Not so Keane to returning to management

There is no doubt we all enjoy seeing Roy Keane appearing regularly on TV as a pundit, laying down his unique and unmistakable views on footballing matters, sharing his thoughts with passion and insight. As a player, he won everything there was to win at Manchester United, feared by rivals and loved by fans in equal measure, always driven by an individual and collective desire to achieve.

Every time Keane utters one of his pearls of wisdom these days, everyone seems to pay attention. We often see clips of him venting about modern football or how players lack sufficient desire, which are immediately shared via Twitter or Facebook, which is amusing considering his obvious distaste for social networks. This is the amusing side to Keane, much of what he says contradicts to what he does. His managerial career to date for example. The scathing pundit railing players on standards, work ethic and a winning mentality, doesn’t exactly tally with his own time as a manager.

The bookies like to have prices on the vacant managerial positions. Recently, the clear favourite to take the Sunderland post in League One was none other than Roy Keane, Thankfully, there are experts who are dedicated towards providing us with such important knowledge like the best sports betting sites. Sunderland were offering the possibility of returning to a club where he had previously enjoyed his best success as a manager.

After they had sacked Lee Johnson, following a humiliating 6-0 defeat against Bolton Wanderers, the Sunderland board approached Keane about taking the job. Talks apparently reached an advanced stage, although Keane wasn’t happy about the contract being offered. He wanted a longer deal, although Sunderland were only willing to guarantee his position until the end of the season, with the option of an extension if he won promotion from League One. Unsatisfied with those terms, Keane ultimately rejected the offer.

Back in 2006, Niall Quinn was the chairman at Sunderland. Regardless of their infamous disagreements, having taken opposite sides during the fall-out at the 2002 World Cup, Quinn and Keane had resolved their differences and were on good terms. Quinn appointed Keane as the manager of Sunderland on a three-year deal, with the team sat in the bottom three of the Championship table.

Keane swiftly turned things around and instilled a new sense of belief in the team. Despite a rocky patch early during his tenure, the Black Cats went on a spectacular 17-game unbeaten run in the second half of the 2006-07 season, eventually clinching the Championship title and automatic promotion back to the Premier League. The second season in charge saw Keane ensure Sunderland remained amongst the English elite, finishing 15th in the Premier League.

Unfortunately, following a hugely frustrating start to the 2008-09 season, despite heavy summer spending on players. By the end of November and following a poor string of results, Keane decided to resign, amidst disagreements with majority shareholder Ellis Short and sensing a lack of support from Quinn. Ricky Sbragia took charge until the end of the season, but couldn’t save Sunderland from their inevitable relegation from the Premier League.

The next foray into club management soon followed for Keane, when he was accepted the Ipswich Town post in April 2009, tasked with the challenge of getting them out of the Championship and back into the Premier League. Unable to record a single victory in their opening 14 games of the season, Keane eventually dragged his underperforming team to 15th in the table, at the conclusion of the 2009-10 campaign. The following 2010-11 season fared little better and with Ipswich near the foot of the table, Keane was fired in January 2010.

Since then, Keane hasn’t had the opportunity to redeem himself as manager of another club. He clearly enjoyed his assistant manager position with the Republic of Ireland national team, from November 2013 until November 2018 when both departed by “mutual agreement”. During that period, Keane even turned down an offer to manage Celtic, apparently content with his Irish role, asking not to be considered for the post ahead of the 2014-15 season.

Keane did combine his Irish job with the assistant manager position at Aston Villa, heading into the 2014-15 Premier League season, working alongside Paul Lambert. However, that was ultimately short-lived when Keane quit in November 2014, citing a preference to focus on his role with Ireland. The only other club role Keane has held since then was in January 2019, joining Nottingham Forest as assistant, before leaving that post in June 2019.

Over the last decade or so, Keane has continually been approached with some interesting managerial positions, which have consistently been rejected. Irrespective of suggesting he wants to return to club management in various interviews, it seems the right job has yet to materialise, with the prospect of a second crack at Sunderland being the latest he has turned down. In the meantime, Keane is apparently waiting for the “right club” to come along. It might be tomorrow, it might be never, and only the man himself knows what he seeks.

Written by YBIG 12

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