Friday, January 28, 2022

Sunderland looking good. Will Manchester United be ‘Keane’ when Fergie retires?

Sunderland’s 2-1 win at Tottenham may have surprised many in the game and was certainly an unwelcome surprise for Juande Ramos, but it most definitely won’t have shocked their manager Roy Keane.

The man who was an aggressive, petulant, moody, brilliant and occasionally downright nasty player has turned into a well behaved, well mannered, considered and potentially brilliant manager.

The quiet revolution he has overseen at the Stadium of Light is impressive indeed. The addition of real quality in the shape of Djibril Cisse, Steed Malbranque, David Healey and El Hadji-Diouf has greatly improved the side as an attacking force and the new purchase of the excellent Anton Ferdinand will considerably strengthen the defence. This additional quality has been added to a team who had already battled their way to a reasonably comfortable safe Premier League finish last season.

It may be too early to say for sure, but it would seem that Keane has managed to transform Sunderland in just two seasons from being a perennial yo-yo team between the Premiership and the Championship into being an established Premier League outfit.

Following the excellent win at White Hart Lane, Keane had Ominous words for the other clubs in the second Premier League division, those outside the top four. Whilst clearly very pleased with his charges Keane said, “The good sign is I think there’s a lot more to come from this team.”

The 1-0 defeat at home to Liverpool on the opening day of the season was a bit of a wake up call for Keane and his players. Despite matching the visitors for much of the game a late Torres strike settled the game for the visitors in the same way that so often is the case for those top four teams against the likes of Sunderland. Keane was well aware of that fact. “For all the hard work, the number of goals scored in the last 15 minutes is huge and the other 75 minutes goes out of the window. It was just one moment, that’s all we’re talking about, but that’s the beauty of the Premier League. I can’t complain, because I’ve been on the other side of it.”

He was also quick to take some of the blame himself, saying that he had not organised a tough enough pre-season and would learn from his mistakes.

Despite the well deserved reputation Keane had amongst fans of his opponents as a player he was always well respected. He is becoming a manager who it is hard not to respect and his attitude is one that you have to admire. It is really hard to reconcile the fact that the smiling, humble and philosophical man we see now is the same snarling man who so famously ended the career of Alf-Inge Haaland and threatened the career of so many others.

Keane is a winner. However he achieves what he does, he accepts nothing less than success. Niall Quinn made a very shrewd appointment when he took on the man who he had never seen eye to eye with on the international stage when Republic of Ireland team-mates. He put aside personal feelings and took a decision for the good of the club.

The two men had a very public falling out at the World Cup in 2002 when Keane fell out in spectacular style with manager Mick McCarthy and Quinn sided with his manager. Keane left the squad without playing in the tournament and Quinn seemed to lead a players committee who spoke out against what Keane had done.

It is ironic in some ways that Keane seems to have achieved at Sunderland what Mick McCarthy was never quite able to do in establishing them as a Premier League club.

Keane played much of his career under the managerial skills of Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson. Those two men are two of the most colourful managers in the history of English football and two of the most successful. Keane cannot failed to have picked up much from those two wonderful managers over the years, but his style appears to be very much his own.

Sunderland will be hoping that Keane stays with them for many years to come. Keane himself may just have his eye on an even bigger job in due course.

With Sir Alex Ferguson saying that he will retire in two years time would anyone be prepared to bet against seeing Roy Keane take over in the Old Trafford hot seat when he goes?


Graham Fisher



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tendai gakaka
tendai gakaka
13 years ago

i think roy keane is a brilliant manager.he has worked hard and his experience as player is beggining to show.i think he would be the perfect replacement when sir alex furgeson calls it quits.

Black Cat
Black Cat
13 years ago

Keane is doing a fantastic job. Certain sections of the continue to portay him as a hot head. While, he has that fierce streak, he is actually thoughtful and perceptive. He has the benefit of autonomy and the best chairman and board in the country. Sunderland has long been the biggest sleeping giant in the land and the potential is huge. He is guaranteed more funds next window and the one after. He is already talking of bringing in even better players next summer. If ,and its a big if, we can get into the mid table area, we will… Read more »

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