Let Roy be unconfined!
It’s been an extraordinary few days in the short managerial life of Martin O’Neill and his glamorous assistant, Roy Keane
Let Roy be unconfined!
Despite speculation to the contrary, the only gags in episode one of the MonKeano double act have been of the humorous variety.
It isn’t every day a soccer manager goes on the record to insist he won’t try to “gag” his second in command before he appears at a press conference. But then, Roy Keane is no ordinary number two.
There were two principals at the top table in Malahide’s Grand Hotel: Roy and Roy’s Reputation.
And it seemed the Reputation was the main attraction.
There was a sense of giddy excitement in the conference room before the former Ireland captain arrived.
Would the irresistible Roy (he’s box-office gold – the undisputed star of the nation’s original and longest running ‘Love-Hate’ drama) behave for the media or would he spontaneously combust before the cameras?
It’s been an extraordinary few days in the short managerial life of Martin O’Neill and his glamorous assistant.
On Saturday, we gazed upon The Presentation of the Manager. And yesterday afternoon came The Adoration of The Roy.
The build-up to Keane’s official “unveiling” was most unusual. His decision to join the Ireland camp after a tumultuous past with the national team almost eclipsed the appointment of his boss, who then had to declare he would not be muzzling his notoriously volatile assistant.
The way people had been talking, there seemed every chance Martin would park Roy in the Aviva stadium dug-out tomorrow night strapped to a parcel trolley with an ice-hockey mask on his face.
It’s all been wildly over the top but fantastically
The room hushed and a delicious frisson set pulses racing. “He’s here! He’s here!”
It was just as well all the lads were sitting down, because they were weak at the knees.
Enter Roy through a thicket of cameras.
We were a bit disappointed he wasn’t accompanied by Martin O’Neill wielding a whip and a chair.
The number three was embroidered on his team jacket, which confused some of us. But no, he hadn’t already been demoted; it was just the sponsor’s logo.
The questions began. Roy dealt with them calmly and thoughtfully, and as the press conference progressed, so too did his bemusement at the obsession with his temperament and convenient casting as a sort of lovable pantomime villain. It was a pussycat who padded out to meet the press.
Repeated references to the boss deciding he wouldn’t “rein” him in and inferences about his ability to manage his mutinous tendencies while in a subordinate role finally evoked a mildly exasperated response.
“There’s nothing to tame. I’m not some sort of animal, you know what I mean?”
We wanted to cheer.
“I’m a footballing man, I like to work hard and push people, and sometimes I suppose I have got that slightly wrong on one or two occasions over the years” he added.