Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Roy Keane's appointment at Sunderland...

Let's get one thing out of the way at the outset, very few people apart from those involved saw this move coming. When the news broke it was nearly as much as a shock as the announcment that Roy Keane was to be kicked out of Ireland's World
Cup squad in 2002, after famously falling out with the then Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, during Ireland's world cup preparations in Saipan.

The fall-out centred on Keane being unhappy with the Republic of Ireland training camp facilities and a whole lot more besides. One of the principle players in the Saipan saga was Niall Quinn, who was at the time a senior player, who played a leading role during this high-profile spat between the skipper and the manager, which of course ended in a sorry mess and brought Keane's international career to a premature end.

All the more surprising then that it was Niall Quinn the now Sunderland chairman who'd announced that the Black Cats would soon be appointing 'a world class manage who would make the Sunderland fans happy' that man eventually turned out to be Roy Keane - a player with no managerial experience at all.

We all know about Keane the midfield warrior, the man took no shit off anyone on the park, his standards are as high as anyone’s within the game, past or present. Keane doesn’t suffer fools, nor does he pull in any punches with things need to be said. In short Roy Keane is a born leader, someone who others follow. The sort of man you'd want fighting alongside you in trench warfare.

So how will Roy the manager shape up? The jury is keen to find out, but of course being an exceptional player isn't enough to ensure success when directing operations from the dug-out as another former United legend Bobby Charlton will testify. Ergo, good players don't always cut the mustard as managers.

Roy's chances would be enhanced greatly if he'd inherited a good squad of hungry players and a great set-up, going off the early season results, the performance indicator would suggest that is very much in the negative, as Sunderland found themselves rooted at the foot of the champhionship with no points.

Once the news of the appointment broke, the speculation suggested that Keane would be assisted by former United coach and all round good-egg, Brian Kidd, but again many were left surprised as Keane announced that his old friend Tony Loughlan would be his assistant manager/coach. This particular observer isn't sure about Keane's wisdom here, but who is going to argue with Roy Keane, a true United legend who will never ever be forgotten by the Red Army.


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