Keano: Now the Championship's problem
Speaking as a Corkman, I would be eager to talk Roy’s good side up: He always had focus and determination as a player; stands up for what he believes in; and had a tremendous first two seasons as Sunderland manager. However, the man’s a “complex” character, which as we all know is a euphemism for “borderline fruitcake”. This makes me wonder how long it will take before he throws a big wobbly and leaves Ipswich in trouble.
The roots of the hubris that has dogged Keano as a public figure are found in his rise as a top-class player. Establishing himself in the Man Utd and Ireland teams at about the same time, he decided to cut out the boozing and goofing around that were holding him back. Ever since, the man has been like a pressure cooker: calm on the outside for a couple of years at a time, then comes an explosion of career-altering, headline-grabbing anger, before he simmers down for another couple of years.
In the past his meltdowns have been fuelled by 1) Authority figures he perceives to be incompetent; and 2) A lack of commitment to the cause in his colleagues. So will this happen at Ipswich? His relationship with the chairman will be key. If new Ipswich chairman Marcus Evans gives his manager everything he asks for, he can expect a cordial relationship with Keane, but if they come into conflict, he will find himself joining the ranks of Alfie Haaland and Mick McCarthy on the injury bench.
On the plus side, he will scare the living s***e out of Ipswich’s more lackadaisical players, and possibly attract a few big stars to the team. There will be kickings out aplenty and a few signings of players eager to work with such a high-profile manager. If he could bring Cissé to the Stadium of Light, then his lure should be strong enough to coax Daryl Murphy to Suffolk.
His success with Sunderland suggests that Keano has what it takes to galvanise a squad of players and push them above their Championship rivals, but whether he will hang around to push for promotion at the second or third attempt is doubtful.