Roy Keane and The Tractor Boys

by Ashleigh Rose

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Out of the Blue

Roy Keane and Ipswich eh? Now there’s a pairing I didn’t see coming. It was a strange time to get rid of a manager in the first place. I can’t think of many managers that have lost their job two games from the end of the season and coming off the back of a thrilling win over your local rivals. I know the Town board and local media have been disappointed in Jim Magilton’s progress, but at least give the man until the end of the season, and to say thanks but its time for a change. Especially for Jim Magilton who has given a lot for Ipswich as both player and manager.

So it’s now the beginning of the Roy Keane era at Portman Road but I’m undecided if this is a good move for either club or manager. It’s certainly a bold move by Marcus Evans and the Ipswich board, and given the quickness of the appointment its one they have been discussing long before Magilton’s P45. Keane is a big name in European football and with no disrespect to previous Ipswich managers, probably the most high profile gaffer Town have ever had in charge. A name that everyone at Ipswich will hope attracts players to Portman Road, that wouldn’t normally be interested. Keane also brings with him an impressive CV, boasting a promotion at his only season at this level with Sunderland and then keeping them up in the Premier League the following campaign. However this was through a huge injection of money, £40 million to be exact, so Ipswich better be prepared to back their manager – especially as he only has two games to asses a squad that has sixteen players out of contract by the end of the season. There must be concern also over comments by Sunderland players after Keane’s exit that he was horrible to work with and left all the coaching and tactics to his staff. And after all, fear factor will only get you so far as a manager.

As for Keane himself, he clearly has a point to prove. He got somewhat disillusioned at the direction the board were taking at Sunderland after the appointment of majority shareholder Ellis Short, and has stated on numerous occasions his desire to get back into management. Few would have expected that return to come at Portman Road, but it’s a show of his determination that he’s ready to build a club up again and push for promotion. I think Keane feels he is not yet recognised as a proven Premier League manager and relishes the challenge of getting Ipswich up and staying there.

What he will face next season is a possibly the strongest Championship for many a season, certainly stronger then the one he won with Sunderland. Reading, Sheffield United, Cardiff and Burnley could still be in this league next season and would have strengthened over the summer. Add to that West Brom, probably Middlesbrough and whoever else is relegated from the Premier League. Then Leicester who will be backed by Milan Manderic to continue their progress and the likes of QPR, Derby means Keane will have his work cut out. Whatever the result though, it’s set to be an interesting season down at Portman Road next season.

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  • stevie

    it was a bit of a surprise waking up to Talk Sport who had some else other than licking Man Uniteds ars to talk about!

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