Keane speaks out on Sunderland departure

 

Roy Keane has said difficulties with an American investor who bought a substantial shareholding in Sunderland last autumn was responsible for his decision to resign as manager of the club in December.

In his first interview since his departure, Keane also told The Irish Timesthat problems with a number of the players he brought to the club and a sense that he had lost some of the support of club chairman Niall Quinn hastened his departure.

He also said that he would be willing to return to the game and is prepared to manage a club in the second tier of English football.

Ellis Short, an Irish-American bought a 30 per cent stake in the club in September. "We had sat down with him a couple of times, Niall and I," Keane told Tom Humphries.

"I went down to London to meet him twice. I thought, hmm, the dynamics are changing here. He said he had read my book. I felt he was thinking from the start that I wasn't for him. He sort of knew this wasn't going to be a long-term relationship.”

Throughout his tenure at Sunderland, Keane continued to live Manchester and commuted to the Stadium of Light. He says that from early on there was pressure to change the working arrangements. Short wanted Keane at Sunderland day in and day out. But as long as Sunderland were winning matches the case for relocation was weak.

"It started with a demand to know where I had been the previous day, that he wanted me available at all times. It was a disappointment. Then there were accusations about how often I came in, about moving my family up. And it was the tone."

He also said that his relationship with Niall Quinn had become strained.

“He was talking to me about the players needing to come into work with a smile on their face. That really concerned me. The day I walked into Sunderland, putting a smile on the faces of well-paid players was the last thing anybody wanted me to do. Players had been taking the piss out of the club for years. If they wanted them smiling all the time they should have employed Roy Chubby Brown.

"My question to Niall was, who are you listening to here? It wasn't Niall. It was the undercurrent. Where it was coming from. Smiles on players' faces? It's my job to get them training well. There was good spirit. That's what had kept us in the Premiership last year. Our spirit. That got the alarm bells ringing. Without a shadow of a doubt. The American fella would have been on Niall's case."

Keane says that with his next job he will more than likely be moving house. “I’m happy to move house. Theresa is happy to move. I’m not tied to Manchester. I’m from Cork. I’d be happy to go anywhere. I would be happy to manage a Championship club."