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Roy Keane's bad reputation is undeserved

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At this moment in time, that wily oldish gentleman Roy Keane will no doubt be thinking of Republic of Ireland's tough draw for Euro 2016 and, quite possibly, Christmas presents - I'm sure there's a little bit of festive spirit in his heart.

What will not be occupying the Irish assistant manager, however, is the thought of taking over one of the many vacant managerial positions that are available and will be available over the coming months. Nevertheless, he should be on the minds of many chairmen and women out there who are looking to fill a senior role at their club.

Undeserved negativity

There will, of course, be those who would be against the Irishman taking over as manager of their club because of a perception that doesn't really exist if one knows their football. Those who think that Keane is simply another in a long line of great players who have 'failed' at the management game.

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Unfortunately, when someone is so outspoken in public like Keane is, there are always people ready to bring that person down, in order to contradict them for their own superiority complex. There is also the issue of his former status as a player, which for Keane was that of a professional who played and excelled at the very top. Unless someone of his calibre as a player wins the Champions League as a boss, they are seen to be a bit hopeless when it comes to dug-out duties.

But if we were to take Keane's record in management and apply it to someone who spent most their playing career in the lower leagues or non-league, then perhaps they would be seen as a success.

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People, mainly lazy journalists and fickle fans whose reading of the game has been hampered by those writers and pundits with an axe to grind, seem to forget that Keane dragged Sunderland from the bottom of the Championship - where they resided in bottom place after four matches played and four defeats - to the top of the pile come April where they stayed to become champions.

In their first season back in the top-flight they finished in a respectable 15th place; a position that any newly promoted team would take at the start of the campaign, although perhaps not Keane himself given the demands he puts on himself and his players. It was possibly because of his high standards that just over three months into the following season, and with the club in 18th place, Keane quit. Then chairman Niall Quinn was desperate for him to stay, but Keane cited strains with Quinn and particularly Ellis Short as the reasons behind his departure.

Managers do not always succeed

The next job at Ipswich Town was undoubtedly a low point, but even the great managers have dodgy spells. Two of arguably the greatest managers of British football, who Keane played under, had their bad times. Brian Clough, who managed Keane at Nottingham Forest, had them most notably at Brighton & Hove Albion and Leeds United, but also occasionally struggled to keep Forest in contention for honours as the 1980s and then 1990s went on.

Alex Ferguson had the same problems at Manchester United in his early years (isn't it amazing, ''years'' - now we would be saying ''months''), so Keane's in good company. Journalists, pundits, players and former players alike say the reason Keane has 'failed' in management is because, like many great former players, he cannot stand that the players he manages are not as good as he was and that he is too much of a disciplinarian for today's 'pampered' stars.

He hasn't 'failed', so that's that out. And in regards to the latter point, some players are affected in a negative way with discipline, but there are others who thrive on it and appear to need it to keep them in line. This is true for all walks of life.

It's a management style that may work with the players at Fulham, but not with Reading's, it depends on the characters within the teams. The board will have to be certain that he is the right man who will motivate and galvanise their side. If the squad are shrinking violets (metaphorically of course) then maybe Keane's not the man for them, but as we have seen at Sunderland, he can certainly be the man for many a team out there.

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Topics:
Reading
Fulham
Football
Roy Keane
Sunderland
Alex Ferguson

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