Cork City, 10 August 1971 Roy Maurice Keane entered this world. My mother used to tell me the nurse checked my head for 666. She was joking I think. Johnston says there must be something in it. 6 for Rockmount, 6 for Forest and 6 for Ireland. 666. And I was a Red Devil. My 50th birthday is today. Fifty! Theresa wants to hold a party and has invited some friends around. I don’t like parties. People smiling, having fun. Nonsense. ‘Come on Roy lighten up!’ Theresa encourages. Ok. Maybe it won’t be so bad. I’ll get through it I tell myself.
The party starts at 7pm. Theresa has balloons up, laid on a big spread and is generally in a great mood. I’m in my room playing darts on my Alex Ferguson dartboard when she comes in to tell me to get showered and ready as everyone will be here soon. I trudge off into the shower. I scrub the armpits with the Brillo pads and Ajax. Theresa hands me a T shirt with a yellow smiley face with the caption ‘Don’t worry! Be happy!’ on it. ”Wear this at the party Roy it will be great!” I give her a death stare.
I walk out into the garden and she has fairy lights up and the pool area is decorated with balloons and bunting and party hats. I roll my eyes.
Tony Loughlin is the first to arrive. And the last. Theresa said she posted out loads of invitations. I thought Micah would have at least come. Coward. Theresa says ”they’ve let me down Roy”. ‘Who’s they?’ I wondered. There’s food for about 50 guests and only one turned up. Triggs will be well fed tonight I thought. But there’s a surprise guest. Theresa has hired a DJ. Here is this muppet arriving with decks and flashing lights. ‘My God! Now you’re in trouble’ I thought. First song is Dancing Queen. I tell the clown his services are no longer required and tell him to piss off. Theresa apologises for her husband as he packs up and hands him £500 in notes. Christ! I didn’t get that much a week at Forest! When I wanted more Brian Clough told me I was a greedy child.
Tony, me and Theresa are sitting around the pool in silence now. The perfect way to spend my birthday. Theresa tells me to smile and have fun. ”You’re 50 for God’s sake! Celebrate!”
Celebrate what? I say. ”Get excited when you’re 100. I’m only 50. Do me a favour.”
Tony agrees with me. Nothing to celebrate. Getting to 100 maybe. MAYBE. I don’t celebrate failure. The job is only halfway done.
Theresa looks a bit deflated as she empties the food into black plastic bags as she cleans up. Not sure why. ”Went well I thought” I say as I feed the cocktail sausages to Triggs. She gives me a death stare.
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