With the dust finally settled on Roy Keane’s new book Roy Keane: The Second Half and the famous beard shaved away – it's a little easier to reflect on some of the revelations revealed.
When the book was announced I felt an excitement similar to when I’d see him in the tunnel during his playing career – I was expecting fireworks. Of course, my immediate interest was the expected ‘response’ to Sir Alex Ferguson’s book last year. Keane’s former boss was highly critical of the Irishman’s short temper and claimed he needed to spend a lot of money to become a successful manager.
Keane measured in his new book
Although Keane certainly didn't hold back in criticising Ferguson, his reaction is measured and not as exaggerated as we would have expected. In almost every one of his confrontations with Ferguson, Keane is quick to state he was the captain of the team. For him, and many of the readers, this defuses many of the arguments that the Corkman was out of line. The captain is the most important player at the football club – Keane knew this and became obsessed with achieving the highest standards for his team.
Much of what Keane says in the book comes in a defensive tone. The 43-year-old was clearly frustrated with various sources of criticism he has had since leaving Ipswich in 2011. It’s hard to disagree that the Manchester United legend did a wonderful job at Sunderland. When he took over the Black Cats in 2006 they were sitting second last in the Championship and struggling to score goals.
Humourous side to the book
At the end of that season they were crowned champions. It’s Keane’s consistency and longevity that lets him down. In an interview with the BBC last weekend Keane claimed that he never felt comfortable as a manager, he always felt “This could be my last week in the job”. At Sunderland and Ipswich this was his line of thinking – which he felt helped him. That may be so, but for Keane to become a great manager he will need to prove he can stay at a club for at least three years.
The Second Half wouldn't be a Roy Keane book without an element of humour. There is one story which explains the reason Keane chose not to sign Robbie Savage. Roy was looking to sign a central midfielder and felt Savage could do a job as well as adding another experienced head to his dressing room.
Keane decided to call Robbie personally after getting his number off a mutual friend. Savage never picked up so Keane decided to leave a voicemail…until he heard “Hi it’s Robbie Wasssssup!” (Spoken in the tone of that famous Budweiser ad). Keane therefore decided not to leave a message and never rang back.
The fact that the book has been serialised in nearly every paper might put a lot of people off buying a copy – we’re well aware now of Keane’s views on Ferguson, Sunderland, Ipswich and even Mourinho. However, they are many classic stories from his past and some interesting insights into the mind of one of football’s most controversial personalities.