Roy Keane was one of my favourite Sunderland managers, the shock when it was announced in August 2006 that Roy Keane would be Sunderland AFC’s new manager not only took Sunderland fans by surprise but football fans in general, his 1st managerial role since hanging up his playing boots.
Let’s be honest he wasn’t exactly on the best friend terms with Niall Quinn before then. Especially after the big falling out he had when he stormed off and left the R.O.I squad during the world cup. So to see Roy want to come to Sunderland was even more of a shock, and let’s be honest Roy was never known for his shy and retiring behaviour. So it was a big risk for Niall to take in appointing Roy. Although part of me wonders if he took this opportunity to prove a point to Mick McCarthy (our previous permanent manager) after their falling out in the World Cup. You know Roy he never lets things go.
Roy or Keane’o as I like to refer to him as, brought something to the club at the time when we needed it most. Mick McCarthy had left in March of 2006 and we were relegated into the championship and in need of something stable. Keane took over and instantly his impact was noticed on the team with a run of 17 games unbeaten we went on to win the Championship title. Although Keane wouldn’t’t be Keane if he didn’t’t like to make his statement by refusing to celebrate with a tour bus saying in the press that it was a “mockery” he didn’t’t believe that Sunderland should be in that league so therefore nothing to celebrate. Loved that about him straight to the point. His press conferences were always something to look forward to, I remember sitting down one day and watching him deliver a statement which to this day I use constantly: Keane was asked about the situation regarding Berbetov wanting to leave Tottenham, to which Keane replied “If a player did not want to play for me, I know what I’d do - I’d drive him myself to wherever he wanted to go just to get rid of him!” “No player is bigger than the club” this is a very true fact.
Who remembers his outburst regarding Dwight Yorke and Jack Warner; he did have a very valid point. He had extended Yorke’s contract based upon him not playing international games when they clashed with club commitments. However Yorke took no notice of this and played an international game. He then continued to tell us all how he had rung Jack regarding the issues he had. Also advised us that “Jack must be a small man with small man syndrome” This was the man who is the Vice-President of FIFA but Keane doesn’t’t care who you are and what you do, he says what he thinks. You got to love him for that alone.
That type of attitude was same attitude he applied to the players, you could see the Brian Clough in him, he expected 100% from all players and discipline was the main thing he stuck by. Liam Miller felt the wrath of that when he was put on the transfer list for his poor time keeping and discipline. One thing he did do was bring some decent players to the Stadium of Light; Stokes, Edwards and McShane to name but a few.
Keane resigned after exactly 100 games in charge at the start of 2008/09 season, saying that his relationship with Ellis Short was uncomfortable from the start.
I don’t miss Keane as our manager and I don’t think he could’ve done anything different or more than he did, but he is a good part of our history and brought a lot to the club. Just look at the squad we have now, two of those players are in our main squad and they’re players he brought in; Richardson and Bardsley.
So yes he does play a part in our success today. Keaneo!