We live in an age of social networks and TV debates where everyone has an opinion, including perhaps more than a few people who shouldn’t. Then there’s Roy Keane, someone who tells it like it is, someone we can listen to all day, filling TV punditry appearances with pearls of wisdom and good humour, plus his renowned level of directness and honesty.
Keane pulls no punches when debating any football topics with colleagues, whether it’s in the studio or from a commentary position overlooking the pitch. As a pundit, Roy is just like he was as a player, never shirking out of any difficult challenge. Deep down in any debate, he thinks that he’s right and he always remembers the details. Rarely has any other pundit managed to get one over the man from Cork, who always tends to have the final say.
During one heated debate with Jamie Carragher early in 2020, just after Manchester United had lost 2-0 at Anfield, the former Liverpool man questioned the managerial credentials of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, compared to managers at other leading clubs. Keane was having none of that, predicting that if Solskjaer was given enough time to do the job, the Norwegian could guide the Red Devils back to the top of the Premier League.
“I’d give Ole certainly another year, one-hundred percent, another year,” concluded Keane at the end of his discussion with Carragher back then. Precisely one year later and with Manchester United now genuine contenders for the title. Not only can you bet on football at Space Casino and back their bid for the Premier League, looking at the latest odds would suggest that Keane’s prediction was quite prophetic.
Predictions aside, the truth of the matter is that Keane’s opinions are always grounded in reality. He always looks at the bigger picture, refusing to put lipstick on a pig and bestow pointless eulogies, whether the topic of conversation is players or managers. Roy has been there and done both, and, while he enjoyed far more success as a footballer than as a coach, he still knows what the job requires. Not enough of his punditry colleagues fully appreciate that.
No doubt many United fans would have loved Keane in the job one day, given the robustness of his team captaincy, his experience of knowing what it takes to be a winner, driving those around him to share the same determination. While that will never happen, given that Roy is just too blunt for some people, such as the ownership at Old Trafford.
In the meantime, however, we can still enjoy Keano in all his glory, unshackled and unfettered by the absurdity of those around him, in his capacity as a football pundit. Some fans might disagree, but nobody can win an argument with such frankness and sincerity as our Roy, without the need for blathering platitudes. You know exactly what you’re getting with Roy Keane, and hopefully, he’ll be on our TV screens for years to come.
Words: Asamoah Embele