Roy Keane needs to publicly accept a few truths

His radio chat with Today FM’s Ray D’Arcy suggests he’s not equipped to handle new shift in player power

Former Manchester United legend Roy Keane at the recent game between Everton and  United at Goodison Park.

Former Manchester United legend Roy Keane at the recent game between Everton and United at Goodison Park.

Tue, Apr 29, 2014, 11:19

A little over a decade ago when Jaap Stam was shunted out the Old Trafford door to Lazio after revealing in his book that Alex Ferguson had tapped him up during his PSV days, Roy Keane observed: “His transfer . . . illustrates how little power footballers have in the game.”

Having suggested last week that the current Manchester United crop ought to be ashamed by their roles in the failure of David Moyes at the club, it seems reasonable to assume that Keane’s position on players and the power they wield has shifted a little.

The issue is a live one for a man who acknowledged in an interview with Ray D’Arcy on Today FM yesterday morning that he is anxious himself to get back into club management. He dismissed the idea that he would “even in a dreamworld” fancy the United job but it’s hard to imagine that deep down he doesn’t hanker to manage at that level some day.

Just a few short years after the end of his outstanding playing career, though, Moyes’ fate highlighted how Keane’s stints at Sunderland and Ipswich have made him vulnerable to the vagaries of a star-studded dressing room although for the moment his more pressing challenge is to persuade somebody to give him a shot at one of the big clubs.

Through much of yesterday’s chat, which was essentially a promotional event for this week’s Irish guide Dogs’ national Shades fundraising campaign, it wasn’t hard to imagine how one of them might be brought around to the idea.

Be humble
Keane can certainly be humble, humorous and insightful when he wants to be but his capacity for self awareness still seems to be on a trip switch that sometimes clicks to the off position mid-conversation without the Corkman appearing to realise.

It was evident when he recalled his time at Sunderland: “I really enjoyed it. I had good people behind me, Niall (Quinn) was a good chairman. I had a good chief executive and people backed me. I recruited really well in terms of characters to the club and we had an element of success.”

Obviously that success – getting promoted to the Premier League in rather spectacular fashion in 2007 – brought a far greater challenge in terms of top-flight survival but the club apparently reckoned it was still being supportive a year and a half later when what seems to have been a misunderstanding between the manager and Ellis Short led to the Irishman turning his car around on a motorway and instructing his representatives to negotiate his departure.

Still, what for some looks like a fit of pique seems to fit in rather well with the “man of passion and purpose” image that many people find irresistible in Keane. His departures from Saipan and United are the key examples of what supporters see as typifying his great courage and the price he has paid for it.

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