Sunday, 4 October 2009

Keano: from hottest prospect to journeyman inside twelve months

Roy Keane's Ipswich Town stare up at the rest after yet another defeat, 2-1 at Barnsley.
Rock bottom of the Championship: five points from safety, no league wins eleven games into the season, the board at Portman Road's jittery. A statement offering Keane their full support must be being prepared. The fans of this once-proud club will wonder if the days of Sir Alf Ramsey, Bobby Robson, Arnold Muhren and the Premier League will ever return.
Can we believe this is a team run by Keane? the fearless Irish skipper who seemingly took to management like a duck to water? the selfless Manchester United talisman who steered Sunderland from twenty-third place to the Championship earning promotion to the Premier League? the maturing realist who harnessed his big reputation and experience to attract good players to the Stadium of Light?
What's happened to Keane? the hottest managerial prospect - to Championship journeyman inside twelve months. And we thought the demise of Leeds United was fast.
Clues to his downfall are in the tabloid headlines of yesteryear. To my mind, his walkout as Black Cats boss was akin to Kevin Keegan's tantrum-sponsored resignations. Keano quit because he was in a bad mood for a fortnight.
Describing a narrow victory League Cup victory over Northampton as one of his "worst and longest nights", branding the FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner "a clown" in a row over Dwight Yorke's withdrawal from the Trinidad & Tobago squad and rambling about his future in a post-match interview at Bolton, Keane walked out on his players leaving the club in the relegation zone.
Ipswich would have gone into this appointment with their eyes open - but they only thought of the upside. He's a big name, with a fine playing pedigree, a decent start to his managerial record at the Stadium of Light, a pupil of Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson with an absolute no-compromise attitude to winning.
But he's also the Alfe-Inge Haaland career-ender, the Mick McCarthy disrespector and a man who gets out of the kitchen when he can't stand the heat.
Even fifteen months ago, Keane was talked of as a future Manchester United boss. Not now. When asked, Sir Alex Ferguson's evasive comments about Keane's managerial prospects were withering.
"Young managers come along and people say this one will be England manager or boss of this club, but two years later they're not there. It's not an easy environment to come into, I wouldn't forecast anything."
Keane's greatest moment came in a courageous semi-final appearance in the Champions League at Juventus in 1999. Knowing he was suspended for the Final, he still stood like a man mountain against the Turin side and scored a vital goal to earn United's place in the Final. Maybe, just maybe, his time will come again.

This won't be his last job in the game and indeed if the circumstances are right, you couldn't write Keano off from winning a piece of silverware with a compliant board and adoring fans as a backdrop.
But he'd make a better Shock Jock or Studio Pundit. Keane's managerial career is definitely on a yellow. 
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  1. he's turning into a House lookee likee, along with the scary stare, beard and the marginal psychosis

  2. Interesting blog Jonny. My own thoughts are that he was backed financially in a massive way at the Stadium of Light- unlike many of his predecessors- and with funds not as forthcoming at Ipswich, his lack of ability both tactically and as a motivator of players is now coming to the fore.

    Look how well the likes of Owen Coyle and Alan Irvine have done on a fraction of his resources.

    I am definitely of the opinion he will be gone by Christmas.

  3. He has lost it big walking by Xmas....

  4. The club has been on the slide for ages and needs sorting out from top to bottom. That takes time. But it's not whether the board will
    give Keane time, it's whether the fans will.

  5. They were a bit unlucky at the week-end in that they thought they had scored the winner and then Barnsley did in injury time-that's the Coca-Cola Championship for you as they say

  6. I think Keane should be given more time. It proves our club can still attract the game's biggest names - and where would we be without Keane? I can see we're in danger, but it's not time to call time on Keano

  7. At the start of this season, I came across two features on Roy Keane, both of which left me wondering whether he's a suitable personality to manage a football club, or any other group of human beings for that matter.
    The first was an article in The Mail on Sunday, which described how Keane took his Ipswich squad away for a camping weekend in pre-season.
    There's nothing wrong with that in principle; getting footballers away from their pampered lifestyles and creature comforts and making them live simply for a few days can't be a bad thing.
    Yet Keane didn't stop there. The article described how they were staying with paratroopers, and were made to tackle some gruelling assault courses. It gets worse....the next part isn't for the squeemish....
    A paratrooper brought a dead pig dripping with blood towards where the players were gathered. Keane ordered them to cook it on an open fire and eat every part of its body.
    Can somebody please tell me what on earth this has to do with team building or preparing for a long season ahead?
    Taking players away from their luxuries is one thing, making them feel uncomfortable like this is quite another.
    I also heard a radio interview with Keane when he said that he felt physically sick after losing and wouldn't eat properly for several days afterwards. A manager needs to be the person who picks things up after a defeat and sorts out the team's problems. I seriously wonder whether he's cut out for this management lark.
    From his time at Sunderland, it appears that the board found him difficult to work with when he didn't get his own way.
    All good managers know that you don't have to win every little battle with the directors, just as long as you win the really important ones. Keane doesn't have the personality to give way a little from time to time, whether its with the directors or the shortcomings of his own players.
    For all these reasons, I don't think he'll last in management.
    (I'll post on here more frequently when I finally get a phoneline to my new flat. Long story!)


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