Is Roy Keane the real deal?

by Dexy Longshot

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Roy Keane, a born winner

We all know that Keano was a winner as a player, although his full name of Roy Maurice Keane suggest otherwise.

The Black Cats have been the classic yo-yo club over the past few seasons, but after keeping them up with points to spare, we ask, is Roy Keane the real deal?

I’ll start with this little snippet about the man, I read an interesting George Caulkin article a few months back the in The Times regarding Roy Keane, and I quote:

“April 2002 and Manchester United have just lost to Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals of the Champions League. “Afterwards in the dressing-room, I looked around,” Roy Keane would later write in his autobiography. “Rolex watches, garages full of cars, f***ing mansions, set for life, forgot about the game, lost the hunger that got you the Rolex, the cars, the mansion.” April 2008 and Sunderland have just lost to Manchester City at the Stadium of Light. “Maybe we should have had an open-top bus last weekend because everyone was getting carried away by three victories,” Keane said. “Arsenal went 50 games unbeaten at one stage, remember. People took their eye off the ball this week – everybody at the club.” Times, places and expectations change, but Keane’s quest for excellence remains undimmed. Sunderland are not United and hoarding trophies has been exchanged for avoiding relegation, yet the Irishman remains hypersensitive to the slightest dip in standards”


Too right, George, you hit it bang on the nail with that piece son, Keano is nothing short of the new Brian Clough and if I were ever to be playing under him, I’d be bricking my whack in coming into training every day. We all know that on the pitch, Roy was simply the dags ballacks in his position, his performance for The Mancs against Juventus in 99 was one of the finest ever seen in a Reds shirt. He was the heartbeat of that team, the leader, a captain whose zero-tolerance attitude to failure was a throw-back to days of Bryan Robson before him and Gerrard of today, covering every blade of grass, getting in important tackles against the worlds best and scoring crucial goals. At the time, his midfield pairing with Scholes along with Giggsy and Becks on the flanks was probably the best the Premiership has seen, winning Keano bucket loads of trophies in his 12 years at Old Trafford.

After a brief spell at his beloved Celtic north of the border, Keano made the short trip back to Wearside taking over the reins at Sunderland in his 1st managerial position. He took the lowly Black Cats from the bottom 3 of the Championship to winning the title in his 1st season. For me, it was no surprise that he has made the transition and kept them in the Premier League too. He was tutored by the greatest boss never to manage England, Brian Clough and then continued his career with Fergie with a sideline job for Ireland under big no nonsense Jack Charlton and latterly with nonsense Mick McCarthy. Keane like his 1st manager was a sticker for excellence and when he felt the preparation & organization for Irelands 2002 World Cup campaign was not up to par, he made himself heard criticizing the Republics FA, Mick McCarthy and then quitting midway through the tournament. Ireland were eventually knocked out by Spain cruelly on Penalties just like Southgate in 96, Ian Harte being the fall guy when he missed a penalty in the 2nd half. What could have been for that Ireland side if Roy Keane had bitten his lip, got his head down, stayed in the squad and continued with Duff in his prime & Robbie Keane smashing in the goals, if only.

At the time, I was gutted, I’ve got some Irish in my blood and from Roys own Cork as well, I was amazed he had the guts to come out and do what he did but, now, older and wiser, I see his point. That took a lot of bottle and Roy has got more than the milkman.Keano took the Mick

So, onto his brief time at Sunderland, swapping winning trophies with the Mancs, to winning the league in the Championship to fighting relegation. I knew his team would survive the drop though. One thing Keane will have this summer is dosh. Like last season when Sunderland spent a massive 40m on transfers, (the 8th most in Europe) more money will be provided for Keane to invest in quality. The problem he may face though is attracting big names to the Stadium of Light. It will have to be the right players for Keano with the same fighting qualities and discipline he so admires.

The main players that have performed for him last season for me were the very under rated Kenwyne Jones up front and Craig Gordon at the back. Jones a buy from Southampton was a revelation in the strikers role for the Black Cats drawing comparisons to the Drog, praise indeed! His work rate, physique and aerial ability in the box make him a nightmare for defenders to keep tabs on, although he will miss the start of the season Keano will be doing all he can to keep his mitts on the Trinidad target man.

In goal, Craig Gordon arrived for a staggering 9m from Hearts. He was voted Scottish Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year in 2006 it appears it was lolly well spunked on the Scotland International who has turned in some match winning performances in his debut season at Sunderland. I firmly believe the Black Cats would be at least 5 points lighter if it wasn’t for him, he is the real deal and will be a big asset for the jocks with the world cup qualifiers coming up in autumn.Black Cats

England fringer Kieron started promisingly with his speed, eye for goals and set play ability. Then it all went a bit Pete when he picked up a nasty injury ruling him out for most of the season. Hopefully, the huge fan base at The Stadium Of Light will see the best of him next season, he is another potential match-winner.

Jonny Evans returned to Sunderland (after being loaned out by Man U & helping Roy win promotion in 2007 and later recalled by Fergie) after all the publicity of Manchester Uniteds ill-fated xmas party, where Jonny was accused of having his wicked way with some Unwilling participant, mmmm what do you think? I believe all charges have since been dropped since and Jonny has played in The Sunderland defence with some Panache, how long before Fergie calls him back to Manchester is another question? Keane will miss him and will need a decent replacement at the back if Jonny comes on home.

Keano has a big future and I can see him up there fighting with Ince in the coming years for the top job at Old Trafford.

I’m sure Cloughy will be looking down on his Irish Protégé as well with an immense sense of pride. Keano! Keano! Keano!!!!

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  • Darren

    Probably the toughest player the premier league has even r seen. I used to love Vieira v Keane, that look they gave each other in the tunnel before kick off. As much as i think he’s a complete arshole, you had to respect him. The man is winner, hates to lose, is driven, I fully expect to see him take over at United in 2 or 3 years, Fergi’s nose would have fallen off by then so Keane would fit the bill.

    He has done well to keep Sunderland up, however, I would have to question his buys in the transfer market, Sunderland are the 8th biggest spenders in Europe this season, he has bought some absolute poo, so bad in fact that I don’t even know their names. I’m sure Mr Quinn is scared to question him. Still, he will say ‘Read the f**king papers’, we stayed up, ‘so get f**ked” no doubt.

  • Matt Quinn

    How much has Keane spent to narrowly avoid relegation? Probably more than the rest of the bottom half of the league. Some very average players bought. I think his scouting policy is poor too. Either ex Man Utd or Irish players as far as i can see. He needs to show more than a few quips in the papers to impress me with his managerial skills.

  • Matt Quinn

    PS. As much as i liked Keane as a player… his limitations were properly shown up by the Prince of Madrid, an a true class act. Fernando Redondo. Keane ran a mile to get away from him.

  • Darren

    I agree, however he will argue that his predecessor and best mate Mick McCarthy took Sunderland down with the record low points total, (Derby can still beat this tally if they win their 3 remaining games of course).

    So being the stubborn person he is, he will say job done. Lets build on this. I think next season he has to be judged. No doubt he will spend another 40 m on crap has been, but lets see. Bringing them up was a great achievement considering the crap job Quinny did.

    For the record, Craig Gordon was dropped half way through the season due to his poor form.

  • Stevie

    Keano will be a legend, just watch out. He is a winner, he will be United manager within 3 years. FACT.

  • Stevie

    correction, Keano will be a double legend!!!

  • tippo

    The black cats just survived last season and lets see what they do this time. I think that will be a better measure.

  • Darren

    I used to sulk all weekend when my Saturday league team lost, I would loved to see whet Keano does, some people just hate losing and he is one of them.

    Keano is the anti fancy Dan, no nonsense old school manager, just like his hero Mr Cloughie. I can see Sunderland pushing on and fishing mid table, they may need to spend (waste) another 40 million on players but Keano is top draw. Half way through the season I was unsure but after keeping them up with games to spare you have to give him tons of credit.

  • Danny Brothers

    You really wouldn’t want to step out of line under Keane would you? You can see the fear in his players’ eyes if they make a mistake and they can tell they’re in for a right rolliking when they get into the changing rooms.

    Keane seems to be able to get the best form his players though and must now push on this season if he’s to establish himself as a top manager.

  • niall quinn

    keano keano keano

  • dale

    kenwyn jones 6 million quid
    craig gordon 9 miilion quid
    keiron richardson 5.5 million quid
    phil bardsley 2 million quid
    andy reid 4 million quid
    all very good signings, and all under the age of 25 shows the type of player he went for for a total of 26.5 million quid ish.
    greg halford 3.5 million quid
    paul mcshane 1.5 million quid
    dickson etuhu 1.5 million quid
    danny higginbotham 2.5 million quid
    michael chopra 5.5 million quid
    russel anderson 1 million quid
    rade prica 2.5 million quid
    these are his failled signings which total 17 million quid ish, and most of them aren’t that bad but chops price is probs a bit over the top and pricas defo is.

    even if he wasted 17 million quid it was still 40 million well spent as it kept us in the league and everyone seems to forget about the quality he’s managed to bring in such as jones, gordon, richardson, bardsley and reid who are all very good players.

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