 million),” he says.

That’s the world in the fast lane.

United. It’s a surprise to hear him say he feels no affinity with any of his former professional clubs. Everything is changing though. He goes to clubs now as a manager where he remembers being booed, and fighting tooth and nail with the locals and hating the sight of their jerseys and they are wonderfully courteous and friendly to him. Good people. Arsenal couldn’t be more decent. Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice. Rafa. Great. David Moyes. Excellent. He spent some time with Martin O’Neill after the Villa game and he could have sat listening to him all night. Everywhere he goes he soaks things up, looks for evidence of values and the right way to do things.

And affinity? It is with Rockmount AFC. Where he was made. The lads come over regularly. A couple of his old mates manage the team now and they talk about the old days and management. They were all over for the Villa game. Len Downey and Damien Martin are coming over for Middlesbrough.

The older he gets and the more he sees, the greater his appreciation of the innocence and the loyalties he saw at Rockmount. He went to Rockmount when he was eight and stayed till he was 16 or 17. That he believes now is what football is all about . He has seen the business side of the game and people suddenly begrudging you when you cease to be of use.

It still hurts. Forest tried to milk him for money he was owed when he was sold to Manchester United. The postscript to his playing career at Celtic was a mistake he feels. United still feel the sting of his venom. Their betrayal still hurts.

Having statements ready like United when you have served a certain amount of time for them and they don’t even get the years you were there right in the statement. You think “Ah well, there you go”.

"The day I left United, in hindsight, I should have stopped playing really. I lost the love of the game that Friday morning. I thought football is cruel, life is cruel. It takes two to tango also. I am fully responsible for my own actions but some things are wrong. I left on a Friday and they told me certain things before I left that day. I was told the following week I couldn’t sign for another club. I had been led to believe I could. There were certain things I was told at certain meetings that were basic lies.

"That was part of the exit plans, I am convinced. Especially with my pride, I wasn’t going to accept that. They had a statement prepared and they were thanking me for 11 and a half years of service. I had to remind the manager and (Manchester United chief executive) David Gill I had been there 12 and a half years. I think that might have been part of the plan. Then financial stuff was mentioned. I was thinking, my God. I am happy to leave. I won’t go down that road. A week later they announced 70 or 80 million profit after telling me I hadn’t played for six weeks and so they weren’t prepared to do this and that. I told David Gill I had broken my foot playing for Manchester United against Liverpool. Pretty sad.

“I look back and think I should have said this and I should have said that. It is like Mick McCarthy at the World Cup. I always think when he said if you don’t have respect for me you can’t play for me, I should have said to him what I felt. I am not playing for you I am playing for Ireland. It is easy to be wise afterwards.”

He talks for a long time about loyalty. Its meaning in his life. United hurts and Saipan hurts. They were times when he expected some loyalty back but he realises now when you outlive your usefulness to some people loyalty is too much to expect.

He is mellowing a little. Clive Clarke, the Dubliner who was having a heart attack at Leicester on the night Sunderland lost to Wigan in the cup, has described Keane as ranting and raving like Lear on the heath, a piece of loose talk which might have cost others more dearly. He muses.

"Clive? That was strange, he only ever played one or two games with me. There was no ranting and raving. That is frustrating when a player is second guessing a bit but I would have been a lot more concerned if it was Yorkie (Dwight Yorke) or Grant Leadbitter who had been involved in every game. In defence of Clive there was a lot of frustration. He hadn’t been well. He had been out on loan. When I got the job he was coming back from injury.

“That’s it?”

He laughs and concedes the matter of his diminished temper is something he is reminded of often. There is a watch on. KeanoWatch. They study the volcano waiting for the lava to spill. "They are waiting for that. There was an incident about three months ago. We’d had a bad run six, seven or eight games without a win. They all turned up at the Friday morning press conference believing there was something going to happen. A lot of the questions were ‘was I going to stick it’.

“Their experience was suggesting I would throw the head somewhere. I haven’t been near to an explosion. I don’t feel it coming around the corner.”

He concedes this isn’t quite the case. The difference is though Keane the player and Keane the manager. About six weeks ago one Friday morning at the training ground a player took a knock before the end-of-session five-a-side. The manager stepped in to play. The manager’s team lost the game. The manager was unbelievably upset and frustrated.

"It was unfair on the players. I had made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t join in. This day I did join in. I got so frustrated and angry that we lost. The next day my hip was pretty sore from the twisting and turning. That was my punishment.

"If anything I embarrassed myself a little bit. Not just upset. I was absolutely fuming. I walked off the training pitch like we’d just lost a cup final. I’ve always been like that. It is fine being like that as a player. You can’t do it as a manager.

"I am aware other managers have joined in. Graeme Souness ended up in a fight in a training game. In a sense I could see that happening. We were in Spain training the other day, they said will you join in. I said, ‘ah no thanks’. I learned the hard way. Yorkie and one or two knew what I am like. It was strange for the lads to see me so upset.
“I’m sure they were taking the p*** behind my back. I know players. I’m sure they ripped me to bits in the dressingroom. I always say I’m fine as long as I don’t know about it! When a manager does something outside the norm the dressingroom is going to take the p*** out of him.”

When the Rockmount lads come over they take the p*** out of him as only friends can about his ways and his intensity. He loves it but there is a bottom line. He was always desperate. Lads like Len and Damien, they had more talent but he says to them they never wanted it like he wanted it. Not madly. Not obsessively. Not a desperation. That need drove his competitiveness and it is that he hopes to place at the soul of Sunderland. Next year he will spend the same money but on fewer players, better players.

Meanwhile the culture is changing in the club. He makes sure people are treated well. He never wants anybody to leave with the mixed feelings he has about Manchester United. He has surrounded himself with a staff that mirror his own traits. Four or five close staff members each as competitive as their boss. They swim. It ends in a row. They play cards. They end up fighting. They have a day out go karting. “You think they take F1 seriously. You should see us go karting.”

His first season in the Premier League is almost over. Survival will copperfasten his reputation as perhaps the brightest young manager in the game. You would think the accumulation of medals and caps through the years would inform his management style more than anything else but in fact it is the bad days.

People ask him often about Aidan, his son, and what sort of footballer he is. Fact is Aidan has has no interest in football, he worships at the church of X Box. His father has seen the business of football and, “That’s grand. He has his own life to live. I wouldn’t be sure about football for him even if he wanted it. They are very independent, my kids though, they wouldn’t bat an eyelid either way. It wouldn’t concern me one bit if Aidan never had any interest in football. It’s dog eat dog out there. Leaving clubs, my God, that’s when you realise. This is what it is all about.”

Come the summer he is looking forward to having a lazy break somewhere. To getting away form it all. He notes that Alan Curbishley and Paul Jewell stepped back from management altogether for a while. He has often said he would like to take a year out to travel.

“I am more than capable of stepping back for a year or two. I spoke about travelling a few times. I thought to myself not long ago, I never did enough travelling and then I thought some more and said, ‘hey I really don’t like travelling that much’. I flew back from Dublin last night. That was long enough for me!”

In June he travels to New Zealand to finish his pro-licence. Part of the module requirements are spending time with another sport. Keane got in touch with a friend, who got in touch with the All Blacks. He will spend three or four days with the All Blacks and their backroom team as they prepare for their Test against Ireland. If Roy Keane wanted to play to half-time for the All Blacks it is conceivable they could accommodate the request. In the meantime he will modestly make the most of what he sees without pushing it.

“What level of involvement I can have, just watching training or whatever I don’t know. I have the green light to have three or four days with them. I don’t know if I will be allowed in to any team talks. I’ll keep my head down and just watch them. Try to plug into what they are always about.”

He has long been interested in the All Black’s warrior tradition and the Haka. “If the Haka didn’t inspire you before a game what could,” he wonders. With Sunderland he tries to think outside of the box every now and then. All the courses and talks he attends, everyone speaks the jargon. He tries to be slightly different. Small things. Throw on a video of a different sport. A comedy. Anything.

Last year going for promotion everyone was getting uptight and the pressure was starting to tell. They were playing Wolves at home, a big game on the verge of the play-offs. They players were called in to their pre-game video analysis of Wolves. Instead they got that wonderful segment of Ken Loach’s 1969 movie Kes where Brian Glover plays a teacher with a Bobby Charlton fixation. They just had a good laugh together. They never mentioned Wolves once. Then they went out and won.

Year one in the Premier League is coming to an end. He has said more intelligent things and more witty things than half of the Premier League’s management suits put together. He has it seems hacked survival out of a tradition which promised disaster. And wisdom keeps filling his head. These you think are the formative experiences of a great manager.
He talks of home. How nothing there would suggest to a visitor that he ever played for Forest, or Manchester United or Celtic. Just Sunderland, you ask missing the point. “No,” he says. “You’d never know I was in football at all.”

You nod.

“Except for the mood swings!” he adds.

Jon Walters is not going to take shit from Roy:

Walters had fall-outs with Keane on several occasions during his time working under his fellow Irishman at Ipswich and in the Republic of Ireland set-up and he didn’t hold back as he summed up his relationship with the former Manchester United captain.

“What he went into, the stuff about crying on TV, I think that was something that I never expected,” stated Walters.

"I’ll tell you one thing about the man - he doesn’t get to me one bit. I’m possibly the only one that stood up to him, more than once. I think that’s what bothers him most maybe. I don’t know. You’d have to ask him that question but you might get something back.

"I said this the other day - I really don’t know why people pay attention. Why they get that worried by Roy. Because, yes, he was a good player - an unbelievable player - known as a hard man on the pitch.

"But there’s a difference between being a hard man on the pitch and being a tough guy. Just because someone has a sharp tongue or a stare, doesn’t make them a tough guy.

1 Like

Who would win a fight ? JW or RK ?

Having listened to the interview, i dont think Keane’s comments were too bad — he wasnt necessarily honing in on the family stuff, just saying let your football do the talking … of course, Keane didnt have to specifically mention the crying part either … Walters is no angel himself tho, there’s a bit of a want in him as the man says.

Walters strikes me as a lad that could handle himself.

2 Likes

Yes . By all accounts keane could too .

Stags rutting is the term favoured by rugby types I believe

Bullet points please

I’d batter Roy in a fight.