Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Why I'm keen on Keane

Right, the Euros – like at least fifty per cent of Liverpool, I want Spain to win.
Who do I want Rafa to sign? Gareth Barry is a good start – a decent left foot in the midfield is always nice – although I don’t think his arrival should be at the expense of Xabi Alonso.
So, with those non-controversial and frankly boring issues out the way I’ll move swiftly onto a phrase I never thought I’d type – I like Roy Keane.
Not in an Elton John-David Furnish kind of way, you must understand. But I like him.
Gone is the scowling, snarling, referee-hassling, vein-busting epitome of everything I don’t like about Manchester United. That was Keane the player.
And, amazingly, in his place is a calm, considered, honest and honourable man – Keane the manager.
Do not adjust your computer screens but I’d go as far to say that he’s been a breath of fresh air in the Premiership.
Some of the things that most annoy me about the game – hypocrite managers, players that don’t give a shit, gold-digging girlfriends and ex-pros saying what they know the media want for a bag of cash – well, they annoy Keane too. And he’s not afraid to say something about it – no matter who he offends.
Take Alex Ferguson, the man who Keane was so close to during his years at Old Trafford. He’s the first to kick off on referees, the first to point out their mistakes and he’s overstepped the mark on more than one occasion.
So when he tears himself away from clocking his stopwatch to tear into other players and managers for having a go at officials, he’s got a downright cheek.
But who’s going to tell him? Well, Roy Keane did.
Taggart, in the ultimate of people in glass houses incidents, amazingly said earlier this year: “The haranguing of referees is absolutely ridiculous - we know that. It's not right. Since the situation with Andy D'Urso, we've not done anything like that.”
Now while Ferguson’s nose grew and I sat at home stroking my chin, Keane hit back.
“There's a lot of hypocrites out there in football,” he said. “You hear other managers - and I'm talking big managers - talking about respecting referees, but the same managers have been sent off for foul and abusive language. Makes me sick, some of them.”
Fergie, of course, was sent to the stands last season during Manchester United’s 1-0 away defeat to Bolton.
Keane is leading by example. He’s behaved in a dignified manner and he has told his staff at Sunderland to respect referees – something that has been drummed into the whole club, including, vitally, the youth team.
In the same press conference, Keane slated ex-players who turn rent-a-quote for a quick pay off. There’s a place for opinion of course, but when no-marks crawl out of the woodwork to have a pop at Javier Mascherano for getting sent off, something needs to be said.
Keane said it.
“You get ex-players coming out of their holes and being offered a grand to slag someone off,” he said. “They're all hypocrites. Half of these people, they cheated on their wives and yet they're slagging players off. Idiots, absolute idiots.”
On to the gold diggers - more bothered about what shops they can be seen in than where their fella earns a crust.
Keane again, bang on the mark. “These so-called big stars are people we are supposed to be looking up to. Well, they are weak and soft. If they don't want to come because their wife wants to go shopping in London, it's a sad state of affairs."
“If people want to go somewhere else to another football club then fair enough, as long as it is for a footballing reason.
"But there are players going to clubs in London simply because it is London. To me, that is wrong.
"It is not a football move, it is a lifestyle move and those are the type of people you don't want at your club. It is not a problem for me but it is a fact.
"To me, that player is weak because his wife runs his life. That happens at the big clubs as well. I could name four big players and clearly their wives and girlfriends are running their lives because they are doing these photoshoots and that kind of stuff.
"They say they are not comfortable doing it and are being dragged along. Well don't do it."
If you’re not convinced by now, what about Keane’s treatment of players? Much is said and written about player power. About how managers can’t stand up to players anymore. Keane can.
Take Liam Miller. Highly-rated. Could have proved vital in helping Sunderland stay up. But also late. Late a lot. What did Keane do? Transfer-listed him. And quite right.
Explaining this move, if he needed to, he said: “If you are driving to work don't get in the car with Liam Miller because he has more car crashes than anyone I know. It's nothing to do with him as a player or as a lad. If he is late once or twice, even three or four times, maybe well and good, but when it is five, six or seven times then you have to draw the line."
So what’s left? Well, how about hypocrite managers again. Or more accurately, spin doctor managers. You know, I didn’t see it, it was the ref’s fault, the grass was too long…etc, etc etc
Check out Keane’s answer to a journalist’s question after Sunderland were defeated 2-0 by Spurs.
His side had, by all accounts, played well. The hack even handed him an escape route on a plate, but he was having none: “That's not unlucky. That's just bad defending and people have got to take responsibility."
I like that - Arsene Wenger take note.
So, Keane for the Liverpool job? Well, I wouldn’t go that far. But he’s been asked about it. This was taken from an interview with The Observer:
'What about you, Roy? If the Liverpool job came up?'
'I'm sure the Liverpool fans would love to see me,' he says, smiling.
I can’t see it. But I couldn’t see Paul Ince at Anfield. And I couldn’t see myself writing ‘I like Roy Keane’. So what do I know?!


Anonymous said...

I like Kirky

Anonymous said...

I like Kirky too, but I do believe LFC missed the boat in the 90s by not signing Matt LeTissier and Dennis Wise for the midfield, a classic combination of silk and steel.

Anonymous said...

Keane's a proper breath of fresh air. His dig at the 'clown' at the Nigerian FA was truly inspired.
Although, I would hold back on the hypocrite lark, as things are going pretty well for ol' Roy at the mo', lets see how he handles it when the chips are down.

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