Cooney and Black

If Keane wanted a top-flight career in management, he should have been paying more attention to Fergie rather than trying to belittle him by calling him a “f****** prick”

Roy Keane


THE picture of the ultimate warrior appeared this week. Roy Keane’s bearded physog – eyes kinda reminiscent of two urine holes in the snow – contained a fear factor of ten. Bullies enjoy intimidating people, so I imagine Keane derived quite a bit of pleasure from his new look.

Forget for a moment, if you can, the new look – and concentrate on his new book. It’s out on sale today. Now, many will have read the explosive newspaper extracts from The Second Half. As far as I’m concerned, they will stay extracts. Having avoided the first book, I probably won’t read the second, either.

When I heard it was coming out, I thought: “No doubt it should be entitled: Everyone’s a Prick – Part Two”. I wasn’t too far from the mark. Sir Alex Ferguson has been slaughtered (apparently for having the nerve to axe him from Manchester United). He’s a “f****** prick!” remembers Keane.

Then it was Celtic’s turn. The offer they allegedly made to him to manage them, before the advent of Ronny Deila, was away below his worth, he claims. This coming from someone whose managerial skills were so wonderful that he’d been sacked by both Sunderland and Ipswich.

In the cruellest cut of all, he revealed he was pleased his former player, Clive Clarke, had a heart attack when he was out on loan because it took the pressure off a Sunderland defeat.

Just to top off a week of verbal mayhem, Keane appeared at his Dublin book launch yesterday still in charge of the shotgun and cartridges. He called Jose Mourinho a “disgrace“ for attempting to shake hands with the Aston Villa management team before the end of Chelsea’s recent 3-0 win, “He’d get knocked out if he tried that on a Sunday morning.”

So, what do we make of all this? You wonder, amid all the bile and bitterness, if is there a compassionate side to him? From what you see and what you read, I don’t think there is. Listen, in my estimation, he wouldn’t have a good word for Santa Claus.

Today, I’m concentrating on the Manchester United situation. Now, I know I’ve been critical of Fergie on this website in the past, but in my opinion, he managed Keane perfectly during the Irishman’s time at Old Trafford.

Fergie knew what he wanted him to do and gave him enough rope to do it. They were successful on all fronts, with Keane managing to keep the engine room boiling. Fergie must have thought: “This is productive for us. There’s enough meat on the bone to be able to put up with the s*** I get from you.”

When it came to the end of the lollipop, though, Fergie decides that Keane no longer has the legs and that performances were suffering, and so he says to himself: “I’m not having that kind of nonsense around me.” He cut him off at the knees.

Nonsense? You would have thought that Keane’s drive, determination and desire would have been kept at Manchester United, be it in coaching or behind the scenes. But that decision to bin him would have been made early on.

Keane wasn’t a proper fit for further employment. Fergie used him – and you could probably say abused him – but that’s what was on offer and that’s what he brought to the table for them. They paid him handsomely over the years, but there was never going to be a long-term relationship with either Fergie or the club because of his attitude and the way he behaved on a day-to-day basis.

Many wonder whether Fergie was intimidated by Keane. I wouldn’t have thought so. Look, when he was at Aberdeen, butting heads with all the big clubs, Fergie was a real growler, and I’ll tell you what: you wouldn’t have wanted to offer him the car park solution.

If you did, he’d have had his jaickit off quicker than you would. He refined it to a certain degree when he moved south, but even then he would have quite happily accommodated you round the back of the bike shed.

Hey, they say the bully always picks on the weakest person in the dressing room. Fergie was different. He was ruffling the feathers of the likes of Jaap Stam, who was the kind of guy you didn’t want to meet in a dark alleyway.

No, I don’t think Sir Alex would have been overwhelmed by his physical presence. But that presence would deter a few folk, I’ve no doubt.

I must say I was surprised when Keane went to Villa as assistant manger to Paul Lambert. I’m confused with that. The way he goes about his business you’d think he’d never want to be second in line. What it does do is say a lot about Lambert’s ego.

And yet the thing that really surprised me about the move was that the previous guys (Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa) who worked with Lambert were thrown out for allegedly bullying people. What did Lambert do? He didn’t bring in Dale Winton – it was Roy Keane.

I’m also surprised no newspaper seemed to pick that up and run with it. But, at the end of the day, the conclusion is that Keane is a very, very complex man and so he ends up in very, very complex situations.

But the older I get in life, the less I like bullies. I can’t say I like Roy Keane, or his attitude. Not that he’ll let that bother him.

The thing is he really missed out. Big time. If he wanted to have a top-flight career in management, he really should have paid more attention to Fergie.

He should have taken more notice of how the man did it – rather than trying to belittle him by calling him a “f****** prick.”



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