Keane breaks cover to appear at IMI conference

Controversial Corkman discusses management alongside Martin O’Neill

Roy Keane broke cover in what has been one of his first appearances since the publication of his controversial autobiography today when he appeared alongside Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill at the Irish Management Institute's (IMI) National Management Conference.

Mr Keane was guest of honour at the event where he and Mr O’Neill took part in a Q&A discussing football management.

He told the audience a “fear of losing” had driven him during his career. “You threaten some people, you praise others, ‘’ he said.

“But you can’t be relying on other people. It’s got to come from within.”


Mr Keane blamed poor recruitment for his failure at Ipswich, where he lost his management job in 2011, saying it was the single most important element within the game.

“I bought players. After 10 minutes of training, I wondered why I bought them,” he said.

“There was one guy at Sunderland. I didn’t like the way he walked out on the training pitch.”

The heavily-bearded Mr Keane also warned executives of the dangers of relying excessively on statistics. “Midfielders might say to me, I’m covering 12 kilometers a game,” he said. “I say, that’s because you keep giving the ball away.”

The former Manchester United midfielder, who is currently assistant manager for the Republic of Ireland and Aston Villa, was joined at the conference by a number of speakers including Financial Times columnist and bestselling author Tim Harford, the 'Jane Bond of Innovation' Nilofer Merchant, and neuroscientist Shane O'Mara of Trinity College Dublin.

Mr Keane found himself back on the front page earlier this week after publication of his second autobiography, which saw the Corkman settling a number of old scores.

As well as revealing all about a late-night fist-fight with Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel during a pre-season tour of Asia in 1998, the book whose book, The Second Half, which was co-authored by Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle, also covers Mr Keane's exit from the club.

However, outside of a few quips, Mr Keane refrained from discussing the book.

Other speakers at the conference included Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton who told delegates that despite the progress made in recent years, there was still a long way to go before the economic was back on track.

Additional reporting - Bloomberg

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist